Majestic Princess‘ final full Alaskan sailing of the season has missed the last scenic cruising of the itinerary due to poor weather that has made conditions rougher than anticipated and forced an alteration of the sailing route.
The ship has shifted to a more sheltered route and will still arrive in Vancouver as scheduled for debarkation.
Majestic Princess Skips Hubbard Glacier
Princess Cruises’ Majestic Princess was unable to sail near Hubbard Glacier as planned on the ship’s last full Alaska sailing of the season, a 10-night Inside Passage cruise that departed Vancouver, Canada on Saturday, September 16, 2023.
Guests onboard were notified of the alteration with letters delivered to their staterooms the day before the ship was to have enjoyed the final scenic cruising of the itinerary.
“A large depression is approaching the west coast, bringing high winds and heavy seas along our planned route to Vancouver,” the letter explained. “As the safety of our gests and crew is always our highest priority, we have made the necessary decision to cancel our scenic cruising of Hubbard Glacier.”
Rather than risk the uncertain weather close to Hubbard Glacier, Majestic Princess is proceeding directly toward Vancouver, British Columbia through Hecate Strait, a more sheltered route east of the Haida Gwaii Islands. By skipping the scenic cruising and proceeding south immediately, the ship will also stay ahead of the brunt of the storm’s impact.
“While we may still experience some rough seas, this should enable us to avoid the worst of the weather and provide you with the most comfortable cruise,” the letter said.
Winds along the way back to Vancouver may reach as high as 35 knots (40 miles per hour / 65 kilometers per hour) over the next couple of days, as the storm system approaches the coast.
With more time to make the journey, Majestic Princess will be able to adjust heading and orientation to minimize the effects of the winds and swells on the ship’s motion, making for a more comfortable cruise.
Because the scenic cruising of Hubbard Glacier was the last point of interest on the ship’s itinerary, there are no port of call cancellations or other impacts as Majestic Princess makes her way back to Vancouver.
Read Also: What Is a Transpacific Cruise?
The 142,216-gross ton, Royal class Majestic Princess is finishing her 2023 Alaska season with one more sailing that will only call on Ketchikan and various Pacific Northwest ports of call from September 26 through October 3.
After that 7-night sailing, the ship will depart on a 26-night Tahiti, Hawaii, & South Pacific Crossing sailing as she moves to Australia and New Zealand. The ship can welcome 3,560 guests onboard for each sailing, and is also home to 1,300 international crew members.
The Risks of Late Season Alaska Cruises
Alaska cruises in late September can always be subject to inclement fall weather with high winds and rough seas that make navigation more challenging in narrow channels along the coast.
Majestic Princess is not the first ship to have itinerary changes this fall in Alaska, as Royal Caribbean International’s Radiance of the Seas cancelled several Alaskan ports of call on its September 15, 2023, departure due to poor weather.
Similarly, Carnival Cruise Line’s Carnival Luminosa was forced to skip all its Alaska ports at the beginning of its 30-day repositioning cruise from Seattle, Washington to Brisbane, Australia, which departed on September 14, 2023.
Many cruise lines finish their Alaska seasons in early to mid-September just to avoid the worst of the seasonal weather, but the popularity of Alaska as a cruise destination has made it very lucrative to add an extra sailing or two at the end of the season.
Guests who book on late-season Alaska sailings, no matter what cruise line, should always be prepared for possibly inclement weather and itinerary changes that could cause missed ports of call or loss of scenic cruising opportunities.