Extreme weather damages Royal Caribbean's Freedom of the Seas


Royal Caribbean is reporting damage to its Freedom of the Seas cruise ship after the ship encountered, "extreme wind and sea conditions, well beyond what was forecasted."

The damage occurred as Freedom of the Seas left Port Canaveral on Sunday and did report some injuries as well as damage to the ship.

In a statement by Royal Caribbean, the company described the results of the incident, "At this time there have not been any serious injuries reported. The ship has sustained some damage to the public areas and guest staterooms, which in no way affect the sea-worthiness of the ship."

The damage is not enough to alter Freedom's itinerary.  It is expected to continue on its course to the Eastern Caribbean this week.

Royal Caribbean cancels stops to CocoCay private island through Monday


Royal Caribbean has been forced to cancel stops to its private island in the Bahamas, CocoCay, through Monday due to the effect Hurricane Irene had on it.  Royal Caribbean's reasoning for cancelling is being described as, "we feel our guest's experience ashore would be disrupted".

The following stops have been canceled

  • Majesty of the Seas - August 27
  • Monarch of the Seas -  August 28
  • Freedom of the Seas - August 29

As a result of this itinerary change, Royal Caribbean has decided to amend the following itineraries as follows

  • Monarch of the Seas will now stay overnight in Nassau, Bahamas, arriving at 12:00 p.m. today and departing at 11:00 a.m. on Sunday, August 28.
  • Majesty of the Seas will also stay overnight in Nassau, Bahamas, arriving at 12:00 p.m. today and departing at 5:00 pm. on Sunday, August 28.
  • Freedom of the Seas will call on Nassau, Bahamas, on Monday, August 29 from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

No word at this time if any further cancelations will be necessary.  Royal Caribbean reported sending a team yesterday to evaluate the damage to the island.

Hurricane Irene damages Royal Caribbean's private island CocoCay


Royal Caribbean's private island of CocoCay in the Bahamas appears to have been damaged to some extent by Hurricane Irene as it passed by.  

Royal Caribbean spokeswoman Cynthia Martinez said in an email, "We have a Miami-based team heading to CocoCay as we speak. Once they arrive, we'll have a better idea of the damage."

It is unknown at this time when Royal Caribbean ships can return to the island.

Royal Caribbean's Explorer of the Seas will depart one hour early due to Hurricane Irene


Royal Caribbean announced that Explorer of the Seas will depart Cape Liberty, Bayonne, NJ earlier than expected this weekend.  The Saturday, August 27 sailing will depart at 4pm EST, one hour earlier than originally scheduled.

All guests are asked to arrive at the pier no later than 3:00pm EST.

The change is due to the impending arrival of hurricane Irene and Royal Caribbean wants to get the ship out of the path of the storm.  No other changes have been announced but Royal Caribbean is monitoring the situation.

Hurricane Irene changes itinerary for Monarch & Majesty of the Seas


Hurricane Irene has altered the itinerary of two more Royal Caribbean ships.

Royal Caribbean's Monarch of the Seas will skip Cococay on Tuesday, its private island in the Bahamas.  Instead, the ship will spend an extra day at sea.

Majesty of the Seas will also skip her scheduled sotp at CocoCay on Wednesday and go directly to Key West instead.  Majesty should arrive at Key West at 4pm on Wednesday and stay there overnight until 6pm on Thursday.

These two changes are in addition to four other Royal Caribbean ships that had their itineraries altered already inlcuding Oasis of the Seas, Allure of the Seas, Freedom of the Seas and Serenade of the Seas.

In addition, Hurricane Irene has caused Royal Caribbean to secure and evacuate Cocacay.

Royal Caribbean's Serenade of the Seas leaves San Juan early and strands passengers


Due to fear of Hurricane Irene impacting Serenade of the Seas, Royal Caribbean decided to leave San Juan, Puerto Rico earlier than the scheduled 8:30pm time.  The earlier departure time may have gotten the ship out of the path of the storm, but it stranded some Royal Caribbean passengers in San Juan after they claim they weren't made aware of the schedule change.

Passenger Nicole Washington of Baltimore, MD arrived at the docks Sunday shortly after 5, she found the gates locked and the ship gone.

