Tropical Storm Bret formed Monday afternoon approximately 1,300 miles (2,100 kilometers) east of the Lesser Antilles, and is expected to move west over the rest of the week.
Popular cruise destinations such as the Virgin Islands, Antigua, and Puerto Rico could begin to feel impacts as early as Thursday, but there is still great uncertainty about the overall path and intensity of the storm.
First Storm of 2023 Official Season
Tropical Storm Bret formed Monday afternoon and as of 5 p.m. on Monday evening, has maximum sustained winds of 40 miles per hour (64 kilometers per hour), just over the 39 mph (63 kph) threshold for a tropical storm. The storm is expected to strengthen, however, and may reach hurricane status on Wednesday or early Thursday.
On its current course, Bret is moving west at 21 mph (34 kph), and is likely to move slightly north in the next few days. Later in the week, the storm may make a sharper turn to the north depending on prevailing weather in the Caribbean, or could stay on a westerly course into the weekend.
Bret is the first tropical storm of the official 2023 hurricane season, which runs from June 1 through November 30. Two tropical disturbances did develop earlier – one in mid-January off the northeastern US coast, the other northeast of the Turks & Caicos in mid-May – but neither advanced to tropical storm status or had a significant impact on cruises.
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Bret, however, is much more likely to impact cruise travel, as it is already a tropical storm (rather than a tropical or subtropical disturbance), and is on course toward popular eastern Caribbean port destinations.
No Travel Changes Yet
As yet, there are no cruise itineraries impacted by Tropical Storm Bret, but that is likely to change in the next few days as the storm continues to move west.
The first areas to be impacted will be the Lesser Antilles, the easternmost Caribbean cruise ports of call, including destinations like Antigua and St. Kitts, with the Virgin Islands, and the Dominican Republic also likely to feel some effect from the storm.
More southerly destinations such as Barbados, St. Vincent, and St. Lucia are also likely to be impacted by Tropical Storm or Hurricane Bret, but cruise travel impact will be minimal as those ports of call are not typically visited during the summer months and no ships are currently scheduled in the region.
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Depending on whether or not the storm turns to the north later in the week, other Caribbean regions could also be significantly impacted. A strong northern turn is likely to cause disruptions in the Turks & Caicos as well as The Bahamas.
Stay in Contact for Updates
Any travelers with a cruise this week should stay in close communication with their cruise line for potential itinerary changes, such as dropped ports of call or reversed routes that would keep ships well away from the storm’s projected path. Most cruise lines offer email and text alerts for such changes.
Tropical depressions, storms, and hurricanes can cause significant disruptions to cruise travel, but all cruise lines keep the safety as a top priority and will make whatever changes are necessary for a safe cruise that is as comfortable as possible.
Stay tuned to Cruise Hive for complete hurricane coverage as it impacts cruise travel throughout the storm season.