With Hurricane Maria making landfall in the Caribbean throughout the week, Travel Agent breaks down the latest island-by-island damage assessment reports we have so far and tells you where the storm is heading to next.
The storm has strengthened into a category 3 hurricane with maximum sustained winds of 125 mph, and is set to move near or just east of Turks and Caicos and the southeastern Bahamas Friday, according to the latest update from the National Hurricane Center.
Keep visiting this story as we will continue to update it with the most current information throughout the duration of the storm.
According to Express, up to eight inches of rain is expected to drench Anguilla when Maria hits, with the National Hurricane Center warning “rainfall on these islands could cause life-threatening flash floods and mudslides.”
According to the Associated Press, Hurricane Maria spared the Caribbean island of Antigua. Barbuda, however, is still reeling from Hurricane Irma with USA Today reporting that, for the first time in 300 years, there is "not a single living person on the island of Barbuda."
As of Friday morning, a hurricane warning remained in effect for the southeastern Bahamas, according to the National Hurricane Center. A tropical storm warning has also been issued for the central Bahamas. Swells generated by Maria are affecting the Leeward Islands, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands. These swells will begin affecting the northern coast of Hispaniola, the Turks and Caicos and the southeastern Bahamas during the next day or two, according to the National Hurricane Center.
The Wyndham Grand Rio Mar Puerto Rico Golf & Beach Resort reports that it is currently assessing the storm's impact on the property. There have been no reports of injuries on-property, which will remain closed until further notice. The resort is relaxing its cancellation policies so that guests with future reservations can cancel or rebook for a later date without penalty.
British Virgin Islands Governor Augustus Jaspert has given the all clear for the territory after the destination avoided a direct hit from Hurricane Maria, although it did experience high wind and rain. A full assessment is still ongoing.
In statement obtained by the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO), Dominica’s Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit confirmed that seven people have died after Hurricane Maria passed through the country on Monday night through Tuesday.
“It's difficult to determine the level of fatalities,” he said to the CTO on a satellite phone around 4:30 a.m. this morning, “but so far seven are confirmed, as a direct result of the hurricane.”
Skerrit, however, noted he fears that number will rise as he makes his way into the rural communities on Wednesday.
“Tremendous loss of housing and public buildings,” he said. “The main general hospital took a beating. Patient care has been compromised. Many buildings serving as shelters lost roofs, which means that a very urgent need now is tarpaulins and other roofing materials.”
Skerrit said that although little contact has been made with other communities, some people walked 10-15 miles toward the city of Roseau reported destruction of homes, some roadways and crops. Skerrit also stressed the urgent need for helicopters to take food, water and tarpaulins to outer districts for shelter.
“The urgent needs now are roofing materials for shelters, bedding supplies for hundreds stranded in or outside what's left of their homes and food and water drops for residents of outlying districts inaccessible at the moment,” said Skerrit.
The Prime Minister has since posted on his Facebook page that Canefield Airport is open and the largest aircraft that can land is the Twin Otter until 15 minutes after sunset. The waters around the main Roseau port will be calm enough to accommodate vessels bringing relief supplies and other forms of assistance. Skerrit also said the tarmac at Douglas–Charles Airport, formerly known as Melville Hall Airport, was not too badly damaged so the strip should be opened in a day or two for larger relief planes to land.
“The country is in a daze,” he said. “No electricity, no running water, as a result of uprooted pipes in most communities and definitely to landline or cellphone services on island, and that will be for quite a while.
“In summary, the island has been devastated,” Skerrit continued. “The housing stock is significantly damaged or destroyed. All available public buildings are being used as shelters; with very limited roofing materials evident.”
The Dominican Republic Ministry of Tourism (MITUR) reports that tourist destinations are open and running normally following Hurricane Maria and that all airports, ports and land routes are open and operational. These announcements come following the U.S. National Hurricane Center discontinuing hurricane and tropical storm alerts for the country on Friday.
