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Away from the scene for a while. Then it was the eclipse and now the hurricane to get me thinking since Glaveston was my next port I wanted to try. Thought there might be a few posts on this already. I understand why RC and CARN would wait to the very last minute to even think of a cancellation out of Galveston. I've since learned two new marnier terms - Yankee and Zulu when a port decides to shut operations. Galveston went to Zulu this AM. If the lines cancel they are on the hook financially. Would they have insurance to cover losses like this? What a mess this could turn out to be. How do they staff the port? Houston floods with just a few inches of steady rain. Fuel and food are going to get deliveries disrupted. Lawyers who go after cruise lines are going to love this disaster.

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The path and duration of exposure for the Galveston areas by Harvey is unusual.  If RCI cancels, I assume that they would have to refund all passengers which might possible slightly reduce profits this year, but by a small amount.  Not sure I understand what maritime lawyers have to do with the situation.  These cruise contracts exclude acts of God and a cat 3 hurricane that forms from a cluster of thunderstorms in 36 hrs would certainly be classified as such.

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Interesting in that the RCCL website is pretty vague about the effect of the storm on Sunday's Liberty scheduled turn.  Liberty is currently docked in Cozumel as scheduled.

Carnival, on the other hand, has much more detail on their website.  It states that the port of Galveston is closed and will remain closed until the storm has passed and the port inspected.  They also have already stated that itinerary changes will result in adjustments to charges for packages on board.  They also asked this weekend's new passengers to not proceed to the port until instructed by Carnival.  They have two ships (Freedom and Valor) scheduled for Saturday and one (Breeze) scheduled for Sunday.

Maybe RCCL is being more cautious having not put more information up than they have, but it's interesting to me to see the difference.  I guess at this point, there is no chance the Saturday trips happen on time and maybe a 5% chance the Sunday trips go out on time.  Currently, two of the ships are docked in Cozumel and two are hanging out just off the Yucatan Peninsula.  Based on the distance, the two ships in Cozumel would have to leave by late tonight to make Galveston by Sunday morning.  The two on the North side of the Yucatan could leave by early tomorrow.  If the storm proceeds as the forecast calls, it will be Tuesday or Wednesday before the storm has cleared Galveston.  Then comes the port inspection and any needed repairs are completed.

I have friends who cruise in the fall because it's so cheap.  We have never done it because of hurricane season, although we did once do a land based trip to Cayman in October that was interrupted by a storm.  The people cruising this week will get a bonus.  The people scheduled to embark this weekend are going to be disappointed.  I'm sure there are some folks with the trip of a lifetime scheduled to start this weekend.  I feel bad for them.

It will be interesting to see how it comes out.

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It seems from the information from RCI that was recently posted on the blog, their strategy seems to be to wait until the last minute to make a call.  The upside of this is that forecasting stalled storms is very difficult and it is possible that a wobble to the south will open an opportunity to dock on Sunday.  If so, no interruption to the weekly scheduling.  The downside is that this approach forces next weeks passengers to travel into a storm with no guarantee that they'll actually be able to get there, and if they do won't be stranded there if Liberty cannot reach Galveston.  By choosing not to make the trip to Galveston, are these passengers forfeiting their cruise if a window does open Sunday?  Seems to be a catch-22.

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6 minutes ago, DDemuth said:

It seems from the information from RCI that was recently posted on the blog, their strategy seems to be to wait until the last minute to make a call.  The upside of this is that forecasting stalled storms is very difficult and it is possible that a wobble to the south will open an opportunity to dock on Sunday.  If so, no interruption to the weekly scheduling.  The downside is that this approach forces next weeks passengers to travel into a storm with no guarantee that they'll actually be able to get there, and if they do won't be stranded there if Liberty cannot reach Galveston.  By choosing not to make the trip to Galveston, are these passengers forfeiting their cruise if a window does open Sunday?  Seems to be a catch-22.

Yeah, it makes for tough decision making.  If the port wasn't closed, it may be possible for Carnival to get their two ships in and back out by tomorrow afternoon.  

The Liberty would need to leave Cozumel by about 7 AM tomorrow to make the roughly 500 mile journey for Sunday morning in Galveston.  If they don't make the call by then, it will be made for them.

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35 minutes ago, DDemuth said:

It seems from the information from RCI that was recently posted on the blog, their strategy seems to be to wait until the last minute to make a call.  The upside of this is that forecasting stalled storms is very difficult and it is possible that a wobble to the south will open an opportunity to dock on Sunday.  If so, no interruption to the weekly scheduling.  The downside is that this approach forces next weeks passengers to travel into a storm with no guarantee that they'll actually be able to get there, and if they do won't be stranded there if Liberty cannot reach Galveston.  By choosing not to make the trip to Galveston, are these passengers forfeiting their cruise if a window does open Sunday?  Seems to be a catch-22.

It's a no-win situation for RC.

If they cancel, people will be upset because it ruined their vacation.  If the storm's direction/intensity changes, then you really get upset people.

Clearly they have people upset with their current strategy too.

I think the issue for RC is the fact it's forecast to hang around the coast, instead of moving inland and/or away from Galveston. If Harvey were to continue moving inland, it would be well-clear of Galveston by Sunday morning.

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I was just in Houston for business, got out this morning, it's going to get ugly down there, 24-30 inches of rain? Like the person says above, I've seen Houston street flood with 2-3 inches of rain. Even if the ship can dock through a clearing in the weather, the cruisers are going to be screwed trying to get away from the port, even if you drive your own car, I just cruised out of Galveston in June and a freak shower dumped a couple of inches of rain on the port and the frontage road to the port was flooding when I finely go in my car and got away.

