Royal Caribbean Adapts Itinerary to Avoid Hurricane Hilary

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Royal Caribbean International has altered the itinerary for Navigator of the Seas to visit Ensenada earlier than planned, in anticipation of impacts expected from Hurricane Hilary.

The ship will now visit the popular Mexican port of call late in the evening on Saturday, August 19, 2023, allowing plenty of time for the ship to leave the region before poor weather arrives.

Navigator of the Seas Itinerary Change

The Voyager class Navigator of the Seas will be visiting Ensenada sooner than expected in order to avoid the brunt of poor weather expected from Hurricane Hilary as the storm moves north along the Pacific Coast.

The ship set sail on a 3-night Mexican cruise on Friday, August 18, 2023, and was planned to have a day at sea before spending Sunday, August 20 in Ensenada from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Because of the storm’s track and intensity, however, the itinerary has been altered for a Saturday night in Ensenada with Sunday becoming the day at sea.

Royal Caribbean's Navigator of the Seas
Royal Caribbean’s Navigator of the Seas (Photo Credit: Joseph Hendrickson / Shutterstock)

“Along with our Chief Meteorologist, we’ve been closely monitoring adverse weather due to Hurricane Hilary,” a letter to guests onboard explained. “In order to maintain a safe and comfortable journey, we’ll now visit Ensenada, Mexico on Saturday evening, August 19th, arriving at 7 p.m. and staying until midnight.”

Due to the lateness of the visit, all Royal Caribbean shore excursions for the port are being cancelled, and will be refunded to guests as onboard credit. Any remaining funds at the end of the cruise to be returned to the method of payment on file.

Navigator of the Seas
Navigator of the Seas (Photo Credit: Darryl Brooks / Shutterstock)

“We’re truly sorry for the weather’s impact on your vacation,” the letter continued. “Please know, being onboard a ship is one of the safest places because we are faster and can move out of the way of any inclement weather.”

While Hurricane Hilary is currently moving at 13 miles per hour, Navigator of the Seas‘ maximum cruising speed is 22 knots, or just over 25 miles per hour.

The 140,000-gross ton Navigator of the Seas is currently homeported from Los Angeles, California, offering 3- and 4-night sailings that all visit Ensenada, Mexico. The 4-night cruises also visit Catalina Island, California.

On each sailing, the ship can welcome 3,376 guests at double occupancy, or as many as 4,000 passengers when fully booked.

Other Cruises Impacted

All cruise lines sailing in the southern California and Baja region this weekend are staying alert to the storm’s progress, and different ships are changing itineraries, port of call times, and sailing routes to avoid the worst of the inclement weather.

Any guests booked on weekend sailings in the region should stay in close contact with their cruise line for updates, and be flexible with their cruise expectations during this unusual storm.

While hurricanes are not uncommon in the eastern Pacific, storms typically track to the west, away from the California coast.

Hurricane Hilary Status

Hurricane Hilary is currently classified as a Category 4 Major hurricane, with maximum sustained winds of 130 miles per hour. The storm is located roughly 240 miles east-southeast of Cabo San Lucas, Mexico and moving north-northwest at 13 miles per hour.

Hurricane Hilary
Hurricane Hilary

The storm has a relatively large wind field for tropical storm strength winds, and tropical storm warnings are already in effect for all of the Baja Peninsula, the Gulf of California, and into Southern California as far north as Los Angeles. Hurricane warnings are in effect for the central Baja Peninsula.

Hilary Flooding
Hilary Flooding

Hilary is expected to weaken as she approaches land, and landfall is likely anywhere from the central to northern Baja Peninsula overnight in the early hours of Sunday, August 20 or as late as Sunday afternoon, depending on the storm’s exact track and speed over the next 24 hours.

Because of the storm’s size and composition, it is expected to bring significant rain to the region. Significant flash flood risks are indicated for much of southern and central California, western Arizona, and into Nevada and even Utah for the next several days.

These areas are prone to drought and excess rain cannot be absorbed quickly into the soil, creating dangerous surface flooding.

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