Cruise TipsWhat Happens if There Is a Hurricane During My Cruise Dates?

What Happens if There Is a Hurricane During My Cruise Dates?

Hurricane season is officially from June 1 through November 30 each year. During those times, hurricanes and tropical storms will sometimes change the itineraries for cruise ships in the Caribbean and the Bahamas.  

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cruiseshipstorm
Carnival Ecstasy during Hurricane Rita in 2005

The NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) has predicted an above normal hurricane season for 2024. They are predicting an 85% chance of an above normal season, 10% chance of a normal season, and 5% chance of a below normal hurricane season.

They are forecasting between 17 to 25 named storms with eight through 13 of them becoming hurricanes. Of these eight to 13 hurricanes, they predict four to seven will develop into major hurricanes.

Image credit: NOAA

So what happens if there is a hurricane or tropical storm during the same dates as your cruise?

First you need to know that cruise lines do everything in their power to make sure the “cruise goes on”.   Only in rare cases will the cruise actually be cancelled by the cruise line.  These ships can travel at speeds over 21 knots so they can usually outrun any hurricanes or tropical depressions and just go around any inclement weather.

You may face some choppy seas

The seas can be rough for anyone who gets sea sick easily, so make sure you carry some Dramamine with you.  The bigger ships will not rock as much, but when you are really close to a big storm you will feel movement.  This should not last long though, as the captain will try to get as far away from the storm as quickly as possible.

The seas will not always be rough when you are sailing around a hurricane, however, and it’s definitely not as bad as maybe you have seen in the movies.

If the weather gets too rough the shows will be cancelled, though, and the pools will be emptied.  It’s definitely an adventure cruising in choppy seas, but if you can just hold on you might even get an extra couple days out of your trip.

Your itinerary could change

If the hurricane is going to hit one of the ports you were going to be visiting, there may be a change in plans.  It is best just to have a good attitude about the situation since you really can’t do anything about it anyway.  You might visit a different port or even stay at a port for an extra day while the weather clears.

Do I get a refund?

With most cruise lines, you will likely only get a full refund if the entire cruise is cancelled.  This is a very rare thing because cruise lines do everything they can to keep out of harm’s way and sail around storms.

However, if you booked a 7 day cruise and there is a hurricane coming in during that same time you might get your trip shortened by a couple days (cruise lines will usually refund the amount of days that were canceled). 

At the same time, the people that are on the ship when a storm is coming in might get an extra 2 days on the ship (and they usually only have to pay for 2 days worth of tips).

Be prepared with travel insurance

A hurricane might not affect your trip at all or it might make your cruise miserable.  If you do lose a couple days of your vacation or have your flight cancelled because of the weather and therefore can’t make your cruise you will want to have travel insurance to be compensated.

With cruise travel insurance you can be reimbursed in case the weather or any other unforeseen event messes up your high seas getaway.  You can check out Travel Guard to see everything that is covered with your cruise.

Note: This article was updated on June 1, 2024.

hurricane during cruise dayes

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J. Souza
J. Souza
Jon is the co-founder of Cruise Fever and has been on 50+ cruises since his first in 2009. As an editor, 15-year writer on the cruise industry, and avid cruise enthusiast he has sailed with at least 10 cruise lines and is always looking for a great cruise deal. Jon lives in North Carolina and can be reached at [email protected].
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