Hurricane Maria is causing major disruption across the Eastern Caribbean and cruise ports in San Juan and the U.S. Virgin Islands are now closed.
Due to Hurricane Maria, the U.S. Coast Guard has now set port condition ZULU for Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. This means the ports are now closed for regular shipping including cruise ships. The ports are expecting the possibility of sustained gale force winds greater than 39 mph within the next 24 hours.
Even though the cruise port in St. Thomas has already been out of action for regular cruise ship calls it is closed anyway in preparation for Hurricane Maria. San Juan is set to be pounded by Maria and experience the full strength of the very powerful Hurricane.
Impact on Cruise Lines
Cruise lines have already started changing itineraries but not on the scale of Hurricane Irma which hit many Caribbean islands and Florida over a week ago. Carnival Cruise Line and Royal Caribbean have been forced to change ship sailings and as Maria heads northwest across the Caribbean, more ships could be affected.
Hurricane Maria Now Category 5
It is important to note that Hurricane Maria is now a category 5 and very powerful. The National Hurricane Center posted that Maria currently has maximum sustained winds of 160 MPH and will begin impacting Puerto Rico overnight.
Hurricane Maria has already caused major devastation on the Caribbean island of Dominica. The major cruise destinations of St. Thomas, San Juan and Grand Turk are in Maria’s path.