Florence to Become Major Hurricane: Cruise, Flight Updates

Hurricane Florence is expected to become a major hurricane “soon,” and cruise lines and airlines are preparing for the storm’s impact.

According to the latest forecast from the National Hurricane Center, Hurricane Florence is currently a category 2 hurricane with maximum sustained winds of 105 mph. The storm, which is approximately 625 miles southeast of Bermuda, is expected to strengthen rapidly, becoming a major hurricane as of Monday morning, and it is expected to remain an extremely dangerous major hurricane through Thursday.

The center of the storm is expected to move over the southwestern Atlantic Ocean between Bermuda and the Bahamas Tuesday and Wednesday, approaching the southeastern coast of the United States on Thursday. While no hurricane watches or warnings are currently in effect, the National Hurricane Center is warning that the storm could cause life-threatening surf and rip current conditions in Bermuda and portions of the eastern coast of the United States.

Cruise Itinerary Changes

The storm has forced a number of cruise lines to modify their itineraries.

Carnival Cruise Line has revised the itineraries for both the Carnival Pride and the Carnival Horizon. On Carnival Pride’s September 9 sailing out of Baltimore, instead of stopping at Bermuda September 12 – 14, the ship will call at Grand Turk, Half Moon Cay and Freeport, the Bahamas. Carnival Horizon, which is on an eight-day sailing out of New York that departed September 5, cancelled Sunday’s planned call in San Juan, and it will move Monday’s planned call at Amber Cove to Tuesday. The ship will return to New York as planned September 13.

While not related to Hurricane Florence, Carnival has also modified today’s eight-day Caribbean sailing on Carnival Vista out of Miami. To avoid Tropical Depression Nine, the ship will sail a reversed itinerary, calling on St. Maarten, St. Kitts, San Juan and Amber Cove before returning to Miami September 16.

Royal Caribbean reports that it has modified Grandeur of the Seas’ September 8 sailing, replacing its planned call in Bermuda with a call in Nassau, the Bahamas.

Norwegian Cruise Line has modified upcoming itineraries for both the Norwegian Escape and the Norwegian Dawn. On Norwegian Escape’s September 9 itinerary out of New York City, the ship will call in Port Canaveral, Florida, and Great Stirrup Cay and Nassau in the Bahamas to avoid the storm’s path, instead of calling in Bermuda as planned. On Norwegian Dawn’s September 7 itinerary out of Boston, the ship will call in Halifax and Sydney, Nova Scotia; St. John, New Brunswick; and Bar Harbor, Maine, instead of calling in Bermuda.

A spokesperson for Oceania Cruises reports that the luxury line has modified Sirena's September 7 itinerary to bypass the ship's Bermuda call, which had been scheduled for September 12 and 13. Instead, the ship will call at Nassau on September 15, before returning to Miami the next day.

Air Travel Updates

In air travel news, Southwest Airlines has issued a change waiver due to Hurricane Florence. Customers set to fly through Charleston, Charlotte, Greenville / Spartanburg, Raleigh – Durham, Richmond or Norfolk September 12 – 16 can rebook in the original class of service or travel standby within 14 days of their original date of travel between the original city pair.

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