We have been watching the cruise industry for nearly twenty years now, taking note of common parts of the experience regardless of the cruise line. Regardless of whether your beverage is served in a can or crystal glass, on deck by a friendly crew member in shorts or en suite by a butler it won’t be happening if your cruise is cancelled. At that point, what we paid is irrelevant. Whatever we were looking forward to in the culinary department goes bad. The dreams we anticipated becoming reality are sunk. Such was the unusual effect of Hurricane Irma, squashing the travel plans of thousands and urging new caution when sailing during hurricane season.
Shall I Cancel My Cruise During Hurricane Season?
First to know, not a lot has really changed. Historically, the period from June to November which happens to be hurricane season is also a time when it is convenient for families to travel. That’s what fills up summer sailings and causes staterooms that hold three or four travelers to be at a premium. In the Fall as we might think hurricane season is winding down, it is actually pumping up and when most hurricanes actually happen. That increased hurricane frequency in September, October and November also comes with lower prices because of it.
Maybe Sail From Somewhere Other Than Florida
Hurricane Irma passed over Florida, where many cruise ships begin their itineraries, causing ports to close, flights to be cancelled and travel plans to be wrecked. An initial thought might be “so sail from somewhere else?”. Not really a good cure for hurricane season as we see in this textbook season. A matter of days before Florida experienced Irma which shut down embarkation ports in Miami, Fort Lauderdale and Tampa, another hurricane wreaked havoc on Texas and one of the busiest cruise ports in North America.
Boy Am I Glad I Had Travel Insurance
Those scheduled to sail during recent hurricane events who bought travel protection that covers travel disruptions. Like lost luggage coverage, the travel disruption part of travel protection is usually one on a list of additional features that are included in the price. The star of the show is the cancellation benefit (should you cancel for a covered reason) and the medical coverage (should something happen to you outside of the U.S. healthcare system). This year, travel disruption coverage which usually does not get a lot of attention, was the most used of all included policy features.
So My Stateroom Location Did Nothing For Me
If the ship does not sail because of a hurricane, it does not matter where your stateroom is located. You won’t be in it. True: the exact center of the ship has the best ride in rough seas. Also True: Avoiding rough seas has become as much of a priority as avoiding rough air is on airlines. Case in point: The ships that did not sail this week. Does this mean to consider hurricanes when selecting a stateroom? No, that would be silly. Still, we might think twice about which sailing date if we had a crystal ball and could predict when hurricanes will hit.
Your Crystal Ball For When Hurricanes Will Hit
I suppose there are probably some travelers who were involved with the decision on when to sail who are saying “I told you so” right now. During the planning process, their choice was some week other than when hurricanes hit. But before those people go patting themselves on the back for making the right call, consider the reality of the situation: they got lucky. Personally, I have never been scheduled to sail then the sailing was cancelled. I had a close call though.
Preparing to travel with Viking River Cruises we were advised that the ship might not sail due to low water levels on the Elbe river in eastern Germany. In that case, we had a choice: go and experience a modified itinerary or cancel and receive a full refund. We went, never sailed an inch, and enjoyed that particular sailing more than just about any other river cruise.
Obviously, there is no crystal ball somewhere that will tell us which sailings to or not to book during hurricane season. Still, we can make the best of a bad situation if prepared for whatever might come our way. But then that’s a solid secret of enjoying travel of any kind at any time of the year too.
Chris Owen shares frank, inside information about cruise vacations on ChrisCruises.com
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