Visit our travel agent friends at MEI Travel

Royal Caribbean cruise ships shelter in Bahamas from Tropical Storm Eta

09 Nov 2020

Royal Caribbean's cruise ships are safe from the wrath of Tropical Storm Eta, as any ships in the area have sought refuge in Bahamian waters.

Tropical Storm Eta made landfall over the Florida Keys, while impacting much of South Florida on Monday. 

Royal Caribbean Director / Chief Meteorologist James Van Fleet shared an update that Royal Caribbean International and Celebrity Cruise ships are sticking close to shores of the Bahamas where the effects of the storm will be minimal.


Each of the ships have had their top decks locked down, anchors pulled up and bows of the ship pointed into the wind to minimize the impact.

Mr. Van Fleet shared that the ships are experiencing winds in the range of 40-65 knots, although he is expecting higher gusts.

Mr. Van Fleet also noted that the ships are "completely safe" in their current positions. He and his team discussed a variety of scenarios with the captain of each cruise ship to determine the best course of action.

Looking at the storm track and predictions helps Royal Caribbean minimize fuel consumption while there are no guests onboard.

The maximum sustained winds of Tropical Storm Eta were 65 mph (100 km/h).  Its wind damage is not expected to be great, but it is bringing a significant amount of rainfall to South Florida. Radar estimates indicate that over a foot of rain has fallen over the past 2 days in some areas.

Eta could dump an additional 6 to 12 inches.

The storm had maximum sustained winds of 65 mph Sunday night and made landfall on Lower Matecumbe Key around 11 p.m.

Royal Caribbean ships head back to Bahamas after Isaias passes

03 Aug 2020

With Tropical Storm Isaias out of the way of Florida and the Bahamas, Royal Caribbean's fleet of ships that had gone west of Cuba are now headed back to their previous position in the Bahamas.

Cruise ship tracking website shows the half dozen ships making their way back through the Straits of Florida, and to the northern Bahamas near CocoCay.

The ships include Grandeur of the Seas, Adventure of the Seas, Navigator of the Seas, Mariner of the Seas, Brilliance of the Seas and Oasis of the Seas.

Prior to the storm, Royal Caribbean had been staging some of its ships in the vicinity of CocoCay, which allows for the ships to make quick trips back to Miami for supplies.

Late last week, Royal Caribbean moved these same ships west to avoid the path of Hurricane Isaias, as it approached with its category 1 winds and rain.

The U.S. National Hurricane Center (NHC) in Miami said the storm now has maximum sustained winds of 70 mph -- just 4 mph shy of officially being a hurricane -- and is located about 250 miles south-southwest of Myrtle Beach, S.C. Isaias is moving north at 13 mph.

PortMiami re-opened around noon on August 2, and Mariner of the Seas is currently docked at Terminal A, as of Monday morning.

Royal Caribbean ships move west to avoid path of Hurricane Isaias

01 Aug 2020

Hurricane Isaias is approaching The Bahamas this weekend, and it has forced a few Royal Caribbean ships to move out of the region to avoid the path of the storm.

While there are no cruises sailing for guests, a number of Royal Caribbean ships have been anchored off CocoCay, including Grandeur of the Seas, Adventure of the Seas, Navigator of the Seas, Mariner of the Seas, Brilliance of the Seas and Oasis of the Seas.

Royal Caribbean spread its fleet out around the world during the voluntary cruise shutdown, with some ships remaining in the Caribbean, and others in Europe and Asia.

According to, these ships have all headed west, through the Straits of Florida and to an area west of Cuba.

According to the National Hurricane Center’s 8 a.m. update, Hurricane Isaias remains on track to skirt up Florida’s east coast as it gains strength entering the Bahamas Saturday morning.

Moving cruise ships out of the path of a storm is normal operating procedure for cruise lines to ensure the crew onboard are safe, along with protecting the ship.

There are no cruises during this global health crisis, which prevented Royal Caribbean from having to alter sailings or cancel sailings all together.

When tropical storms develop, Royal Caribbean's Chief Meteorologist James Van Fleet works closely on the track of the storm and provides guidance to ships on the safest course of action.


