The U.S. Coast Guard plans to close Puerto Rico and U.S. Virgin Island cruise ports before the soon to be Hurricane Dorian arrives.
Cruise Ports Set to Close
The Coast Guard has already set port condition X-Ray for Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands due to Tropical Storm Dorian which is about to hit the Eastern Caribbean. The current condition was set at 2:00 AM on Monday due to the possibility of sustained gale force winds greater than 39 mph within the next 48 hours.
This does still allow cruise ships to call at popular Caribbean ports like St. Thomas and in San Juan but it is a warning for vessels to be cautious and extra vigilant due to the bad weather conditions. This is also the final condition before full port closure which is now expected.
By this time cruise ships should already be coming up with alternative destinations and they would not be able to dock any later than when the next condition goes into effect.
The Coast Guard is expected to set port condition YANKEE at 8:00 AM on Tuesday depending on the conditions of Tropical Storm Dorian. This means the ports will be closed to all marine traffic.
The Coast Guard for Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands has issued advice for people to stay away from beaches and to have a disaster plan for those living near the coastline. Anyone with smaller boats should also secure them.
Cruise Line Impact
Royal Caribbean has already changed itineraries due to Dorian and Carnival Cruise Line is closely monitoring developments. We’re expecting several more itinerary changes from all the major cruise lines as Dorian makes it way through the Caribbean and towards the Bahamas. Other popular cruise ports which could be impacted is Grand Turk, Nassau, Freeport and several cruise line private islands which are also in the Bahamas.
Full Dorian Coverage:
- Royal Caribbean Changes Itineraries Due to Tropical Storm Dorian
- Tropical Storm Dorian Heading Towards Eastern Caribbean Cruise Ports
Symphony of the Seas was the next Royal Caribbean ship to call at San Juan on Wednesday but she is already sailing an altered itinerary. Carnival Breeze which is operated by Carnival Cruise Line is scheduled to call at San Juan on Wednesday but that could change.
Carnival Fascination is calling at St. Tomas today as normal and the Carnival Breeze is scheduled to call there on Tuesday but this could also change.
Tropical Storm Dorian Latest
According to the National Hurricane Center (NOAA), Dorian currently has maximum sustained winds of 60 MPH and is located 245 miles east of St. Lucia. The storm is moving west at 14 MPH and is expected to become a category 1 Hurricane on Tuesday evening.
There is no doubt Dorian is a major threat to the Caribbean with high winds, heavy rainfall, and high waves. Do note that further cruise ship changes are expected, do keep checking for official updates from the cruise line.