Princess Cruises has notified guests aboard Emerald Princess that the ship’s scheduled visit to Ensenada, Mexico will not be happening as planned, and the ship will return to Los Angeles a day early due to the expected path and poor weather associated with Hurricane Hilary.
If desired, guests will have the opportunity to debark the ship a day early, or they can remain onboard until the original debarkation day of Monday, August 21, 2023.
Emerald Princess Itinerary Change for Hurricane Hilary
Guests onboard Emerald Princess will not be visiting Ensenada as expected on Sunday, August 20. Because of the intensity, track, and timing of Hurricane Hilary, the cruise line is expediting the ship’s visit to Mexico as a service call with no guests or crew allowed off the ship, and instead the vessel will proceed back to Los Angeles a day ahead of schedule.
All guests on the Crown-class vessel received a letter, signed by the ship’s master, Captain Giuseppe Castellano, detailing the changes.
“I wish to advise you of an additional change to our cruise itinerary,” the letter began before explaining the alterations. “This will also allow us to keep the ship in more sheltered areas that will not be as impacted by the storm.”
Emerald Princess was originally scheduled to spend Sunday, August 20, visiting Ensenada from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., just as the storm is expected to pass through the northern Baja region.
Now, the cruise ship will be docked in Ensenada “only to complete clearance formalities” as required by US law for the ship to visit a foreign port of call during a closed-loop cruise.
The current sailing of Emerald Princess has been a 16-night Hawaiian Islands itinerary, and Ensenada is the only non-US port during the voyage.
During the brief stop in Mexico, the ship will satisfy legal requirements but no passengers or crew members will be permitted off the ship. The visit will only be as long as necessary for customs clearance before leaving.
“We realize the cancellation of a port of call, regardless of the reason, is disappointing,” the letter continued. “When unexpected issues occur and we must make the decision to change our itinerary, we share in your disappointment. We appreciate your patience and understanding.”
Returning to Los Angeles Early
After leaving Mexico, Emerald Princess will head directly to Los Angeles, with an anticipated arrival time of 10 a.m. on Sunday, August 20.
The ship will remain in port overnight, and guests will be able to come and go from the ship to enjoy Los Angeles once customs is cleared. The cruise line is currently investigating options for possible shore tours while in Los Angeles.
Passengers are advised that, due to local regulations, the ship’s casino and retail boutiques will be closed prior to reaching Los Angeles and will not reopen. The specialty restaurants, bars, spa, and entertainment venues will continue to operate normally.
Regular debarkation will be as planned on Monday, August 21, though guests who wish to debark on Sunday may do so if they file the proper paperwork with Guest Services onboard.
This may be an attractive option for guests who live in the area, or those who wish to drive home before the storm’s full impact reaches southern California on Sunday evening.
Many Changes to One Cruise
This particular sailing of Emerald Princess, which departed Los Angeles on Saturday, August 5, has been disrupted multiple times for different unforeseen events.
First, the wildfires in Hawaii prompted cancellation of the planned visit to Lahaina, though a port visit to Kona was able to be substituted. Just before the ship reached Hilo, Hawaii, a male passenger was reported missing and later confirmed overboard.
Now, the influence of Hurricane Hilary has effectively cancelled the call to Ensenada and forced the ship’s early return to Los Angeles.
Hopefully, guests onboard will be able to enjoy the remainder of their cruise with all the facilities and amenities the 113,500-gross ton vessel has to offer.
Hurricane Hilary is currently a Category 3 Major hurricane, with sustained winds of 115 miles per hour. The storm’s center is almost exactly 250 miles due west of Cabo San Lucas, moving north-northwest at 16 miles per hour.
The storm is expected to arrive in the region of Ensenada roughly midday on Sunday, August 20, and move into southern California that evening.