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Hurricane Lee impacting cruise ship itineraries. Here are the changes so far

09 Sep 2023
Matt Hochberg

Lee is a major hurricane and a storm of its magnitude results in cruise ship itinerary changes.

Hurricane as seen from space

The tropical storm went from a category 1 to a category 5 before falling back to a category 3 on Friday night.  After quickly reaching category 5 intensity 36 hours ago, Hurricane Lee has been struggling against wind shear.

Nonetheless, Lee is currently a Category 3 hurricane and larger than it was a few days ago. Lee's hurricane-force winds extend up to 90 miles from its center, with tropical storm-force winds extending for some 205 miles. 

As of early Tuesday afternoon, and it's expected to turn more northward by the middle of this week , with a potential impact to the U.S. Northeast and Atlantic Canada.

Odyssey of the Seas at sea

Lee is already impacting some cruise ship itineraries, with Royal Caribbean announcing course changes.

Royal Caribbean made these changes to ensure an enjoyable and safe experience, "To ensure we have a safe and smooth journey, and to stay well away from Hurricane Lee's path, we've adjusted our itinerary," said the email sent to booked passengers. 

Here's the list of cruise ship changes so far.

Last updated: September 13, 2023

Jewel of the Seas - September 14, 2023 sailing

Jewel of the Seas

Royal Caribbean informed guests booked on Jewel of the Seas that the ship will overnight in Manhattan, New York instead of visiting Halifax, Nova Scotia.

After that, the ship will proceed to Greenland and resume its normal itinerary.

Vision of the Seas - September 14, 2023 sailing

Vision of the Seas sailing away

Vision of the Seas will remain in Baltimore on the 14th and then depart on the afternoon of September 15th.

Guests will need to be onboard the ship on the 14th.

Vision of the Seas - September 9, 2023 sailing

New: Vision of the Seas will return to Baltimore one day earlier, on September 13, with passengers staying aboard until their scheduled disembarkation date of September 14.  

Vision of the Seas is sailing from Baltimore and will depart as scheduled.

Instead of going to Bermuda, Vision will go to Perfect Day at CocoCay on Day 3 and Nassau, Bahamas on Day 4.

Liberty of the Seas - September 7, 2023 sailing

Liberty of the Seas will skip a scheduled visit to New Brunswick, Canada and instead head back to Cape Liberty for an overnight stay before the cruise ends.

Liberty will depart Halifax, Nova Scotia at 3pm on September 13 and head back to Cape Liberty, where the ship should arrive around 11pm on September 14.  She will remain in Cape Liberty until September 16th.

The ship's shops and casinos will remain closed while the ship is in Cape Liberty.

Guests on Liberty will receive compensation because of the skipped port and returning to the ship's homeport earlier than expected.

  • Inside & Oceanview rooms: $75
  • Balcony staterooms: $100
  • Suites: $200
  • $25 for each third and fourth guest

Adventure of the Seas - September 9, 2023 sailing

Adventure of the Seas in Cococay

Royal Caribbean plans for Adventure of the Seas to depart Fort Lauderdale on Saturday as planned.

The ship will now visit Roatan, Honduras on Day 3 and Cozumel, Mexico on Day 4.

Wonder of the Seas - September 10, 2023 sailing

Wonder of the Seas in St Thomas

Royal Caribbean changed Wonder of the Seas to go from an Eastern Caribbean itinerary to the Western Caribbean.

The ship was scheduled to visit Perfect Day at CocoCay, St. Thomas, and St. Maarten.

Instead, the world's largest cruise ship will visit CocoCay on September 11; Cozumel, Mexico on September 13; and Roatán, Honduras on September 14. 

Harmony of the Seas - September 9, 2023 sailing

Harmony of the Seas

Harmony of the Seas is also swapping itineraries.

The September 9th sailing is now going to Roatán, Honduras; Cozumel, Mexico; and Perfect Day at CocoCay. 

Monitoring the hurricane

Craig Setzer at work

Royal Caribbean employs its own full-time meteorologist to help track the path of the storm.

Craig Setzer has been Royal Caribbean's Chief Meteorologist since August and is involved with the National Hurricane Center, teaching at World Meteorological Organization workshops, and presenting at American Meteorological Society conferences around the country.

Guests on ships with revised itineraries were informed by Aurora Yera-Rodriguez, the Assistant Vice President of Guest Experience for Royal Caribbean International, how the company is making these changes: "Along with our Chief Meteorologist and nautical experts, we’re closely monitoring the development of Hurricane Lee and any potential impacts to our itineraries."

The path of Lee

Hurricane Lee forecast

Most weather experts are calling for Lee to make a turn to the north, but it's unclear when that may occur.

Hurricane Lee is about 440 miles east of the northern Leeward Islands with maximum sustained winds of 115 mph, according to the National Hurricane Center.

The hurricane is moving west, northwest at 13 mph, and is forecast to pass to the north of the northern Leeward Islands, the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico over the weekend and into early next week.

According to Mr. Setzer, the uncertainty occurs when & where the turn to the north takes place on Wednesday. A sooner turn, a more likely recurve (out to sea), a later turn/faster motion before the turn, a less likely recurve (out to sea).

Lee prediction

"I cannot stress this point enough. Until that turn takes place, and we observe where it happens, we will not know exactly who in the US, Canada, Bermuda will be impacted, or if impacted at all," he posted in a tweet on Friday.

He was also quite blunt about providing any kind of accurate predictions, "With that in mind, there is no need to ask me about your specific area and its threat, because I have no idea, nor does anyone else."

Matt started Royal Caribbean Blog in 2010 as a place to share his passion for all things Royal Caribbean with readers. He oversees all the writers at Royal Caribbean Blog, and writes a great deal of content on a daily basis.  He has become one of the foremost expert on a Royal Caribbean cruise.

Over the years, he has reached Pinnacle Club status with Royal Caribbean's customer loyalty program.

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