Windy weather and strong currents were enough to keep the world’s largest cruise ship, Wonder of the Seas, from docking at CocoCay as planned on Monday, February 13, 2023.
Instead, the 236,857-gross-ton vessel will enjoy an extra day at sea as it makes its way to the next scheduled port of call, St. Thomas in the US Virgin Islands.
Wonder of the Seas Cancels CocoCay
Wonder of the Seas had been scheduled to visit CocoCay, Royal Caribbean’s private island destination in The Bahamas, on Monday, February 13, from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m.
High winds in the area, however, made it impossible for the ship to safely dock, and after waiting several hours for the winds to subside, the decision was made to cancel the port of call altogether and the ship moved off.
At the time the Oasis-class cruise ship was to have been docking, winds around CocoCay were steady at 18 knots (20 miles per hour / 33 kilometers per hour), with gusts recorded up to 27 knots (31 mph / 50 kph).
This is too dangerous for the ship to dock safely, as the movement of the vessel could cause gangway problems for guests and damage to the pier.
Rather than immediately cancel the visit, however, the ship’s captain opted to hold off just northwest of the island and wait to see if conditions improved.
While the overall wind speeds were falling throughout the morning, gusts still remained well over 20 knots (23 mph / 37 kph), and by 11 a.m. it was decided to move on with sea day plans.
This is the safest decision, as even if the ship could dock safely, an unexpected wind gust could have very unsafe consequences, such as when an MSC Cruises ship recently broke free of its moorings due to high winds during a sudden squall.
Wonder of the Seas was the only ship scheduled for CocoCay on Monday, and there are no ships scheduled for visits on Tuesday, February 14.
Two vessels – Serenade of the Seas and Liberty of the Seas – are planned to be docked on Wednesday, and may be facing similarly high winds. Forecast predictions for Wednesday at CocoCay show sustained wind speeds of 14-16 knots (16-18 mph / 26-29 kph) with gusts as high as 22 knots (25 mph / 40 kph).
Read Also: Royal Caribbean to increase Capacity at Its Private Island
Of course, predictions can always change, and each ship’s captain will make whatever decisions are best for the safety of the vessel based on weather conditions at the time.
What to Do on Board?
With Wonder of the Seas now enjoying a sea day instead of a port visit, what can guests expect? Shore excursions booked for CocoCay will be refunded, and extra activities will be quickly added to the day’s schedule to give all guests more options for a fun day. Trivia contests, games, and live music are sure to be available throughout the day.
Furthermore, Wonder of the Seas has an amazing array of onboard activities to enjoy, from pools, whirlpools, and spa facilities to the ship’s rock climbing wall, the FlowRider surf simulator, the Wonder Dunes story-based miniature golf course, the Wonder Playscape for kids, and the Ultimate Abyss slide for those brave enough to plunge 10 stories down on the tallest slide at sea.
Bars and the casino will be open, and new shopping deals may be made available as well, along with fitness classes and much more for all ages to enjoy.
Winter Weather in The Bahamas
Winter weather can always involve strong winds in The Bahamas as storm systems move from the United States into the southeast Atlantic Ocean.
This is not the first time ships have cancelled calls to CocoCay or other private islands in The Bahamas because of unsafe conditions. Guests should always be prepared for weather-related itinerary changes.
At the end of January, for example, Norwegian Escape needed to cancel a visit to Norwegian Cruise Line’s private island, Great Stirrup Cay, because of high winds. Great Stirrup Cay and CocoCay are just 1.5 miles (2.4 kilometers) apart.
Bermuda has also been dramatically impacted by winter weather, and earlier this month Norwegian Getaway had to completely cancel an overnight call on Bermuda due to high winds.
High winds, tropical storms, severe waves, and other weather conditions can impact cruise ships sailing anywhere in the world at any time of year, and cruise travelers should always be flexible with their port expectations when poor weather interferes.