Guests setting sail aboard Royal Caribbean International’s Liberty of the Seas today are not taking the cruise they originally planned. Due to inclement weather forecast for The Bahamas this week, the April 10 departure of a 4-night “Bahamas Perfect Day Cruise” has cancelled both planned ports of call and substituted a visit to Labadee, Haiti instead, and the ship will have two days at sea instead of one.
Complete Itinerary Change for Liberty of the Seas
The Freedom-class Liberty of the Seas departed Port Everglades in Fort Lauderdale today and guests were greeted with letters announcing a complete change in their itinerary due to expected poor weather en route.
“Along with our Chief Meteorologist, James Van Fleet, we’ve been monitoring some adverse weather in and around The Bahamas,” the letter read. “Unfortunately, this means we’re unable to visit Perfect Day at CocoCay on Tuesday and Nassau on Thursday.”
All week, weather forecasts for Nassau, the capital of The Bahamas, call for a high chance of rain and strong winds, conditions that can make navigating the channel, docking at the pier, and enjoying the port of call very challenging. Similar conditions at CocoCay, Royal Caribbean’s private island, present similar hazards.
Instead, Liberty of the Seas will now have sea days on both Tuesday and Thursday, but in between will call on Labadee, Haiti – another private destination.
In contrast, Wednesday’s weather forecast for Labadee is much more pleasant, with warm temperatures and lower winds, and rain chances only in the evening. The cruise ship will be in port that day from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., departing before most of the rain is expected.
“We know how much time and effort go into planning your cruise with us, and we’re sorry for any disappointment caused by this change,” the letter continues.
Shore Tours Refunded
All pre-purchased Royal Caribbean International shore excursions are being automatically cancelled and fully refunded to guests’ onboard ship accounts. Those credits can be used for any onboard purchases, including drinks, spa appointments, arcade games, and more, and any credit amount remaining at the end of the cruise will be returned to each guest’s card on file for their account.
Shore tours for Labadee are being made available and guests can book them at the Shore Excursions Desk on Deck 5, next to Guest Services and across from the Next Cruise desk.
Weather Impacting Cruises
While larger storms such as hurricanes and polar vortexes make news headlines, it is no surprise that they can alter cruise ship itineraries, any line of strong storms can impact sailings and cause port cancellations.
“Being onboard a ship is one of the safest places to be because we are faster and can move out of the way of any inclement weather,” the letter to Liberty of the Seas guests explains.
Even if the weather may not seem severely dangerous, cruise ship captains must take into account the delicacy of coming alongside a pier without damaging the ship or the dock, or in the case of tendering with small boats, whether the conditions will be too rough for the comfort and safety of passengers.
In addition to Liberty of the Seas, a number of other cruise ships from different lines are operating in The Bahamas this week.
Royal Caribbean’s Mariner of the Seas is also scheduled to be at CocoCay on Tuesday, and may be impacted by the same poor weather. Likewise, Norwegian Cruise Line’s Norwegian Getaway is scheduled for Great Stirrup Cay on Tuesday, just 1.5 miles (2.4 kilometers) east of CocoCay.
On Thursday, April 13, Liberty of the Seas was to have been joined by her sister ship Freedom of the Seas in Nassau, as well as Carnival Cruise Line’s Carnival Dream. Both Freedom of the Seas and Carnival Dream may be similarly impacted by the poor weather.
Guests booked on any ship from any cruise line sailing in The Bahamas this week will want to stay alert for weather updates and possible itinerary changes affecting their cruise.