Forecasters expect Isaias to move near the east coast of the Florida peninsula Saturday night through Sunday.

What to know about cruising during hurricane season in the Caribbean

30 Mar 2020

Going on a cruise during hurricane season is an opportunity for some, a no-go for others, and questionable to many more.  So is going on a cruise during hurricane season a good idea?

Hurricane season is a balance of potentially great cruise prices against the chance a storm could disrupt your plans. 

Should you cruise during hurricane season?

Hurricane season runs from June 1 through November 30, but the season's peak is primarily between August and October. 

Tropical storms are notoriously unpredictable, but there are usually around a dozen or so storms in a given year, with some being stronger or weaker than others. The prediction for 2020 is 14 to 18 tropical storms, seven to nine of which could become hurricanes and two to four could strengthen into major hurricanes.

The reality is many storms never impact land, and few have a direct impact on places cruise ships will visit. Moreover, if there is a storm in the area, Royal Caribbean will change the itinerary to avoid ever getting near the path of the storm.

The best reason to cruise during hurricane season is the lower prices. Cruises during this time of year scare away some people, and so prices tend to be lower to attract others. Moreover, the peak of hurricane season is when school is back in session, so less families are likely to cruise during this time of year.

Ultimately, you should cruise during hurricane season if you are flexible with your plans and okay with an itinerary shift. The weather might not be ideal, but there is a very good chance you will still be able to go on your cruise.

More: It's supposed to rain my entire cruise!

Will a hurricane affect my cruise?

The chance of a hurricane forming and disrupting your itinerary is pretty low, but it is possible to occur.

Royal Caribbean's top priority is the safety of the guests, crew and ship, and will never send a ship near a hurricane. To that point, if a storm is predicted to go anywhere near where a ship is scheduled to be, Royal Caribbean will be the first to cancel scheduled port stops or even completely change the itinerary.

Royal Caribbean's Chief Meteorologist James Van Fleet works year round to monitor weather patterns in order to keep ships safe. During hurricane season, he goes into overdrive to make very certain the ship's Captain and Royal Caribbean are making the best decisions possible.

Cruising during hurricane season means having a certain level of flexibility with your plans. While the odds of a storm affecting your cruise is low, you should be mentally prepared for that to occur.

Hurricanes have the potential to impact a wide area of the ocean, so yes, increased wave height or winds are possible.  However, Mr. Van Fleet works with each ship's Captain to project the best course to avoid the worst of any storm. Moreover, Royal Caribbean's ships are designed to be able to handle significantly worse weather conditions while providing as smooth a ride as possible for guests.

Perhaps the greatest source of frustration for cruisers is not actually being on the ship when there is a hurricane in the Atlantic or Caribbean, but the nonstop news cycle in the days leading up to the cruise that causes a great deal of anxiety. There are lot of unknowns, but with more data pouring in, prediction models become more reliable closer to the sailing.

Are cruises cancelled due to hurricanes?

On rare occasions, Royal Caribbean will cancel a cruise if a storm is projected to impact an area where the ship is scheduled to embark/disembark.

Cancelling a cruise is usually the last option for Royal Caribbean, and they are more likely to keep a ship out at sea for an extra day or two and then subsequently shorten the next sailing, than outright cancel a full sailing.

Operating cruises during hurricane season is something Royal Caribbean has been doing for decades, so they have a great deal of expertise when it comes to best practices, and it is part of the reason why cruises are almost never canceled.

If you have a cruise booked during hurricane season, you should absolutely plan on going on the cruise.

Invest in travel insurance

The decision to get travel insurance or not seems to be a no-brainer when it comes to cruising during hurricane season because of all the possibilities it entails.

Whether you get travel insurance from Royal Caribbean or from a third-party provider, you want to ensure the policy covers disruption in case of weather-related events.

It is also important to consider "Cancel For Any Reason" policies.  Most travel insurance only kicks in if your vacation is interrupted (i.e. Royal Caribbean cancelling the cruise or airlines cancelling your flight).  A hurricane in the Atlantic and your fear of going is not grounds for travel insurance to kick in.  

If you want the flexibility to cancel your trip before Royal Caribbean does, you will need a policy that includes Cancel For Any Reason.

