Poor weather impacting Princess Cays on Tuesday, February 6, 2024, caused Carnival Sunshine to cancel her planned visit to the private island.
Unfortunately, this means passengers have missed their final port of call on the 5-night cruise, as no viable alternative destination is available.
Carnival Sunshine Itinerary Change
Carnival Sunshine is currently sailing a 5-night Bahamas itinerary roundtrip from Charleston, South Carolina. Due to a severe weather front that is moving east across the region, however, the ship was unable to call on Princess Cays as originally planned on Tuesday, February 6. Guests were notified of the change by letters delivered to their staterooms onboard on Monday evening.
“Our Fleet Operations Center has been actively monitoring the weather system that is moving in an easterly direction across the region. Unfavorable conditions that would make water shuttle operations unsafe are expected for Princess Cays tomorrow,” the letter explained.
“Regrettably, we have made the difficult decision to cancel our planned visit. Since there are no viable alternatives to add a port visit, we will spend Tuesday at sea.”
While there was no indication of rain or other unpleasant weather at Princess Cays on Tuesday, strong winds were undoubtedly generating swells that would have made water shuttle operations dangerous for moving guests between the cruise ship and the dock on the west coast of the island.
Carnival Sunshine was to have been visiting Princess Cays from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. During that time, steady wind speeds from the northwest and west-northwest reached as high as 25 miles per hour (40 kilometers per hour), with gusts recorded as high as 36 mph (58 kph).
In those conditions, severe swells could make it very challenging for guests to move on and off the water shuttles as they are held against the cruise ship. Even though the dock area is sheltered, entering the docking basin with the water shuttle could also be challenging, particularly if a gust rocked the boat.
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Furthermore, a severely rocking shuttle could be very uncomfortable for guests who may be susceptible to motion sickness.
Cruise lines never want to change itineraries or cancel ports of call, especially at the last minute, but such decisions are always made with guests’ safety and comfort in mind.
All shore tours purchased through Carnival Cruise Line for Princess Cays will be automatically refunded to guests’ onboard accounts, along with taxes, fees, and associated port expenses.
What Goes On When a Port Is Cancelled?
With last-minute arrangements, the Fun Squad onboard Carnival Sunshine would have put together extra activities, including trivia contests, games, dance lessons, and other options for guests to enjoy since they cannot enjoy Princess Cays. Likewise, the entertainment staff may have planned an impromptu performance, or an onboard comedian might do an extra show.
The exact options available during an unexpected day at sea vary based on ship’s resources and crew members, and might even include options such as a language lesson from crew members, board games for use, or crazy deck games. Of course, the ship’s facilities – including the spa, pools, and casino – would also be available.
Carnival Sunshine – formerly Carnival Destiny before her extensive 2013 renovation – is a 103,000-gross-ton ship capable of welcoming 3,002 guests at double occupancy, or up to 3,758 passengers when fully booked with all berths filled. Also on board are more than 1,000 international officers and crew members.
The ship is currently homeported from Charleston, South Carolina, offering a range of Bahamas itineraries from from 4-6 nights. The ship also occasionally offers 8-night Eastern Caribbean sailings.
In early 2025, Carnival Sunshine will be repositioned to homeport from Norfolk, Virginia, offering similar sailings from the new embarkation port.