So like Matt says, it's a no win situation for RC.

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So let's say they can't figure out a final call until after 7 AM cutoff for leaving Cozumel, and only then they work out that Harvey is going to hammer the port and making docking on Sunday impossible. What do they do as far as keeping everyone safe but still getting back to the US? Do they shore up in Cozumel for an extra day so they have supplies handy to keep everyone fed and watered? Do they reroute to one of the Florida ports instead?

Having watched that documentary that showed how the cruise lines have the amount of food on board calculated to just barely get them through the trip, I can't imagine they can just sail around for an extra sea day while waiting for the storm to pass, especially since they're already at the tail end of the trip.

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Friend of mine said Carnival is in the same situation and yes, they are going to hang out in Cozumel and try and time it to arrive on Tuesday instead of Sunday. But Like I said, I was just down there, and this storm may not go away by Tuesday, it might hang around all week and dump inches of rain.

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Regarding the comment about food:. During our excellent Behind the Scenes Tour on Liberty earlier this week,  we learned from the Provisions officer that they always load a minimum of 8 days of food for each voyage.  He did not say how creative they have to get with menus on that 8th day or what happens if we go to day nine........

image.jpeg

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Cruising in hurricane season. A textbook example today of worst case scenario. Forgot about the Act of God small print no one ever reads. So I guess RC could cancel and be in the clear. On the other side if they just don't outright cancel the sailing today they force those passengers not already at the port to travel into an oncoming tropical storm/hurricane. Galveston must have a huge portion of guests that come from a days drive away.  Fly ins probably come in weds to friday. I wonder if trip cancellation insurance would generally cover this situation? They must also have the Acts of God exclusions too. A definite no win.for anybody.

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Did RCL have any ships affected by Matthew last year?  That would be a good source to try to figure out the options they will take this time around. 

I wasn't on this board then but I was on a DCL one, they had two ships already at sea that had to be delayed in returning to Canaveral.  They sailed together slowly through the Gulf and supplies were brought in by boat so the buffet and dinner remained more or less the same.  Luckily there was minimal damage to Port Canaveral so they were able to dock after the storm passed and only a day late.  Meanwhile another ship due out of NYC for Florida and Nassau was rerouted to a Canadian cruise with additional OBC offered and full refunds for those uninterested in the itinerary.  I think they ended up only cancelling one cruise and reducing another by a day.

Of course, the board was full of "experts" who felt the situation was being handled wrong by Disney and all the cruises should have been cancelled and returned early, etc, etc.  I guess being an entrepreneur where I get people who hire me but then second guess me at every turn has made me very sympathetic to the cruise lines in these situations.  I don't know what is going to happen with this storm so I trust the captain first and the cruise line second to figure out the safest options.  Obviously I'm more concerned with the people living in these areas right this moment than the people who might lose a cruise, but just as I hope the people living there got out and have good insurance, I hope the people who are booked on this weekends cruise have insurance that covers this.

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Here is a statement from RC 

Looks like they are keeping liberty for now!!

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ITINERARY UPDATES

 
August 25, 2017 

We are still actively monitoring path and progression of Hurricane Harvey. At this time, Liberty of the Seas will keep her original schedule for Sunday’s turnaround in Galveston, Texas. Should we make any changes to Liberty of the Sea’s itinerary, we will make sure to inform our guests. 

We will post another update on Saturday, August 26, 2017 by 12:00 PM CT. 
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15 hours ago, Matt said:

It's a no-win situation for RC.

 

Certainly.  It's a no-win situation for everyone involved. Given that this morning, NHS forecasts that Harvey will still be in the immediate area around Galveston until Thursday, there will likely be no outcome that will be ideal.

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16 hours ago, tiny260 said:

I was just in Houston for business, got out this morning, it's going to get ugly down there, 24-30 inches of rain? Like the person says above, I've seen Houston street flood with 2-3 inches of rain. Even if the ship can dock through a clearing in the weather, the cruisers are going to be screwed trying to get away from the port, even if you drive your own car, I just cruised out of Galveston in June and a freak shower dumped a couple of inches of rain on the port and the frontage road to the port was flooding when I finely go in my car and got away.

So like Matt says, it's a no win situation for RC.

Glad to hear you were able to get out and back home ok. :27_sunglasses:

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1 hour ago, rjac said:

Glad to hear you were able to get out and back home ok. :27_sunglasses:

Appreciate that, it was ugly at the airport early yesterday morning but then calmed down. I listened to all of the news stations talking about how bad the airport lines were going to be and got there plenty early, but I have TSA Pre, plus was in 1st Class so had priority boarding, needless to say I'm glad I had a good book to read.

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50 minutes ago, FManke said:

I don't know if there are more stressful things with traveling than uncertain weather. It's one of those things that you truly have no control over. 

 

And hence, not something to worry about...:10_wink:

 

I know, I know,... easier said than done.  :14_relaxed:

 

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Carnival is porting in New Orleans to take on fuel and supplies with plans to return the ships and passengers to Galveston once the storm clears. They are asking passengers to not disembark, but I also think that they're not willing to stop anyone who wants to get off before the ship returns.

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1 hour ago, DocLC said:

Carnival is porting in New Orleans to take on fuel and supplies with plans to return the ships and passengers to Galveston once the storm clears. They are asking passengers to not disembark, but I also think that they're not willing to stop anyone who wants to get off before the ship returns.

I guess I'm unclear, is Carnival asking the guests to not end their cruise in New Orleans, or are they asking guests to not get off in New Orleans for the day?  Seems a strange request if they are not wanting them to use New Orleans as a port of call.

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