Flight operations resumed at Punta Cana International Airport September 21. Additionally, Eden Roc at Cap Cana reports that the property did not suffer any damage and is resuming regular operations starting September 23.
Karisma Hotels & Resorts reports that Nickelodeon Hotels & Resorts Punta Cana reopened September 23 after temporarily relocating guests during the storm. The resort was able to reopen with only minimal changes to operations. For the first part of this week, guests may find some restaurants closed and select room categories unavailable temporarily.
According to Reuters, two people have been confirmed dead in Guadeloupe.
The Prefecture of Guadeloupe has confirmed that a person was killed Tuesday morning on the French island after being struck by a falling tree, according to the Reuters report. Authorities note that the person did not heed orders to remain indoors, according to the report.
A second death was reported Wednesday by the Associated Press. Two people are also reported missing after a boat sank near La Désirade island, according to Reuters.
A dangerous storm surge accompanied by large and destructive waves will raise water levels by one to three feet along the northern coasts of the Dominican Republic and Haiti, according to the National Hurricane Center.
As was the case with Hurricane Irma, the French island of Martinique did not experience a direct hit by this second powerful storm and was spared after the close encounter with Hurricane Maria, according to the CTO. The government of France discontinued the tropical storm warning for Martinique on Tuesday, according to the National Hurricane Center.
Quoted by Reuters in a press briefing today, Sept. 20, in Paris, Jacques Witkowski, France's head of civil protection and crisis response, said, "In Martinique, reconnaissance operations are still underway, but already we can see that there is no significant damage."
In a written statement, Karine Mousseau, Martinique's tourism commissioner, said the Martinique Aime Cesaire International Airport re-opened Tuesday morning and ports are scheduled to re-open today, Sept. 20.
The news coming out of Puerto Rico since it was ravaged by Hurricane Maria is getting grimmer by the day, with reports of locals now running out of drinkable water and still without power for the foreseeable future.
In fact, San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulin Cruz told CBS News, “People are really dying."
Cruz told CBS News correspondent David Begnaud that two people who were on life support in a hospital died on Monday because the hospital ran out of diesel fuel that was powering its generators.
From a tourism standpoint, however, many hotels are currently open, although not accepting reservations. Many carriers have resumed flights to San Juan, although most are being used for relief efforts.
Travel Agent breaks down the latest hotel damage assessments, as well as other news from Puerto Rico in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria.
International Hospitality Enterprises (IHE), which operates six hotels and resorts in San Juan, Puerto Rico, issued a statement Thursday morning announcing that its hotels “safely withstood Hurricane Maria.”
The six hotels continue to operate with a few changes to daily functions and expect to be fully operational within the next 30 days.
The IHE properties are Hotel El Convento, Condado Vanderbilt, La Concha Hotel, A Renaissance Resort, Doubletree by Hilton San Juan, Courtyard by Marriott Isla Verde Beach Resort and Condado Palm Inn and Suites.
According to the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association (CHTA), Hotel El Convento, Condado Vanderbilt, Hotel Miramar, Hotel Villa Montana, the Coral Princess Inn, Holiday Inn Express San Juan, the Intercontinental San Juan, La Concha Hotel, A Renaissance Resort, San Juan Marriott Resort & Stellaris Casino, The Wave and the Verdanza Hotel are all open but are not taking reservations prior to October 22. The Condado Plaza Hilton is expected to re-open on October 15, according to the CHTA.
According to the CHTA, Hilton Ponce Golf & Casino Resort is open, but not taking new reservations prior to September 30.
Hyatt House San Juan and Hyatt Place Bayamon are both open but are not taking new reservations prior to October 15.
The Hilton Condado Lagoon Villa is open, but is not taking new reservations prior to October 31, according to the CHTA.
Ritz-Carlton Reserve Dorado Beach, El San Juan Resort & Casino and Coral by the Sea are all closed and are not taking new reservations until further notice, according to the CHTA.
In an official statement, Caribe Hilton announced it will not be taking new reservations until October 31.