What happens if you have a cruise booked and there is a hurricane?

If you see a storm is formed and could possibly impact your sailing, be sure to follow Royal Caribbean and James Van Fleet on Twitter for updates on any impact.

Your travel agent will also inform you if they are apprised of any changes.

Royal Caribbean talks Hurricane Dorian hit on revenue, impact of ship upgrades, Perfect Day at Lelepa and more

30 Oct 2019

During an earnings call with investors today, Royal Caribbean's executives discussed a variety of topics related to the company's financial success in the third quarter. Part of those discussions shed some light into various plans and progress being made by the cruise line that guests may find intriguing.

Hurricane Dorian cost Royal Caribbean $27 million

Anytime a hurricane disrupts cruise itineraries, there is an impact on Royal Caribbean's bottom line, but Hurricane Dorian caused the largest impact of any hurricane in Royal Caribbean's history.

Royal Caribbean Chief Financial Officer Jason Liberty characterized Hurricane Dorian's unusual, one-time impact on Royal Caribbean's financial performance.  Three main Florida embarkation ports closed on a weekend as a precautionary measure.  These measures impacted 16 sailings and made this the most disruptive storm in the company's history. 

The financial impact was particularly large because the affected ships included the very successful Oasis-class, because Perfect Day at CocoCay was closed for 10 days, and because of the cruise line's extensive relief efforts.  The combination of guest compensation, the closure of Perfect Day at CocoCay and the relief efforts negatively impacted the third quarter by $27 million.

Guests love the upgrades and enhancements

Royal Caribbean's investments in destinations and ships continue to be a hit with guests who are booking cruises to experience them.

Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. chairman and CEO Richard D. Fain spoke about this effect, "Perfect Day at CocoCay continues to amaze our Royal Caribbean International guests, and boost our bottom line. Our vessel modernization program is driving strong results. These upgrades are expensive, but our guests love them and reward us accordingly."

"Or take our investments in technology, which are beginning to bear fruit. These investments are expensive, and demanding, but they improve the experience for crew and guest alike. They make us more attractive, or more efficient. "

Perfect Day at Lelepa will built with sustainability in mind

Royal Caribbean recently announced a new Perfect Day island destination in Vanuatu, and the island will be powered by renewable sources of energy to ensure it is carbon footprint is reduced.

Mr. Fain spoke about their plans for Lelepa, "There's also one, very special aspect of this project that is also worth noting. Lelapa will be the first private cruise destination in the world that achieves carbon neutrality. All of the energy consumed will be generated from renewable sources. Accomplishing that requires both major investment and major innovation, but Perfect Day at Lelapa will be rich in both."

A look at how many guests are experiencing Perfect Day at CocoCay

You do not have to listen to earnings call with investors to know Perfect Day at CocoCay has been a giant hit with guests.

Mr. Liberty mentioned at one point in the call, more than 70% of Royal Caribbean's guests sailing on a Caribbean cruise will experience Perfect Day at CocoCay.

Plans for Perfect Day at Lelepa

Royal Caribbean International CEO and President Michael Bayley provided a few details on Perfect Day at Lelepa in Vanautu during the call.

Mr. Bayley indicated Perfect Day at Lelepa should open in late 2021 or early 2022.

He also said that guest volume for Perfect Day at Lelepa will be less than Perfect Day at CocoCay, "The volume will be less less than Perfect Day at CocoCay, which I think at its peak in a few years will get to close to 3 million people going there. The number for Vanuatu, I think, reaches close to 750-800,000 is currently in our plans."

Symphony of the Seas changes itinerary to avoid Tropical Storm Karen

23 Sep 2019

Royal Caribbean's Symphony of the Seas cruise ship has changed itineraries to avoid the path of Tropical Storm Karen.

Guests sailing onboard Symphony of the Seas have been informed of a change in their sailing that will skip scheduled stops in San Juan, Puerto Rico and St. Maarten and insyead visit Cozumel and Perfect Day at CocoCay.

Thanks to @FmtTony for providing this photo

Symphony of the Seas and Harmony of the Seas have now had their itinerary changed to avoid Tropical Storm Karen.

