Cruise lines are reacting to the development of Hurricane Ian, which is heading directly to Florida, a state with the largest concentration of homeports for cruise ships worldwide. Cruise lines such as Royal Caribbean, Celebrity Cruises, MSC, and Virgin have already announced changes to itineraries for current and upcoming cruises.
More cruise lines are expected to change itineraries in the coming days. Carnival Cruise Line has said it will wait to see how the storm develops, with possible itinerary changes to be announced soon.
Hurricane Ian Impacts To Royal Caribbean Cruises
The second major hurricane in a week, Ian, is developing into a threatening storm that is already causing disruptions to guests who have a cruise scheduled in the coming days. Several cruise lines have announced itinerary changes for ships sailing the Western Caribbean, including Royal Caribbean.
The company has announced changes to itineraries for three cruise ships, Mariner of the Seas, Liberty of the Seas, and Allure of the Seas.
Allure of the Seas was due in Roatan tomorrow, September 27, but this call has been dropped, as announced by the cruise line’s Chief Meteorologist, James Van Fleet.
Royal Caribbean also confirmed the changes to Cruise Hive: “The safety of our guests, crew and communities we visit is our top priority. Royal Caribbean Group is closely monitoring the progression of Hurricane Ian, and we are making adjustments to some of our Caribbean routes to ensure the comfort and safety of our guests and crew. Guests on impacted sailings will be notified of any changes.”
The vessel will be making its way around Cuba on the island’s eastern side to find shelter from the storm. Calls to Costa Maya and Cozumel look to be going ahead as scheduled.
With the storm nearby, Mariner of the Seas skipped a call to Labadee in Haiti, opting instead to spend the day at Cococay. Once Ian has passed Labadee, Mariner of the Seas will make its way down to Haiti. Sailing out of Port Canaveral, the 139,863 gross tons cruise ship will be back in port Canaveral on September 29.
After departure from Galveston on September 24, Liberty of the Seas is hanging out in the Gulf of Mexico, well away from the storm. Once the storm has passed, the ship will make its intended stops in Grand Cayman and Jamaica but will not go to Cozumel. Liberty of the Seas is due back in Galveston on October 2, when Hurricane Ian will have moved away.
Further Impacts on Major Cruise Lines
Norwegian Cruise Line has made changes to the itinerary for Norwegian Sky. The cruise line dropped George Town, Grand Cayman; Roatan, Honduras; Harvest Caye, Belize; and Cozumel, Mexico from the itinerary, opting instead to visit the Bahamas; San Juan, Puerto Rico; St. Thomas in the US Virgin Islands, and, Tortola in the UK Virgin Islands.
MSC Seashore will also not be sailing to the Western Caribbean; the ship instead spent a day at Ocean Cay yesterday, followed by a day in Nassau today. Following those calls, the ship will make its way to the Dominican Republic for an overnight call in Puerto Plata.
Virgin Voyages has canceled a call for Scarlet Lady to Costa Maya scheduled for tomorrow, September 26. Instead, the ship will sail to the Dominican Republic for a day in Puerto Plata.
Celebrity Cruises announced a change of itinerary for Celebrity Infinity. Instead of sailing to Belize, guests spent the day in Nassau yesterday, September 25. The succeeding call to Cozumel has also been canceled in favor of a visit to Labadee, Haiti.
One cruise line which has not yet made any changes to itineraries is Carnival Cruise Line. Earlier today, brand ambassador John Heald announced the company is opting to see what ships would be impacted by Hurricane Ian as it comes closer and make necessary changes if and when the need arises.
Guests onboard all ships received a letter from Carnival Cruise Line, which stated: “As you get settled in, I want to provide you with an update on the weather. Our Fleet Operations Center in Miami is actively monitoring Tropical Storm Ian.“
“At present, there is no change to our scheduled voyage. As everyone’s safety is our number one priority, we will continue to monitor the weather and provide you with timely updates if anything changes.”
Although the path of Hurricane Ian can be predicted to some extent, there is still some doubt whether it will go in a more northern direction or more northeast direction. A northern course would bring the storm to the vicinity of Mobile, Alabama, and New Orleans. A northeast course would bring the storm directly over Tampa.
Hurricane Ian is currently moving in a northerly direction and has just passed grand Cayman as a Category 1 storm. Once the storm passes Cuba, it is expected to strengthen and develop into a Category 3 or 4 storm, with winds gusting over 100 mph. Ian is expected to reach the US coast in the early morning hours on Wednesday.
Stay tuned to Cruise Hive for further updates on this developing storm and its impact on cruise travel in the region. We will keep you updated with any itinerary changes as they come in.