PortMiami Reopens, Cruise Ships Have Delayed Embarkations

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After severe weather rerouted several cruise ships and forced PortMiami to temporarily close, the busy cruise terminal is back in business. But its reopening hasn’t all been smooth sailing, as all seven ships currently docked in the port have been delayed. 

PortMiami Reopens After Severe Weather Forces Closure

Winter storms have arrived early on the East Coast, with intense storms ravaging the East Coast with heavy rain and winds beginning on December 13, 2023 — about one week before the official start of the winter season on December 21. The storm systems had a particularly intense impact on South Florida and the Bahamas. 

Due to adverse weather conditions, PortMiami was forced to temporarily close its doors to cruise traffic on the morning of December 17, before reopening in the early afternoon.

As a result, cruise ships arrived late to port from their previous sailings, creating a chain reaction that delayed disembarkation of the current guests and embarkation of new guests by several hours.

“There will be a delay on Sunday, December 17th embarkation due to recent weather conditions. Please contact your cruise line for instructions and more information,” PortMiami posted on its X account early Sunday.

PortMiami, Florida
PortMiami, Florida (Photo Credit: Gia Javarova)

The closure at PortMiami has not been the only hiccup caused by the recent weather. The storm systems brought about rough seas, high swells, and strong winds that forced many cruise lines to shift itineraries and cancel port calls in the interest of their guests’ comfort and safety.

Worth Reading: Severe Weather Impacting Multiple Cruise Ships

Port of Palm Beach also temporarily closed on December 15 after the National Weather Service forecasted sustained winds of up to 40 mph and swells of up to 15 feet. Port of Palm Beach has re-opened to cruise traffic as conditions improved, although a gale warning and small craft advisory was in effect until the early afternoon on December 17. 

PortMiami’s Closure Delays Future Sailings

On December 17, 2023, seven cruise ships were scheduled to arrive in PortMiami for their current guests to disembark and to begin embarkation for guests booked on the next sailings, all of which have been delayed.

The ships impacted include Carnival Horizon, Carnival Celebration, Norwegian Encore, MSC Divina, Royal Caribbean’s Grandeur of the Seas and Oasis of the Seas, and Virgin Voyages’ Scarlet Lady. 

Carnival Cruise Line, which has two ships currently in the port, reached out to guests via email and text to advise them of the delays. The cruise line asked cruisers on Carnival Horizon to delay their terminal arrival time by five hours and guests heading to Carnival Celebration to delay their arrival by seven hours.

Carnival Horizon Cruise Ship
Photo Credit: Eric Gilbert Creative / Shutterstock

The final advisory sent to guests of the Carnival Horizon reads: “Embarkation for your cruise has been revised. Please delay your terminal arrival appointment by 5 hours. For example, 10:30 AM to 11:00 AM appointment will become 3:30 PM to 4:00 PM. Please stick to your new time, so we can effectively manage the embarkation process. All guests must be on board by 7:45 PM ET. Watch for an email with additional details. Thank you for your patience and understanding.” 

Carnival is also compensating guests by posting a $25 (USD) onboard credit per person to their Sail & Sign accounts. 

Although the other cruise lines haven’t publicly commented on how the delay will specifically impact their passengers, PortMiami recommended that any guests set to embark today should reach out to their cruise line directly.

Read Also: Miami Cruise Port Parking – Where to Park Guide

PortMiami also released a parking advisory on X explaining that it will be a particularly busy day after the delays and that parking may be difficult. The port recommended that cruisers confirm their cruise terminal in advance and park at the garage closest to that terminal.

But if garages become full, travelers should park at the closest available option and use transportation provided by PortMiami to reach their terminals.

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