Rough Seas Force Cruise Ship to Cancel Caribbean Call

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The bad weather that plagued the end of 2023 strikes again! Seabourn Quest was forced to cancel her planned visit to Port Antonio, Jamaica, after rough seas made it impossible to dock safely. 

Seabourn Cruise Line Cancels Jamaican Port Call On New Year’s Day

Cruisers onboard Seabourn Quest had a disappointing start to 2024 when rough seas forced the cruise line to cancel its planned stop at Port Antonio, Jamaica, on New Year’s Day. Port Antonio is a city on Jamaica’s northeast coast and the capital of Portland Parish, located in the Caribbean. 

The ship was supposed to dock at 8 a.m. local time on the morning of January 1, 2024, but was unable to dock due to choppy seas. 

Seabourn Quest first tried to dock in the Errol Flynn Marina, the west harbor near Navy Island, but was unsuccessful. The ship then moved to the east harbor near the Titchfield Peninsula to try again with no luck.

Much to the disappointment of the guests, crew, and tour guides on land, the cruise ship was unable to dock safely. After trying a number of strategies, attempts to dock were abandoned in the early afternoon and Seabourn Quest began sailing back to Miami.

Louiston Gooden, president of the Jamaica Union of Travellers Association (JUTA) chapter in Portland, expressed to local news that the ship’s inability to dock packed a heavy blow for local tour guides and craft vendors. 

“The cruise line not docking impacted us greatly as we were there waiting for the ship to dock and we’re eventually told it cannot dock because of the weather,” says Gooden.

Seabourn Quest Cruise Ship
Photo Credit: Patnaree Asavacharanitich /

We had a ship docking with [hundreds of] passengers that comes to Port Antonio once a year and a number of pre-booked tours that were cancelled because of the weather,” adds Gooden.

Meanwhile, passengers onboard Seabourn Quest still have one more sea day to enjoy before their 16-night Antillean Island holiday cruise returns to Miami, Florida, on January 4, 2024. 

Read Also: Rough Seas on a Cruise Ship – How They Handle It

The ship previously visited St. John, U.S. Virgin Islands; Anguilla; St. Johns, Antigua; Basseterre, St. Kitts; Fort de France, Martinique; Pointe A Pitre, Guadeloupe; Tortola, British Virgin Islands; and Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. San Antonio was meant to be the final port call of the cruise. 

Severe Weather Rocks San Antonio

December 2023 was plagued with severe weather that forced ships sailing throughout Florida, the Caribbean, and the Bahamas to reroute, delay sailings, and skip ports. 

Even though January lands within what’s considered the best time of year to cruise through the Caribbean (December to April), winter storms can still come into play.

Port Antonio, San San Beach, Jamaica
Port Antonio, San San Beach, Jamaica (Photo Credit: Ralf Liebhold)

Port Antonio was impacted by wind, which created wave choppiness in the channel to the pier. According to AcuWeather, the next two weeks (January 2, 2024 through January 15, 2024) are expected to be rainy with some mild to moderate wind.

While most modern ships have stabilizers that minimize rocking caused by wind and choppy seas, a smaller ship like Seabourn Quest would certainly feel it more. 

Seabourn Quest is a small luxury cruise ship that entered service in 2011. She is 650 feet long with 32,000 gross tonnage, and can hold 458 passengers and 335 crew members. 

In contrast, the world’s current largest cruise ship, Icon of the Seas, is 1,198 feet long with 50,800 gross tonnage and can hold up to 7,600 passengers. Icon of the Seas arrived in the Caribbean for her inaugural sailings on January 2, 2024. 

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