Carnival Magic is on the move, having departed Ocho Rios, Jamaica after a longer-than-expected visit with greater-than-expected drama due to foul weather. Fortunately, the ship is sound and already back to delivering a magical experience to those onboard the special ShipRocked sailing.
Carnival Magic Departs Ocho Rios
After her planned stay in Ocho Rios was extended following inadvertent contact with the pier that caused cosmetic damage to the vessel during rough weather, Carnival Magic has been thoroughly inspected and permitted to continue safely on her 6-night sailing.
“I’m told Carnival Magic has been cleared to sail and will be departing for Bimini shortly,” reported Carnival Cruise Line Brand Ambassador John Heald shortly before 4 p.m. on Carnival Magic‘s ship time.
Despite the delays due to the incident in Jamaica, the ship will be in Bimini in the Bahamas on schedule for her planned itinerary. While originally, Bimini was to have been the ship’s first port of call after departing Miami on Sunday, February 4, forecasted poor weather in the region prompted a proactive itinerary change before the ship set sail.
At that time, the schedule was shifted to take the ship to Jamaica first, followed by Grand Cayman and Bimini. The poor weather and pier impact in Jamaica forced the cancellation of Grand Cayman, but Thursday, February 8, was always intended as a day at sea. This will give Carnival Magic plenty of time to reach Bimini as planned for an 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. visit on Friday, February 9.
What About the Next Cruise?
While Carnival Magic will return to Miami for debarkation on Saturday, February 10, guests booked on the next sailing have expressed concern about whether the ship will be able to offer that sailing or if an unscheduled dry dock will be necessary for repairs.
To be clear, if the ship was in any way impaired, she would not have left Jamaica with guests aboard. Instead, Carnival Cruise Line would have made alternative arrangements to bring guests back to Florida, whether by chartering aircraft or using a substitute vessel, as was done when Carnival Freedom was damaged by a fire in May 2022.
Because the ship has set sail, it is clear that any damage to the hull is cosmetic only – minor dents, scrapes, and scratches. This in no way impacts the ship’s safety features, technical operation, or hotel and guest functions, such as dining or entertainment.
“She’ll be back to Port Miami for her next sailing as planned on February 10,” confirmed Heald.
That next cruise – the February 10 departure – is an 8-night Southern Caribbean itinerary, with planned visits to Amber Cove and La Romana in the Dominican Republic, as well as Aruba and Curacao.
Repainting and other minor hull repairs may be completed while the ship is in port, and it is possible guests won’t see any evidence of the pier collision sooner than they may expect.
Poor Weather Impacting Multiple Ships
The rough weather that has moved across the Caribbean and the Bahamas over the past few days has impacted many ships with strong winds and fierce swells. Depending on the direction of winds compared to dock orientation, some ships were unable to leave ports as planned, or port of call visits were cancelled to prevent possible problems. On private islands, some guests were recalled to ships early.
While the Caribbean is often seen as a tropical paradise for cruise vacations, travelers should remember that it can be a very dynamic region subject to devastating storms, sudden squalls, and other weather conditions that can impact cruise operations, not to mention hurricane season from June 1 through November 30.
Cruise lines all keep a close watch on weather systems and how they may impact various destinations, ship routes, and overall itineraries.
All travelers should remain flexible with their cruise vacation plans at any time of year, knowing that cruise lines will always keep guests’ safety as the top priority with any itinerary adjustments.