Hurricane Joaquin, a category 4 hurricane with maximum sustained winds of 155 mph, has forced at least five cruise lines (Carnival, Princess, Norwegian, Royal Caribbean, and Disney) to alter itineraries. The storm is expected to slowly weaken as it moves north away from the Bahamas.
Disney Cruise Cruise Line has made changes to the itineraries on three of their ships. Disney Dream will skip a stop in Nassau and Disney Fantasy will skip a stop in Castaway Cay. Both ships will have now have a sea day replacing the stops. Disney Magic will visit Key West, Florida replacing a stop in Castaway Cay.
Carnival Cruise Line has changed the itinerary for three of their cruise ships. Carnival Valor will skip a stop in Grand Turk on Thursday and will now have a sea day. Carnival Pride will be bypassing stops at the private island of Half Moon Cay and in Freeport, Bahamas. Passengers on Carnival Pride will be receiving a 50% refund on their cruise fare and a 50% off future 2-7 night cruise certificate.
Carnival Sunshine will now sail an eight night cruise to the Eastern Caribbean with stops in San Juan, St. Thomas, and Grand Turk. The ship was originally scheduled to sail to Bermuda. Passengers will receive a 25% discount off of a future 2-8 night cruise and will receive a refund of the port charges/taxes for Bermuda.
John Heald has reported that there is no major damage to Half Moon Cay in the Bahamas. However, there is some minor beach erosion and some landscape has been impacted from the storm.
Princess Cruises has made just one change so far. The Royal Princess, currently on a 10 night cruise to the Caribbean, stayed at sea bypassing a stop at the cruise line’s private island, Princess Cays.
Norwegian Cruise Line has changed the itinerary for Norwegian Getaway. The ship will not be stopping in Nassau, Bahamas and will stay at sea. Norwegian Sky will have a sea day instead of calling on the cruise line’s private island, Great Stirrup Cay.
Royal Caribbean’s Enchantment of the Seas sailed to Freeport, Bahamas, bypassing a stop in Nassau. The cruise line said the change was an effort for the ship to find the calmest seas possible. Liberty of the Seas will no longer be sailing to Bermuda but will now head to Canada to stay away from the storm.
Cruise lines are monitoring the storm and will make any changes necessary to keep the passengers and crew members out of harm’s way.
It is extremely rare that cruise lines will cancel a cruise due to a hurricane or tropical storm. Cruise ships are mobile, they can sail away from storms. Cruise lines will rearrange itineraries to keep the passengers and crew members safe. This might mean sailing to the Western Caribbean instead of the planned stops in the Eastern Caribbean.
If you are booked on a cruise during a storm, the worst that will happen is that your itinerary will get altered. No need to worry or fret over the storm at this point. An altered cruise itinerary beats any day at work.
For more information on what happens when there is a cruise during hurricane season, you can read our article “What Happens When There is a Hurricane During my Cruise Dates“.