MSC Cruises has altered the planned itinerary for MSC Seashore to avoid impacts from Tropical Storm Ian, which is forecast to become a hurricane in the next 24-36 hours.
The ship’s ports of call have been changed and its route altered to avoid the worst expected impact of the storm.
Altered Itinerary With Changed Ports of Call
MSC Seashore, which is departing today – Saturday, September 24 – on a 7-night roundtrip Western Caribbean sailing from Miami, will no longer be making the same port visits as originally planned.
Guests have been notified of the altered itinerary via letters in their staterooms as they boarded the vessel today.
“We regret to inform you that due to forecasted path Tropical Depression Nine (which is forecasted to become Tropical Storm and then Hurricane in the next few days) our scheduled itinerary will need to be adjusted,” the letter read.
“Your comfort and the safety of all our guests and crew is our utmost priority.”
The ship’s original itinerary called for a day at sea, then three of the most popular Caribbean ports of call in quick succession: Ocho Rios, Jamaica; Georgetown, Grand Cayman; and Cozumel, Mexico. After another sea day, MSC Seashore was to visit Ocean Cay MSC Marine Reserve, the cruise line’s private island destination in The Bahamas, before returning to Miami on October 1.
Now, everything about the ship’s itinerary has been changed to route the vessel around Tropical Storm Ian and its potential impact.
The Seaside-class MSC Seashore will visit Ocean Cay on Sunday, September 25 as the first port of call rather than the last, and with a shorter visit time of 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. rather than the original port time of 8 a.m. to 9 p.m.
On Monday, September 26, the ship will spend the day in Nassau from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.
One day at sea will follow, then an overnight visit in Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic, from 8 a.m. on Wednesday until 4 p.m. on Thursday. This will give guests plenty of time for multiple shore tours or other experiences at the destination.
After another day at sea, the cruise will conclude in Miami as planned on Saturday, October 1, with no change in the ship’s anticipated arrival time or debarkation.
“I apologize for any inconvenience and thank you for understanding,” the letter, signed by the ship’s captain Giuseppe Galano, reads. “We look forward to welcoming you aboard MSC Seashore.”
Disappointing But Necessary Changes
Many guests will undoubtedly be disappointed by such drastic itinerary changes, especially as the ship will now have just three port visits rather than four.
Pre-paid, pre-booked tours for Ocean Cay are being automatically switched to the new schedule, while tours for Ocho Rios, Georgetown, and Cozumel are being fully refunded. Guests will have opportunities on board to book tours for the new visits in Nassau and Puerto Plata.
This dramatic itinerary change comes as Tropical Storm Nine has strengthened into Tropical Storm Ian, and is forecast to continue strengthening into a hurricane.
As of Saturday evening, the storm is located due south of Jamaica, with maximum sustained winds of 45 miles per hour (72 kilometers per hour), and is moving west at 16 miles per hour (26 kph).
The storm is forecast to begin a northwest turn on Sunday, which will likely take it between Cuba and the Yucatan Peninsula of Mexico early next week. While there is still great uncertainty about the storm’s eventual strength and exact path, all cruise lines will be watching the storm closely.
Stay tuned to Cruise Hive for further updates on this developing storm and its impact on cruise travel in the region, as Western Caribbean itineraries are very popular and a number of ships on different cruise lines are likely to be affected in the coming days.