Off The Rock: Hurricanes Alter Cruise Plans

September 24, 2017 | 2 Comments

[Travel column written by Don Burgess]

Hurricanes Irma and Maria have drastically altered many cruise itineraries.

In some ports, the channels have yet to be checked to see if they are safe for the ships, while in others the destruction is so widespread that dumping 1,000s of cruise passengers on those cities would only hamper relief and rebuilding efforts going on.

Cruise lines do not have to refund your money on your cruise if they change the itinerary [it's part of the fine print when you buy your ticket] but they do have to give back any money on pre-booked excursions for ports that will no longer be calling on.

They are more flexible because of the devastation wreaked upon the Eastern Caribbean, so if you had your heart set on St. Maarten or some other place that has been replaced in its schedule, you might get some sympathy.

I was on a Carnival Cruise that was supposed to stop in the Dominican Republic but because of a hurricane that port was dropped in favor of St. Kitts.

This isn’t an exhaustive list, but here are announced changes by the various lines.

Royal Caribbean

Adventure of the Seas will switch its 10/7 and 10/14 sailings to St. Croix from St. Maarten and St. Thomas respectively. The 9/30 sailing to St. Maarten will be swapped with St. Kitts.

The Allure of the Seas will now go to Labadee, Haiti on 10/1 and 10/15 instead of St. Thomas and St. Maarten.

The Enchantment of the Seas port of Key West has been switched to Freeport, Bahamas. Key West opened up its cruise port this week, so this bears watching to see if it returns to Key West.

Harmony of the Seas will stop in St. Kitts on 10/7 instead of St. Maarten.

Oasis of the Seas will go to Nassau, the Bahamas on 10/8 instead of St. Maarten.

Carnival

Carnival Cruise Lines terminal in San Juan, Puerto Rico received extensive damage because of Hurricane Maria, and the company said it appears it will take several weeks to repair.

That means the sailings on the Carnival Fascination from both San Juan and Barbados are canceled on the following dates: 10/1 and 10/8 from San Juan and 9/27, 10/4 and 10/11 from Barbados.

Norwegian

The Norwegian Escape’s Eastern Caribbean itineraries to Tortola [BVI], St. Thomas and St. Maarten are all affected and have altered for the rest of 2017. Like Carnival, they also sustained damage to its terminal in San Juan.

Princess

The line hasn’t updated its alert page since September 18. The 10/10 Caribbean Princes stop in St. Thomas has been replaced with San Juan, but that is up in the air now due to Hurricane Maria,

The Regal Princess was supposed to port in St. Maarten on 10/30. That was swapped out with stops in Antigua on 10/31 and one in Antigua on 10/30.

MSC

The Divina is supposed to do an Eastern Caribbean cruise starting on September 30, and the company said it “will be assessing the situation” and will provide an update soon as to what is happening.

Holland America

The line’s Caribbean cruise season begins mid-October, so they are in a wait-and-see mode for the Eastern Caribbean itineraries. They expect to make an update on Tuesday, September 26. An update on 2018 itineraries will be provided on October 5. Like the other lines, no Western Caribbean or Panama Canal sailings are affected.

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Comments (2)

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  1. Keepin it Real says:

    Wonder if any will redirect to Bermuda?

  2. Hello says:

    Would be good for Bermuda…..time will tell!

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