|Carnival Ecstasy departed October 10 instead of October 8 this week.|
Hurricane Matthew has moved away from the Atlantic coast, allowing recovery efforts to begin, although some cruise lines have still had to modify itineraries in the wake of the storm.
According to CBS News the storm killed hundreds of people in Haiti and at least 19 in the U.S., nine in North Carolina. Flooding is expected to persist over the next several days in the southeast as waters from the storm, which dumped more than a foot of rain in some places, move downstream.
The Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention & Visitors Bureau reports that the destination was “largely unaffected” by Hurricane Matthew and is no longer under a hurricane or tropical storm threat in a statement provided to Travel Agent. The storm tended more northward, resulting in minimal impact for the destination. All tourism and travel-related services have resumed normal operations.
Port Canaveral reopened to cruise ships as of October 8, Florida Today reports. According to The Miami Herald, PortMiami, Miami International Airport, Florida Keys Marathon International Airport and Fort Lauderdale Hollywood International Airport have all reopened.
Cruise Itinerary Changes
Cruise lines have been forced to alter several additional itineraries following the storm. Carnival Cruise Line reports that its October 8 departure of Carnival Ecstasy is now an October 10 departure.
“Given the shortened duration, guests who sail with us will be given a two-day pro-rated refund of your cruise fare and any pre-purchased shore excursions for cancelled ports processed within 3 weeks to the original form of payment,” Carnival said in a statement provided to Travel Agent. “Gratuities will be adjusted to reflect the shorter cruise. Additionally, we will be posting a 100.00 USD per person credit to your onboard Sail & Sign account for your enjoyment. We would also like to invite you on another 2-7 day Carnival cruise where we will gladly apply a 50% cruise discount to your next reservation.”
Guests who wish to cancel may do so with a full refund, which includes the cruise fare, pre-paid gratuities, shore excursions and FunShop purchases. Refunds will be applied to the original form of payment within three weeks.
Royal Caribbean International cancelled Majesty of the Seas’ October 8 sailing. Guests will have the option to receive a full refund of the cruise fare paid or future cruise credit in the amount of 150 percent of the cruise fare paid, the line said. Guests who do not contact Royal Caribbean by October 13 will automatically receive the refund. The refund will be automatically processed back to the original form of payment, which may take up to two weeks.
Empress of the Seas and Enchantment of the Seas departed Miami the evening of October 7 on modified itineraries. Freedom of the Seas, Oasis of the Seas and Allure of the Seas all set sail over the weekend with departure times delayed by a few hours.
Norwegian Cruise Line had Norwegian Breakaway remain alongside in New York Sunday evening to allow Matthew to move further away from the coast. That ship’s itinerary will be adjusted to call in Port Canaveral on Wednesday from 12 pm until 9 pm and in Nassau on Thursday, from 3 pm until 9 pm.
Norwegian Cruise Line will offer every stateroom a $200 onboard credit.
United Airlines Offers Customers 5 Million Miles for Supporting Hurricane Relief
To support relief efforts, United Airlines is partnering with the American Red Cross, Americares, Airlink and OperationUSA to provide up to five million bonus miles to MileagePlus customers who donate to these organizations through the online donations platform, CrowdRise. Additionally, United will give up to a total of $100,000 to match donations to these organizations.
"The thoughts of our entire United family are with the families and individuals affected by this devastating storm," Brett Hart, United's executive vice president and general counsel, said in a statement announcing the offer. "Our customers and employees have shown their generosity and eagerness to help time and time again in disasters such as Hurricane Matthew. It is our hope that partnering with these organizations will help provide relief to those who need it most."
MileagePlus customers who give to the American Red Cross, Americares, Airlink and OperationUSA can receive up to 1,000 bonus miles by entering their MileagePlus number at the time of their donation. United will award members miles based on the size of their donation:
- Donate $50-$99 – Earn 250 bonus miles
- Donate $100-$249 – Earn 500 bonus miles
- Donate $250 or more – Earn 1,000 bonus miles
Miles will be awarded to customers on a first-come, first-served basis based on contributions made through the airline's fundraising page through October 21.
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