According to a statement issued by El Conquistador Resort, A Waldorf Astoria Resort, the hotel is “no longer taking new reservations or accepting arrivals through December 15. Guests can rest assured cancellation fees will be waived for reservations from September 19 through these dates. We encourage guests with reservations to contact 1-800-HILTONS for the most up-to-date information."
The Wyndham Grand Rio Mar Puerto Rico Golf & Beach Resort will remain closed through the end of the year, according to a statement issued by the hotel.
“We have relaxed our cancellation policies so guests with future reservations may cancel or rebook for a later date without penalty,” according to the Wyndham statement.
The hotels will continue to take care of guests (travelers and locals) already in-house until they are able to safely return home, according to the release.
“The immediate priority continues to be the rebuilding effort in Puerto Rico. Several of the properties are hosting various federal groups, relief agencies and corporations that are assisting on re-establishing the regular services on the island,” according to the CHTA statement. “Room reservations are temporarily being managed by each property directly to ensure direct communication with our customers.”
Costa Bahia Hotel & Convention Center issued a statement announcing it is open and currently operating with an electric generator and a water tank system.
According to a statement issued by the Hyatt Residence Club Dorado, “We do know that the resort sustained damage, but ask for your patience while we evaluate the extent of the damage. We understand your concerns and assure you our goal is to keep you informed with the latest and most accurate information. We will share details as they become available.”
For a full Puerto Rico status update, including the latest cruise and flight information, click here.
The government of the Netherlands has discontinued the tropical storm warning for Saba, according to the National Hurricane Center.
According to the National Hurricane Center, the government of France has discontinued the tropical storm warning for St. Barts.
St. Kitts tourism officials report that the island escaped major damage from the storm, which passed to the destination’s south on Tuesday.
The new Park Hyatt St. Kitts Christophe Harbour remains on track for its planned November debut. Additionally, all hotels are fully operational, and those properties that do not engage in regular seasonal closures are open. St. Kitts’ Robert L. Bradshaw International Airport (SKB) reopened and began welcoming flights September 20. The Port Zante cruise pier did not sustain damage.
On Nevis, the Montpelier Plantation & Beach received no damage and will reopen October 8. The Nisbet Plantation Beach Club will reopen October 4, and is contacting guests with reservations through October 3 to reschedule.
According to the National Hurricane Center, a tropical storm warning was discontinued for the island on Tuesday. The island’s Cabinet of Ministers met Tuesday morning to discuss the preliminary situation in Dominica following the passage of Hurricane Maria.
Acting Prime Minister and Minister for Equity, Social Justice and Empowerment, Lenard Montoute said in a written statement that plans were already underway to make St. Lucia an operational base for the relief effort to Dominica.
“Saint Lucia will be used as the base for relief efforts into Dominica because, as you can well appreciate, the airports are not operational; neither are the sea ports,” said Montoute.
With Saint Lucia being used as an operational base for the humanitarian effort, the government has agreed in conjunction with the Saint Lucia Air and Sea Port Authority to waive fees and facilitate the use of warehouse facilities for receipt and distribution, according the statement.
Anyone willing to provide assistance are asked to contact the National Emergency Management Organization (NEMO) at 758-452-3802 or email [email protected].
The government of France has discontinued the tropical storm warning for St. Martin, while the government of St. Maarten has discontinued its tropical storm warning and hurricane watch, according to the National Hurricane Center. The St. Maarten airport plans to resume operations following damage sustained during Hurricane Irma October 1.
Gansevoort Turks + Caicos reports that it will reopen October 5 following the storm’s passage. According to hotel officials, the storm did not impact Providenciales, although Grace Bay Beach received an expanded beachfront with the deposit of some new sand. The Turks and Caicos airport has reopened and many island activities and restaurants are expected to resume normal operations by the end of September and early October.
The eye of the Category 5 storm passed south of St. Croix overnight, bringing with it hurricane-force winds, heavy rainfall and flooding. Flights at St. Croix airport are canceled through September 22, with the reopening pending an assessment. Airport operations in St. Thomas are planned to resume September 23.
