Weather May Impact Multiple Florida Homeports This Weekend

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Cruise travelers departing from south Florida homeports through this weekend might face some weather-related difficulties with Invest 90-L – a significant low pressure area of storminess – bringing several inches of rain to the region in the past few days. Invests are the precursors to tropical lows and depressions that may develop into tropical storms and later into hurricanes.

Some areas of the southern part of the Sunshine State are seeing rainfall totals of 9+ inches over a few days, which could lead to localized flooding or road closures. This could make driving to the cruise ports more challenging, though no large areas of trouble have yet been reported.

PortMiami, for example, has received 4.5 inches of rain in the past 24 hours, while Port Everglades has received 2.75 inches and Port Tampa Bay has received 2 inches. These totals are just for a 24-hour period, and rainfall over the past few days has been significant after a period of lighter-than-average rainfall. It should be noted that Florida’s sandy soil quickly absorbs water once the rain stops.

With storms expected to continue until and into the weekend, several more inches rain are expected to accumulate and cruise travelers could be facing hazardous conditions as they travel to their homeports.

“An elongated area of low pressure over the Florida peninsula is producing a large are of disorganized showers and thunderstorms,” the latest update from the National Hurricane Center read. “Heavy rainfall is forecast to continue across portions of the Florida peninsula during the next few days.”

This is causing anxiety for travelers with respect to potential flight delays in the days leading up to embarkation, as well as flooding that may close roads or otherwise impede reaching cruise terminals. Some travelers with upcoming Carnival cruises have reached out to John Heald, the cruise line’s Brand Ambassador, asking for – even demanding – updates on delays or cancellations.

“I wish you would stop procrastinating. Tell us if cruises are canceled for those of us sailing from Miami, which is flooded right now,” one traveler asked.

To clarify, there is no severe flooding reported in Miami (though temporary localized flooding is certainly possible), and other comments noting 30 inches of rain or similar spectacular conditions are greatly exaggerated. Nevertheless, Heald responded with reassurances for all guests.

Carnival Cruise Ship in Miami, Florida
Carnival Cruise Ship in Miami, Florida (Photo Credit: Grindstone Media Group)

“I do understand and I promise that if there is, or any changes or delays, that we will look after you and inform me about them. But at this time, there are no changes that I am aware of,” Heald wrote Wednesday morning.

As one of the busiest cruise ports in the world, PortMiami has multiple cruise ships in port nearly every day, and weekends are particularly busy.

On Friday, June 14, Royal Caribbean International’s Freedom of the Seas, MSC Cruises’ MSC Magnifica, and Carnival Cruise Line’s Carnival Conquest are all debarking and embarking guests. Saturday, June 15 is an even busier day, with Independence of the Seas, Icon of the Seas, Norwegian Sky, MSC Seascape, Carnival Sunrise, and Carnival Celebration all in port.

All six of the vessels on Saturday are turning around – both debarking and embarking guests. When the totals from all the ships are combined, as many as 55,000 guests may be moving through the port area, not to mention crew members, vendors, and terminal employees.

Poor weather can complicate traffic with poor visibility, localized flooded streets or intersections, and the potential for downed wires, trees, or other hazards. Anyone driving to the cruise port – whether in Miami, Tampa, or Fort Lauderdale – should stay alert to traffic reports and plan for extra time to reach the cruise terminal.

Guests driving from further away should note that Florida Statue 316.217.1.b requires vehicle headlights to be on during any rain. This improves the visibility of the vehicle for other drivers as well. Slowing down and driving cautiously is always advisable during periods of heavy squalls.

Will Cruises Be Cancelled or Delayed Due to Rain?

It is highly unlikely that any cruises will be cancelled or delayed because of heavy rain. While it can be more challenging to reach the cruise terminal during poor weather, the ships can safely operate and all guests should still plan to be onboard before the final boarding time printed on their boarding pass.

Read Also: How a Hurricane Could Affect Your Cruise

Guests should stay in close communication with their cruise line and sign up for text alerts to receive any notifications.

At this time, it is not expected that Invest 90-L will develop into an official tropical system in the next few days, though some minor development might occur early next week after the area of low pressure has moved back into the Atlantic Ocean.

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