Jamaica Ports Reopen After Hurricane Beryl, Cozumel Closed

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The Port Authority of Jamaica has confirmed that all three cruise ports on the tropical island nation – Montego Bay, Falmouth, and Ocho Rios – have successfully reopened following Hurricane Beryl brushing the southern coast of the island on Wednesday, July 3. All ports and channels were thoroughly inspected, and reopened for operations at 6 p.m. on Thursday, July 4.

“The opening of the harbors will allow ships to enter from this evening [July 4] and to proceed to berth at the designated terminals in preparation of commencement of port operations at 7 a.m. tomorrow,” the notification clarified.

This means that cruise ship visits to Jamaica scheduled for Friday, July 5 and beyond should go ahead as planned, with guests able to enjoy the vibrancy and colorful culture of the island.

At this time, however, no ship visits are scheduled for the immediate future for any Jamaican ports of call. The first vessel to return to Montego Bay will be Carnival Cruise Line’s Carnival Liberty on Wednesday, July 24.

MSC Cruises’ MSC Seascape will be the first ship to return to Falmouth with her planned visit on Monday, July 15. Carnival Cruise Line’s Carnival Horizon will be the first post-hurricane ship to visit Ocho Rios on Tuesday, July 16.

While Jamaica is a popular destination for many cruise travelers, the summer heat and the risks of hurricane season mean that the mid-summer months are not the busiest for the island. The winter months – November through March—are much more popular, with a greater number of ship calls from a variety of different cruise lines.

Other ports on the island – Kingston Harbour, Port Antonio, and Portland Bight – have also reopened, though they do not service cruise ships.

Hurricane Beryl and Jamaica

Hurricane Beryl impacted Jamaica as a major Category 4 storm through the day on Wednesday, July 3, 2024. At the time the storm brushed the island’s southern coast, maximum sustained winds were recorded at 140 miles per hour.

Widespread power outages, property destruction, and flooding were present in Jamaica during the storm, and at least two people lost their lives due to the hurricane’s impact, despite the storm not making official landfall on the island.

Hurricane Beryl Track
Hurricane Beryl Track (Credit: NOAA)

Hurricane Beryl has now made landfall on Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula near the southern end of the island of Cozumel, which remains closed to all port traffic.

Beryl has weakened to a Category 2 storm with maximum sustained winds of 100 miles per hour. While moving over land, the storm is expected to continue to weaken and will likely emerge over the Gulf of Mexico after being downgraded to a tropical storm rather than a hurricane.

According to the National Hurricane Center (NHC) morning update, the storm may strengthen again in the Gulf of Mexico as it turns north, likely bringing significant impact to coastal Texas late this weekend and early next week.

Multiple cruise ships have already changed itineraries to avoid Cozumel, though predicting any impact on visits after the storm has passed is tricky. For example, Carnival Valor departed New Orleans on Thursday, July 4 and is still scheduled to visit Cozumel on Saturday, July 6.

Read Also: Jamaica Cruise Ports – Full List and Overview

Carnival Cruise Line Brand Ambassador John Heald has confirmed that as of Friday morning, Carnival Valor remains en route to Cozumel and guests will be updated onboard if itinerary changes are necessary. Announcements have also been made onboard the ship to keep passengers updated about the situation as they enjoy a fun day at sea today.

“Hurricane Beryl continues its westerly path across the Caribbean and is set to impact the Yucatan Peninsula in the next few days, passing south of Cozumel, Friday afternoon,” the announcement onboard said. “The weather looks promising for Saturday, but local authorities must conduct an assessment after the storm passes Cozumel. They will keep us updated about port conditions.”

All cruise travelers should always remain flexible with their travel plans during hurricane season, which runs from June 1 through November 30. A storm could cause changes to cruise itineraries and port visits at any time during the season—or even outside the official hurricane season. Cruise lines always prioritize safety when faced with such changes.

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