The islands of St. John, St. Thomas and Water Island, which are still recovering from the impact of Hurricane Irma, endured tropical storm conditions.
Governor Kenneth E. Mapp conducted a flyover assessment of St. Croix, finding that the western and southwestern portion of the island received the greatest damage. The Virgin Islands Port Authority believes the Ann E. Abramson Marine Facility pier in Frederiksted, St. Croix's deep water, cruise ship facility, withstood the barrage of wind and storm surge. The condition of the island's Henry E. Rohlsen Airport is still being assessed, but the runway has been cleared.
The Department of Tourism continues to encourage travellers to postpone trips to the islands at this time as it further evaluates the damage and coordinates evacuation efforts. The destination has also issued a number of hotel updates, which include damage sustained during Hurricane Irma:
Divi Carina Bay Beach Resort & Casino reports that its grounds sustained some damage, and that it is currently assessing its next steps in the recovery process. Its guests and staff are safe, and that the power never went out at the resort during the storm.
Caravelle Hotel & Casino received ground floor flooding and some damage, which is currently being assessed. The hotel is operational, as no rooms were flooded. No online bookings are available at this time, so travelers must call the hotel. The hotel will be accommodating relief workers shortly and will provide an update on when it will be accepting additional guests.
Hotel on the Cay will be accommodating first responders and Air National Guard who are assisting the island's recovery. Guests are asked to check back for reservations beyond the next 30 days.
The Buccaneer reports that it has been spared major damage, and that guests and staff are safe.
Sand Castle On The Beach reports that most of its structures suffered only minor damage and cleanup is underway. The property is not accepting reservations until essential services are restored.
Caneel Bay reports that it will be closed for the remainder of 2017. The property will issue further updates on 2018 as they become available.
Estate Lindholm says that it anticipates November 1 reopening
Westin St. John reports that it had minimal impact from Hurricane Maria, although the property is still cleaning up from Hurricane Irma. As previously reported, Marriott International has advised the resort is closed until further notice. The resort is waiving hotel cancellation and change fees for specific arrival dates. Customers should call 1-800-228-9290 (US) for more information about their reservations. Those in countries outside of the United States seeking information about their reservations should call the Marriott toll-free number in their country.
Point Pleasant Resort reports that its staff is safe but the resort sustained some damage. The resort and a large portion of the island are still without power and water. The resort further suggests that guests cancel all reservations due to arrive through November 15.
Sugar Bay Resort & Spa: As of September 18, the resort is closed and an opening date has not been set.
Windward Passage: As of September 18, the resort is closed until further notice.
Margaritaville Vacation Club: Club Wyndham Reservations says that all four St. Thomas resorts will be closed until October 10, including Margaritaville Vacation Club, Bluebeard's Beach Club, WorldMark St. Thomas and Elysian Beach Resort.
Ritz-Carlton, St. Thomas: Marriott International has advised the resort is closed until further notice. The resort is waiving hotel cancellation and change fees for specific arrival dates. Customers should call 1-800-228-9290 (US) for more information about their reservations. Those in countries outside of the United States seeking information about their reservations should call the Marriott toll-free number in their country.
Frenchman's Reef & Morning Star Marriott Beach Resort: Marriott International has advised the resort is closed until further notice. The resort is waiving hotel cancellation and change fees for specific arrival dates. Customers should call 1-800-228-9290 (US) for more information about their reservations. Those in countries outside of the United States seeking information about their reservations should call the Marriott toll-free number in their country.
Bolongo Bay Beach Resort is currently looking to reopen in the second or third week of December, as the resort is housing people in need and workers trying to help the island.
"We are thankful for life today - let's continue to support each other as we recover from these weather events," said Beverly Nicholson-Doty, Commissioner of Tourism, in a written statement.
For all flight updates, click here and keep visiting www.travelagentcentral.com for more Hurricane Maria updates. Be sure to follow Travel Agent’s Joe Pike on Twitter @TravelPike and Instagram @pike5260