Three Carnival Cruise Ship Itinerary Changes Due to Dock Damage

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Carnival cruise line has announced more changes to itineraries for three ships. While the Caribbean is still dealing with damage left behind by Hurricane Fiona, the next storm has already entered the Caribbean basin, threatening more disruptions in the coming days.

Three ships have canceled their call to Grand Turk in the Turks and Caicos due to the damage sustained to the pier during Hurricane Fiona. Carnival Cruise Line has released new itineraries for these three cruise ships.

Carnival Ships Drop Grand Turk

Carnival Cruise Line has changed the itineraries for three ships due to call in Grand Turk next week. Carnival Freedom, Mardi Gras, and Carnival Sunrise will not be calling to the island. The cancelation is due to the significant damage sustained to the dock earlier this week when Hurricane Fiona hit the area. 

The damage to the pier was mainly to the pier extension, which makes it possible for larger cruise ships to dock in Grand Turk. Before cruise ships sail to Grand Turk again, an engineering assessment and safety inspection will be done to ensure the structure’s integrity before it can be used.

You can watch a video of the damage to the Grand Turk dock below:

Hurricane Fiona passed Grand Turk on Tuesday, September 20, 2022, as a Category 3 hurricane with maximum sustained winds of 115 miles per hour (185 kilometers per hour). There has been a significant impact on the local infrastructure, but, fortunately, no injuries or loss of life.

In a letter to guests booked onboard Carnival Sunrise, the cruise line explained the situation: “Due to Hurricane Fiona, the pier structure in Grand Turk is currently under repair, and it will be necessary to replace our call there with a visit to Bimini, The Bahamas.”

“Pre-purchased Carnival shore excursions for Grand Turk will be automatically refunded to your onboard Sail & Sign account. Carnival tours for Bimini will be available for purchase on board. We apologize for this unexpected change and thank you for your understanding. We look forward to welcoming you aboard for a FUN and memorable cruise.”

Carnival Sunrise will be sailing from Miami on September 24. There will be a call to Nassau on September 25 and a call to Half Moon Cay on September 26, which will be 30 minutes longer than previously scheduled. 

The following day will be a day at sea instead of the call to Grand Turk, while the next day, which was a day at sea initially, will now be a call to Bimini in the Bahamas.

Carnival Mardi Gras Cruise Ship
Photo Credit: Melissa Mayntz

For Carnival Freedom, the call to Grand Turk on September 29 has been replaced by a day at sea, while a call to Nassau has replaced the original day at sea on September 30. The same change has been made to the Mardi Gras itinerary, changing the day at sea to September 29 and a day in Nassau on September 30. 

Will Guests Be Compensated for the Itinerary Changes?

One question that often comes up when cruise lines incorporate changes to itineraries is whether guests receive any compensation. Unfortunately for them, this is not the case here. As the reason for changing ports does not lie with Carnival, the cruise line will not be offering compensation. 

As a general rule, cruise lines can make itinerary changes if and when they please, without offering guests a reason. Carnival Cruise Line’s Brand Ambassador John Heald made this clear on September 24:

“The main change to the itineraries is the replacement of Grand Turk, which had some pier damage. Now I have had a few people ask why we are not giving any compensation for this. One lady felt that $100 OBC should be given, and another asked for a dinner for four to be provided at the Steakhouse. I have explained that, respectfully, this will not be given.”

Itinerary Changes Always Possible

When one takes a cruise, a change of itinerary is always possible. Of course, not everyone will be pleased with the outcome when cruise lines make changes. In particular, the choice of replacement port is always up for debate.

Carnival Freedom Cruise Ship
Photo Courtesy: Port Canaveral

However, space in cruise ports is often booked up well in advance, and the speed needed to cover the distance to popular ports such as Cozumel is also factored in. Therefore, cruise lines will need to take advantage of their options.

“We can’t just show up on Mardi Gras in Cozumel and tell the Climbing Wall of the Seas or the Scarlet Norwegian to bugger off so we can dock. What I am saying is that when hurricanes come through the Caribbean, all the cruise lines have to find spaces for displaced ports, and Nassau has space for many ships,” Heald continued.

After a relatively quiet start to hurricane season, this week seems to be the start of more active storms passing through the Caribbean basin.

Tropical Storm Ian has already entered the area and is likely to increase in strength over the coming days. Cruise companies will undoubtedly implement even more itinerary changes if the current projections come through. If that does happen, Cruise Hive will keep you informed of all the important changes. 

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