Cruise Ships Delayed Arriving Back at Florida Port

Cruise ships delayed arriving back at Port Tampa bay in Florida due to heavy fog, including Royal Caribbean's Brilliance of the Seas.

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The Brilliance of the Seas, a cruise ship operated by Royal Caribbean International, experienced a delay in its arrival to Port Tampa Bay today, January 2, 2023. In a statement to guests, the company explained that the delay was due to dense fog in the area.

Despite the inconvenience, Royal Caribbean assured guests that they were working to debark passengers as soon as possible and extended the use of their staterooms until the ship’s arrival.

In the meantime, breakfast has been expanded to include brunch in the Windjammer and Dining Room. Two other cruise ships are also delayed, including the Norwegian Dawn and Celebrity Constellation.

Brilliance of the Seas Delayed

Brilliance of the Seas, which is due to conclude a 4-day Western Caribbean cruise to Cozumel today, is just one of three cruise ships that will be arriving late to Port Tampa Bay. Royal Caribbean informed guests earlier today that the vessel will need to navigate through some dense fog, severely restricting the speed at which the cruise ship can operate.

A passenger who is currently onboard the Royal Caribbean cruise ship said, “We are currently in an anchorage area north of the channel into Tampa Bay. Once we have clearance from the USGS, it will take 3.5 hours to reach the dock, then we need to clear customs. All guests have been given 60 minutes of free internet access to contact airlines/family/etc. Crew is great, they are putting on extra activities.”

Brilliance of the Seas Fog
Brilliance of the Seas Fog (Photo Copyright: Melissa Mayntz)

The heavy fog has been causing problems around Northern Florida, mainly on the Eastern side of the state, but also around the Gulf of Mexico. Visibility in many areas has been severely restricted, with the National Weather Service issuing a hazardous weather alert for Monday morning.

The letter guests received states the following: “We have some important news to share with you. Due to some dense fog, our arrival in Tampa has been delayed. We’re hopeful we can begin debarkation as soon as possible today. We’ll update you shortly, as the weather is constantly changing.”

Guests do not need to worry about leaving their cabins long before arriving in port; the vessel has extended access to staterooms until just before arrival and will be serving breakfast/brunch in the Windjammer Cafe and the Dining Room:

“In the meantime, breakfast leading into brunch will be served in the Windjammer and Dining Room until shortly before arrival. We’ve also extended your stateroom until shortly before arrival,” the letter stated.

Brilliance of the Seas will operate from Tampa for a few more months, sailing a series of four and five-night cruises to the Western Caribbean. 

Brilliance of the Seas was built in 2002 and is part of the Radiance class of ships, which also includes the Serenade of the Seas and the Radiance of the Seas. The Brilliance of the Seas is 90,090 gross tons and can carry up to 2,501 passengers. 

More Cruise Ships Impacted

It’s worth noting that fog can be a serious safety concern for ships, as it can reduce visibility and make navigation more difficult. It’s not uncommon for ships to experience delays or diversions due to fog.

Carnival Dream Dense Fog

According to the Cruise Ship Tracker, there are two other cruise ships also at anchorage, waiting for the weather conditions to improve. Norwegian Dawn is ending an 11-night Caribbean Christmas and New Year’s itinerary, and the Celebrity Constellation is ending a 10-night holiday sailing in the Caribbean.

Whether or not the delayed arrival into Port Tampa Bay will affect the following cruise for Brilliance of the Seas is not known at this time. As long as the vessel arrives in port in the morning hours, embarkation for the five-night Western Caribbean cruise should be on time. The ship will be sailing to Grand Cayman and Cozumel. 

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