Hurricane Matthew causes chaos for Caribbean cruise itineraries

The Category 4 hurricane currently battering its way through the Caribbean has caused mass disruption to cruise itineraries in the region, according to reports from cruise lines operating from the US’ Gulf coast.

Five cruise lines have been forced to cancel port calls and sailings due to the storm system, which made landfall in Jamaica yesterday, causing extensive damage to the island nation.

Royal Caribbean, Carnival, Princess Cruises and Disney have all confirmed that cruise ships in the Caribbean have been redirected out of the storms’ path. Some fourteen cruise ships have been affected, with several more expected to announce cancellations of port calls in the coming days.

Royal Caribbean’s Allure of the Seas, Adventure of the Seas, Enchantment of the Seas, Freedom of the Seas, Majesty of the Seas have been affected, as have Carnival’s Carnival Splendor, Carnival Sensation, Carnival Ecstasy, Carnival Pride, Carnival Victory, and Carnival Elation.

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Princess Cruises has confirmed that Island Princess has had to cancel a port call, while Norwegian Cruise Line’s Norwegian Sky and Disney’s cruise ship Disney Dream have also been sent away from the area.

Matthew has maximum sustained wind speeds of 140 mph. It briefly strengthened to a category 5 late Friday and is expected to remain a powerful hurricane through Monday and Tuesday.

According to the National Hurricane Center, life-threatening swells caused by Hurricane Matthew could affect portions of the coasts of Puerto Rico, Hispaniola, Jamaica, Aruba, Bonaire, Curacao, Venezuela, Colombia and eastern Cuba during the next few days.

Itinerary changes according to Cruise Critic:

Carnival Sensation: On the October 1 departure, the ship will no longer call at Half Moon Cay and Grand Turk and instead it will visit Mexico’s Costa Maya on Monday, October 3, and Cozumel on Tuesday, October 4.

Carnival Splendor: On the October 2 cruise, the order of ports has been reversed. After departing Miami on Sunday, the ship will spend Monday at sea, before calling at Cozumel on Tuesday, Grand Cayman on Wednesday, Ocho Rios on Thursday, and then have a day at sea on Friday, returning to Miami at 7 a.m. Saturday.

Carnival Ecstasy: The ship, which is scheduled to depart Sunday from Charleston, South Carolina, canceled calls to Half Moon Cay, Nassau and Freeport, replacing them with one stop to Cozumel and days at sea. The ship will sail one hour early to keep ahead of the storm. Passengers on this sailing will receive 25 percent future cruise discounts and $50 credits to be used onboard. Passengers also have the option of canceling the cruise and receiving full discounts.

Carnival Pride: Originally scheduled to visit the Caribbean, Carnival Pride instead will head north from its Baltimore departure port October 2, visiting New York and Saint John, New Brunswick. Passengers on this sailing also will receive a 25 percent future cruise discount as well as $100 credits to be used onboard. Passengers who elect not to sail on the modified itinerary can cancel and receive a full refund.

Carnival Victory: While the ship will visit the originally scheduled ports, the itinerary order has changed to avoid the storm. Victory, which is scheduled to leave Port Canaveral on Sunday for a Bahamas cruise, now will visit Nassau on Monday and Freeport on Tuesday.

Carnival Elation: Elation will leave from Jacksonville on October 3, as scheduled, but it will visit Key West on October 5 instead of Half Moon Cay, and it will skip Nassau on October 6. Passengers will visit Freeport on October 7, originally scheduled as a sea day.

All other Carnival sailings departing on or after October 2 are expected to operate as scheduled.

Island Princess has canceled its October 5 call to Aruba; it will now visit Grand Cayman on October 4.

Enchantment of the Seas: Both ports in the Bahamas have been canceled on the October 3 cruise and the ship will now go to Cozumel. The revised itinerary is for departure from Miami at 4 p.m. followed by a day at sea, arriving at Cozumel at 8 a.m. on Wednesday, October 5, until 2 p.m. The next port of call is Key West on Thursday, October 6 from 1.15 p.m. to 7 p.m. before returning to Miami on October 7 at 7 a.m.

Allure of the Seas: The ship will be able to visit its original ports of call on its October 2 cruise; however, call dates and times have been modified. The ship will depart Port Everglades at 4:30 p.m and spend the next day at sea, calling at Cozumel on October 4 from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. October 5 is at sea followed by Falmouth on October 6 from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. On October 7, Allure will arrive at Labadee at 9:30 a.m. and leave at 6 p.m. October 8 is at sea, arriving back to Florida at 6:15 a.m.

Freedom of the Seas: To avoid Hurricane Matthew, the ship will visit San Juan, Puerto Rico, on Tuesday instead of CocoCay, the originally scheduled call.

Majesty of the Seas: The ship will leave as scheduled October 3 but will stop at Key West on October 5 instead of Nassau, the originally scheduled port of call.

Norwegian Sky: The ship will leave Miami as schedule October 3, but it will visit Key West on October 4 (rather than Freeport) and Cozumel (instead of Nassau).

Disney Dream: Scheduled to leave Port Canaveral on October 3, Disney Dream will skip its scheduled call at Nassau on October 4, substituting a day at sea. The ship will visit Cozumel on October 4 rather than Castaway Cay, its originally scheduled port stop.

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