The Dream-class Carnival Magic was forced to temporarily depart the port in Ocho Rios, Jamaica, during its visit on February 6, 2024. Bad weather conditions, including string swells and winds, caused the vessel to hit the pier. This resulted in the passengers already ashore being left until Carnival Magic could safely return.
Carnival stated to Cruise Hive, “Carnival Magic was involved in an incident while in Ocho Rios, Jamaica on Tuesday morning, Feb. 6 when strong winds and swells caused the pier fender to collapse under pressure, and the ship made contact with the pier. The ship was alongside at 8:10 a.m. and the incident occurred at 11:00 a.m. There were no injuries, and all the ship’s services remained operational.“
Those passengers who were still ashore were taken care of by the cruise line’s Care team and local tour partners. Also docked in Ocho Rios was Costa Pacifica from sister line Costa Cruises. That vessel was docked at the nearby Reynolds Pier, and Carnival Magic was able to dock there instead once the Costa vessel departed the port.
“The ship left the area for the safety of everyone on board and later docked at another nearby pier so that guests who went ashore Tuesday morning could rejoin the ship. The guests who were ashore at the time were taken care of by the Carnival team and shore excursion partners. Given the weather conditions in the region, Carnival Magic will remain in Ocho Rios on Tuesday night. Its visit to Grand Cayman is cancelled for Wednesday,” Carnival added.
The Miami-based cruise line is keeping all guests updated on the situation, and more details are set to be released in the coming hours. The damage to the Carnival cruise ship is unknown at the time and would likely take time to be assessed. Carnival Magic’s scheduled visit to Grand Cayman has been cancelled, and the vessel is remaining overnight docked in Ocho Rios.
During a visit to Ocho Rios, Jamaica, on Tuesday, February 6, 2024, Carnival Magic impacted and significantly damaged the pier. There is no word yet on how severe the damage is, though videos circulating online show the entire structure shifting and extensive broken concrete. The ship may likewise be damaged, but any damage on the vessel is not yet confirmed.
Carnival Magic Hits Pier in Ocho Rios
Carnival Magic was not originally intended to visit Ocho Rios today, but the ship was in fact in port. This is due to weather-related itinerary changes that brought the ship to the port a day earlier than initially planned due to a severe weather system moving across the region.
Unfortunately, the weather still proved to be an obstacle for the ship, as strong winds drove the vessel into the dock, causing extensive damage to the concrete structure.
A short video clip of the incident shows the end of the dock – where refueling equipment is kept on hand – cracking and crumbling under the pressure from the ship’s impact. The rest of the dock structure likewise shifts somewhat as the ship pushes against it.
There is no word as to whether or not the ship was damaged in the impact, though at least cosmetic damage – scratches or minor dents on the hull – are unavoidable. No injuries have been reported.
The ship’s master, Captain La Farina, did reach out to guests to alert them to the situation, as crew members were called to muster stations to respond to the emergency.
“Earlier, due to strong winds, the ship made contact with the pier, impacting a small area of the vessel,” the notification read. “These wind conditions are making it unsafe for us to remain docked. So, for safety reasons, it was necessary for us to sail out to sea.”
Because a number of guests were onshore enjoying Ocho Rios at the time, it was necessary for those passengers to be left behind as the ship moved away from the damaged dock. They are not left behind at the port in the same manner as if they had missed the boarding time, however.
“We are now in contact with our local partners and our Fleet Operations Center and are working through plans to get our guests who are ashore back on board as soon as possible,” La Farina said.
Winds near Jamaica today are from the north and west, steady at speeds up to 17 knots (20 miles per hour / 31 kilometers per hour). From that direction, the winds would have been pushing broadside on the ship alongside the dock, exerting considerable force to move the vessel into the dock structure.
At this time, there is no confirmation of whether the cruise ship may be able to move back into position to reboard guests, or if smaller boats may be used to bring passengers out to the ship. Another option may be for Carnival Magic to move to Montego Bay – 62 miles (100 kilometers) west – to reboard guests, who would be shuttled from Ocho Rios to Montego Bay, a 2-hour drive.
On her revised itinerary, Carnival Magic was scheduled to be docked in Ocho Rios from 8 a.m. until 4 p.m. on Tuesday, February 6. Wednesday will now be a day in Grand Cayman, Thursday a day at sea, and Friday a visit to Bimini – if there are no further weather-related itinerary adjustments or if no changes are needed due to this incident.
Carnival Magic is due back in Miami on Saturday morning to begin debarkation at 8 a.m.
What Will Happen Next?
A full investigation into the collision will be initiated, and both the ship and pier will be thoroughly inspected for structural soundness and operational capability. Undoubtedly, part of the pier will need to be closed while repairs are made, though there is no confirmation yet whether or not that may impact visits from additional ships in the coming days.
In addition to Carnival Cruise Line, ships from Holland America Line, MSC Cruises, Norwegian Line, TUI Cruises, and Costa Cruises are all scheduled to visit Ocho Rios throughout February.
As this is the busy season for cruise visits to Jamaica, it may be challenging to accommodate multiple ships if the pier damage is too extensive or cannot be repaired to safely dock vessels.
It is important to note that Carnival Magic remains safe with all hotel operations functional at this time, and guests on board are in no danger. Some services have been temporarily suspended as crew members are called to emergency duties, but will be resumed as soon as possible.
The 130,000-gross-ton, Dream-class Carnival Magic is currently homeported from Miami through April 2026, offering 6- and 8-night Eastern and Western Caribbean cruises, with occasional Southern Caribbean itineraries. She can welcome 3,690 guests aboard at double occupancy, or as many as 4,724 passengers when fully booked. Also onboard are over 1,300 international crew members.
This particular sailing – the February 4 departure for a 6-night sailing, is the themed “ShipRocked” cruise with “The Dark Lord Count Von Skully” hosting an amazing lineup of rock artists, theme nights, and more for the undead-themed sailing.