“There was nobody there,” she said. “Everybody was gone and there was nobody there to tell me where the ship was.”

In a statement, Royal Caribbean spokesperson Cynthia Martinez explained the change, "On Sunday, due to the projected path of Hurricane Irene, and the weather forecast to reach San Juan, Puerto Rico that evening, authorities at the Port of San Juan limited traffic in and out of the port.  As a result, Serenade of the Seas was required to depart earlier than our originally scheduled time of 8:30 p.m.”

Washington did admit that she never checked into the cruise so according to Royal Caribbean, the line had no idea she was even in San Juan.

Martinez went on to say, “There was no way to notify our guests of this change in departure time. We apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused our guests, but this decision was made by the Port of San Juan to ensure the safe transit of all guests and crew through the port.”

Hurricane Irene projected path veering east


Hurricane Irene is becoming the big story of the 2011 hurricane seas thus far and its projected path is veering east of where meteorologists originally had thought it could go, which is great news for those going on a cruise out of Florida.

While these projections are nothing more than educated guesses, they do give us an idea of the most likely path and the new path has Hurricane Irene moving east of Florida instead of the state taking a more direct hit, as was predicted earlier in the week.  For those embarking on cruises, this means the impact the storm will have on their cruises could be less than previously hinted at.

Royal Caribbean isn't taking any chances and has already altered the itineraries of four of its ships.  Oasis of the Seas, Allure of the Seas, Serenade of the Seas and Freedom of the Seas all are changing up the order in which they will be making their port calls to hopefully avoid the path of the storm.

The bad news is Irene has gone from being likely a Category 2 storm to possibly increasing to a Category 4 before belting Florida and North and South Carolina at the weekend.

It's important to note that the projected path doesn't mean Florida is "out of the woods" yet, but the further east Irene goes, the better it is for those looking forward to a Royal Caribbean cruise this weekend.

Tropical Storm Irene Alters Royal Caribbean itineraries


Tropical Storm Irene has caused Royal Caribbean to change a few cruise itineraries.  Oasis of the Seas will reverse its itinerary and now visit Cozumel first on Monday, Tuesday is a sea day, stop at Falmouth, Jamaica on Wednesday, stop at Labadee on Thursday, sea day again on Friday and return to Fort Lauderdale on Saturday

Freedom of the Seas will also reverse its itinerary and left port today to go to Cozumel first on Tuesday, followed by Grand Cayman on Wednesday, Falmouth on Thursday and Labadee on Friday.

Allure of the Seas will now stop at Nassau, Bahamas on Saturday instead of Monday. The rest of her scheduled stops at St. Thomas (Wednesday) and St. Maarten (Thursday) will take place as planned.

Finally, Serenade of the Seas will have its cruise order changed as well. It left from San Juan, Puerto Rico today and will  visit Aruba on Tuesday, Curacao on Wednesday, St. Kitts  on Friday and St. Thomas on Saturday.

Royal Caribbean's Explorer of the Seas delayed by Tropical Storm Gert


Tropical Storm Gert formed in the Atlantic last week and has caused a delay for Royal Caribbean's Explorer of the Seas.

A Royal Caribbean representative indicated that Explorer of the Seas was scheduled to dock at King's Wharf, Bermuda at 9am today but its arrival was delayed due to the storm.  Royal Caribbean is still expecting Explorer of the Seas to arrive in Bermuda later on today.

Royal Caribbean issues Tropical Storm Emily update


Royal Caribbean posted an update at 10am today updating further itinerary changes due to Tropical Storm Emily.  As of now, there are no further changes for cruises this weekend beyond what has already been announced.  

Royal Caribbean International continues to closely monitor the path and progress of Tropical Storm Emily to ensure guests enjoy safe and comfortable cruises, and to make certain our ships steer clear of the storm. The safety of our guests and crew is always our foremost concern. 

Given Tropical Storm Emily's current location and projected path, Royal Caribbean has not altered the itineraries of any ship that departs today, tomorrow, Saturday or Sunday. Royal Caribbean will continue to closely monitor weather conditions and will update this information again today, August 4, at 7:00 p.m. E.S.T.

Royal Caribbean will issue another update at 7pm tonight.