Royal Caribbean changes Harmony of the Seas itinerary to avoid Tropical Storm Karen

23 Sep 2019

Royal Caribbean has rerouted Harmony of the Seas to avoid the path of Tropical Storm Karen.

Sheri from Cruise Tips TV shared an update from Harmony of the Seas to indicate an announcement was made onboard that the ship will change from an Eastern to a Western Caribbean itinerary.

Instead of visiting St. Thomas San Juan, the ship will head to Cozumel and Costa Maya in Mexico.

First-hand look at Royal Caribbean's Hurricane Dorian disaster relief in The Bahamas

07 Sep 2019

In the days since Hurricane Dorian rolled through The Bahamas and inflicted a great deal of damage to many islands, Royal Caribbean has assembled a colossal relief effort by having its ships deliver much-needed supplies.  

Royal Caribbean invited us to join them on Mariner of the Seas to get a first-hand look at the hard work their crew, volunteers and staff are doing on a near daily basis across many ships to assist Bahamians who have had their lives disrupted by the storm.

From her homeport of Port Canaveral, Mariner of the Seas sails three and four night sailings to The Bahamas, and while many cruise guests are enjoying a fantastic cruise vacation, a veritable army of volunteer crew members from all types of roles across the ship report to the main dining room to assemble 10,000 meals.

Dancers, technicians, servers, officers and more prepared sandwiches, proteins with rice and fruits and snacks so that they can be distributed in a few short hours to locals in The Bahamas who desperately need it.

These crew members took a break from their personal time to join in the effort and ensure these meals would be ready for delivery on-time.

Beginning at 10:30pm, crew members worked tirelessly to assemble the meals, while occasionally breaking out into a song, cheering a crate being filled and otherwise sharing a smile with each other.  

Fast-forward a few hours later, and at daybreak carts after carts of food was standing by to be delivered into Freeport, Bahamas.

Royal Caribbean is working with the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) to help distribute the food to those that need it the most.  NEMA is part of The Bahamanian disaster management effort, and essentially Royal Caribbean provides the disaster relief supplies, as well as the manpower to load it for NEMA to distribute. 

A convoy of buses, trucks, and other private vehicles arrived to pick up the supplies. In less than 12 hours, food went from storage to packaged to on a vehicle to be delivered. 



In addition to the supplies delivered, Royal Caribbean also brought aboard hundreds of evacuees so that they could be taken out of Freeport and brought to Nassau, Bahamas. Evacuees enjoyed breakfast, beverages and a movie screening during the short voyage to Nassau. 

Earlier today, Mariner of the Seas became the third ship in Royal Caribbean International's fleet to provide such aid, and there are a number of other ships prepared to do the same in the coming days and weeks.

Royal Caribbean is committing $1 million to Dorian disaster relief and matching every dollar of guest and employee donations. To make sure those donations go where they can do the most good, they are collaborating with the Bahamian government and its non-profit partner, the Pan American Development Foundation (PADF), and a network of Bahamian charities and other local organizations, including the Bahamas Feeding Network.

You can donate money by visiting the PADF site.

Royal Caribbean helps deliver first batch of relief supplies to Bahamas

05 Sep 2019

Royal Caribbean announced hours after Hurricane Dorian devastated The Bahamas it would pledge $1 million in aid to the island, and the cruise line is already making good on that promise with the first batch of supplies loaded onto Empress of the Seas.

Guests sailing on Empress of the Seas were informed their ship would deliver much needed food, water, equipment and supplies to the people on Grand Bahama Island. Empress of the Seas was loaded with 10,000 meals, 10,000 bottles of water, as well as medical supplies, generators and other necessities.  The ship will dock off the coast of Grand Bahama Island to make the delivery, before resuming its cruise itinerary.

Thanks to Brad Garfinkel & Skip Bebout for providing this photo

Letters to guests were delivered to their stateroom to explain the extra stop.

Royal Caribbean Blog Podcast Episode - Hurricane season redux

04 Sep 2019

Listen to the Show

Matt shares the lessons he learned from what happens when a hurricane directly impacts your cruise plans.

Share with me your thoughts, questions and comments via...

On this episode:
Running time:
Subscribe to Hurricane