Cruise ships are beginning to return to Florida following Hurricane Irma, which hit the state twice over the weekend as a powerful storm in the Florida Keys and on Marco Island.
Carnival Cruise Line brand ambassador John Heald reports that PortMiami has reopened, and that Carnival Glory, Carnival Vista and Carnival Victory were set to dock Tuesday evening. Due to berth limitations in PortMiami, Carnival Sensation will dock in Port Everglades Wednesday instead of in Miami. Carnival Sensation guests can take complimentary motor coaches either to PortMiami for vehicle pick up, or to Miami and Fort Lauderdale airports. Carnival Sensation will then sail to PortMiami Wednesday afternoon to embark guests sailing on the next cruise, docking at approximately 5 p.m.
In all, four ships were scheduled to return to Port Everglades late Tuesday into Wednesday, according to the Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention & Visitors Bureau.
Port Canaveral reports that it has also resumed normal operations. Starting Tuesday afternoon, the port began to receive critical fuel supplies, as well as cruise ships that were diverted from the port prior to the arrival of the hurricane. The port is continuing its damage assessment, which thus far seems to be mostly cosmetic, as well as significant debris that need to be removed.
Port Tampa Bay reopened at 2 p.m. Tuesday, and is set to receive 10 fuel ships over the next 48 hours. Carnival Paradise is also scheduled to arrive at the port within the next two days, and Royal Caribbean’s Empress of the Seas is scheduled to arrive Monday instead of Thursday.
Carnival Cruise Changes
Carnival Cruise Line has cancelled the following itineraries due to the storm:
- Carnival Liberty – September 7
- Carnival Victory – September 8
- Carnival Splendor – September 9
- Carnival Ecstasy – September 9
- Carnival Liberty – September 10
- Carnival Paradise – September 11
- Carnival Victory – September 11
Guests on all canceled cruises will receive a full refund automatically, including Fly2Fun reservations, pre-purchased shore excursions, Fun Shop purchases and beverage packages.
Additionally, Carnival Vista’s September 9 cruise will now depart Miami September 13 on a four-day itinerary to Cozumel. Carnival Glory’s September 9 cruise will now depart Miami on September 13 on a three-day cruise to Freeport and Nassau. Guests on both cruises should adhere to their pre-selected arrival appointment, and all guests must arrive no later than 3:00 p.m. Carnival Sensation’s September 11 cruise will now depart Miami September 13 on a three-day cruise to Nassau. Check-in times are between 4:30 p.m. and 6:00 p.m.
Carnival Magic’s September 9 cruise will now depart Port Canaveral September 13 on a three-day cruise to Freeport and Nassau. All guests must arrive no later than 3:00 p.m.
Guests who sail on shortened cruises will receive a pro-rated refund of their cruise fare, as well as a pro-rated adjustment of any pre-purchased beverage packages. The line will also refund any pre-purchased shore excursions to guests’ onboard Sail & Sign account, and gratuities will be adjusted to reflect the shortened duration. Alternatively, guests can cancel and receive a future cruise credit automatically.
Guests on the following sailings, who were unable to travel will automatically receive future cruise credits:
- Carnival Paradise – September 7
- Carnival Sensation – September 7
- Carnival Fascination – September 10
Guests can sign up for text alerts by texting the following codes to CRUISE (278473):
- Carnival Conquest – CCL2
- Carnival Glory – CCL3
- Carnival Magic – CCL4
- Carnival Vista – CCL6
- Carnival Sensation 9/11 – CCL10
Royal Caribbean Cruise Changes
Royal Caribbean is dispatching ships to provide humanitarian assistance to St. Thomas and St. Maarten, and the line says it stands ready to assist in Key West and other locations as well.
The cruise line has canceled Enchantment of the Seas’ September 11 Bahamas cruise due to the continued closure of the port, as well as the uncertainty of when normal operations will resume. Empress of the Seas’ September 13 Cuba cruise and Majesty of the Seas’ September 15 Bahamas cruise are also canceled so those ships can provide humanitarian assistance in the Caribbean.
Guests on canceled sailings will receive a full refund, as well as a 25 percent future cruise credit on bookings made within the next 30 days.
Allure of the Seas’ September 10 western Caribbean cruise will now depart September 13 on a four-night itinerary with an overnight in Nassau, the Bahamas. Oasis of the Seas’ September 10 eastern Caribbean cruise will now depart September 13 on a four-night itinerary to Cozumel, Mexico.
Guests who choose to sail on these modified itineraries will receive a 50 percent refund in the form of a refundable on board credit, plus an additional 50 percent future cruise credit on bookings made within the next year. Guests who wish to cancel will receive a 100 percent future cruise credit on bookings made within the next year. Pre-booked shore excursions will be refunded to the original form of payment, and guests will be able to book new excursions once onboard.
Given Hurricane Irma's impact on St. Maarten, St. Thomas and Key West, the cruise line will be working on alternative ports for future sailings until these islands have fully recovered, Royal Caribbean said.
MSC Cruises Itinerary Updates
On its official Twitter account, MSC Cruises reports that the MSC Divina will dock in Miami as soon as it is cleared by port authorities. Guests who still need to book travel arrangements to return home will be able to stay onboard until they do so through September 16.
On September 16, MSC Divina will sail a modified itinerary calling at Montego Bay, Georgetown, Costa Maya and Nassau. On September 23, the ship will sail another west Caribbean itinerary, calling at Ocho Rios, Jamaica; Georgetown; Cozumel, Mexico; and Nassau.
For eastern Caribbean cruises after September 30, MSC Cruises said that it is working on alternatives and expects to make an announcement shortly.
Norwegian Cruise Line Cruise Updates
As Norwegian Cruise Line reported yesterday, Norwegian Escape was scheduled to arrive in Miami Wednesday morning.
The ship is sailing at close to full capacity with displaced guests from both Norwegian Sky and Norwegian Escape that were unable to secure flight back home when the ships returned early to Miami on September 7 ahead of the arrival of Hurricane Irma. Norwegian Escape then spent three days alongside in Cozumel, Mexico, before departing September 11 at 5 p.m.
Due to the impact on the Caribbean from Hurricane Irma, all of Norwegian Escape’s upcoming eastern Caribbean sailings until November will be altered to a western Caribbean itinerary, the cruise line said.
Additionally, Norwegian Sky has been deployed to St. Thomas in the U.S. Virgin Islands to assist in a humanitarian effort that is being organized by the government. Affected U.S. citizens in St. Thomas can email their name, gender and last known location to the State Department at IrmaEmergencyUSC@state.gov.
According to the line’s latest itinerary update, Norwegian Sky will depart as scheduled on Friday, September 15. Norwegian Escape will depart as scheduled for a seven-day western Caribbean cruise on Saturday, September 16.
Norwegian Cruise Line’s Miami headquarters, which was closed during the hurricane, is still set to reopen Wednesday.