Guests aboard Carnival Magic will not be sailing the 6-night cruise to Bermuda they anticipated this week, but instead, the ship will be visiting three destinations in the Bahamas.
This is due to the track and intensity of Hurricane Franklin, which is now in the Atlantic Ocean east of the Bahamas, moving north and expected to turn toward Bermuda within the next 2-3 days.
Carnival Magic Not Visiting Bermuda
Carnival Magic, which is currently homeported from Norfolk, Virginia, will not be visiting Bermuda as planned this week. Instead, the ship will be sailing a 6-night Bahamas cruise, departing Virginia on Sunday, August 27, 2023.
This complete itinerary change is due to the continued presence of what is now Hurricane Franklin, currently positioned roughly 620 miles (998 kilometers) east of Nassau and moving north-northwest at 8 miles per hour (13 kilometers per hour).
“Our Fleet Operations Center is actively monitoring Hurricane Franklin, now located in the Atlantic,” the email notification to guests reads. “Due to the projected path of the storm, we must modify the itinerary for your cruise. Regrettably, we will not be able to visit Bermuda.”
After a day at sea, the ship will visit Carnival Cruise Line’s private island in the Bahamas, Half Moon Cay, on Tuesday, followed by Nassau on Wednesday and Freeport on Thursday, before another day at sea brings the vessel back to Norfolk on Saturday, September 2.
Carnival Magic had been scheduled to call on Bermuda for an extended two-day visit, from 9 a.m. on Tuesday, August 29 through 4 p.m. on Thursday, August 31.
Tuesday afternoon, however, is when Hurricane Franklin – likely then to be a major Category 3 or even possibly a Category 4 storm – will be drawing closest to Bermuda before hooking to the east and around the island.
Because of the track, it is possible Bermuda may feel extended effects from the storm from midday Tuesday to early Thursday, exactly when Carnival Magic was scheduled to be in port.
“We were looking forward to delivering the itinerary you had expected and share your disappointment for this weather-related change,” the email reads. “We trust you understand this decision was made with everyone’s safety in mind.”
The 128,000-gross ton Dream-class Carnival Magic is offering Bermuda, Eastern Caribbean, and Bahamas itineraries from Norfolk. In late October, the ship will reposition to Miami to offer a mix of Eastern, Western, and Southern Caribbean cruises.
Due to the dramatic change of itinerary, Carnival Cruise Line is providing a $200 (USD) onboard credit per stateroom. All pre-purchased shore excursions for Bermuda area are also being refunded automatically to guests’ Sail & Sign accounts.
New excursion options for the Bahamas ports of call will be available for purchase onboard through the Carnival Hub app or by visiting the Shore Excursions desk on Deck 3, on the port side of the Magic Lobby just outside the Showtime Theater.
Tracking Hurricane Franklin
Hurricane Franklin has already affected multiple ports of call and cruise itineraries, starting with the closing of both Amber Cove and Taino Bay in the Dominican Republic last week as the then tropical storm moved across Hispaniola – which also impacted the previous Carnival Magic cruise by diverting the ship from its Eastern Caribbean itinerary to three calls in the Bahamas.
Now, Hurricane Franklin has maximum sustained winds of 85 mph (137 kph), making it a firm Category 1 storm. It is expected to continue strengthening as it moves north across the warm waters of the Atlantic toward Bermuda.
The storm is forecast to become a major Category 3 or Category 4 storm as early as Monday morning, and should begin a gradual eastward curve on Tuesday.
If the storm begins turning earlier or turns more sharply than anticipated, Bermuda could be in for a much stronger impact, or the storm may turn more gradually and could move closer to Newfoundland.
All guests traveling during hurricane season, June 1 through November 30, should stay informed of storm systems and stay in close contact with their cruise line about possible itinerary changes, delays, or other alterations as their sailing date approaches.
Staying flexible with travel expectations is also critical, and remembering that whenever a cruise line must make these types of drastic changes, it is always to prioritize the safety of the ship, guests, and crew members.