Hurricane

Symphony of the Seas changes itinerary to avoid Tropical Storm Karen

In:
23Sep2019

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

In:
23Sep2019

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

In:
Category: 
07Sep2019

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

In:
05Sep2019

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 pledges $1 million to Hurricane Dorian disaster relief

In:
Category: 
03Sep2019

In the aftermath of Hurricane Dorian, Royal Caribbean announced it is committing $1 million to Dorian disaster relief, and ITM—our partner in the Holistica joint venture that is developing the Grand Lucayan resort in Freeport—is also donating an additional $100,000.

Royal Caribbean will collaborate with the Bahamian government and non-profit partner, the Pan American Development Foundation (PADF), and a network of Bahamian charities and other local organizations, including the Bahamas Feeding Network.

In a statement, Royal Caribbean elaborated on their relief effort plans, "We are loading all kinds of goods onto our ships— generators, water, cleaning supplies, clean sheets, towels, and more—for direct delivery to the Bahamas. The trained employee volunteers we call the GO Team are on their way to assist with relief efforts. And we’re taking special care of coworkers and their families who were affected by the storm."

"And we’re matching every dollar of guest and employee donations to PADF so they can help our friends as well."

If you want to contribute please follow this link (https://www.padf.org/hurricane-dorian-royal) and get started.

Royal Caribbean alters itineraries of its cruise ships to avoid Hurricane Dorian

In:
Category: 
30Aug2019

Late yesterday, Royal Caribbean announced updates to a number of Caribbean sailings in order to avoid the path of Hurricane Dorian.

  • The August 30th sailing of Navigator of the Seas has been extended and will return to Miami on September 4, instead of September 2. It will visit Nassau and Cozumel.
  • The September 2nd sailing of Navigator of the Seas has been shortened and will depart Miami on September 4th, instead of September 2. It will visit CocoCay.
  • The August 30th sailing of Mariner of the Seas has been extended and will return to Port Canaveral on September 4th, instead of September 2. It will vist Cozumel & Costa Maya.
  • The September 2nd sailing of Mariner of the Seas has been shortened and will depart Port Canaveral on September 4th, instead of September 2. It will visit CocoCay.
  • The August 24th sailing of Empress of the Seas has been extended, and will return to Miami on September 4th. A visit to Roatan has been added.
  • The September 1st sailing of Empress of the Seas has been shortened and will now depart on September 4th. It will visit Nassau.
  • The August 25th sailing of Harmony of the Seas has been extended and will return on September 4th. Harmony has added an overnight visit in Cozumel.
  • The September 1st sailing of Harmony of the Seas has been shortened and will now depart Port Canaveral on September 4th. It will visit Labadee.
  • The August 25th sailing of Allure of the Seas has been extended and will now return to Fort Lauderdale on September 4th. A visit to Roatan and Costa Maya has been added.
  • The September 1st sailing of Allure of the Seas has been shortened and will now depart Fort Lauderdale on September 4th. It will visit Cozumel
  • The August 28th sailing of Majesty of the Seas has been extended and will now return to Fort Lauderdale on September 4th. An extra sea day and visit to Nassau has been added.
  • The September 2nd sailing of Majesty of the Seas has been shortened and will now depart Fort Lauderdale on September 4th. 

Royal Caribbean maintains its own list of itinerary changes related to Hurricane Dorian on its website.

Hurricane Dorian alters four more Royal Caribbean ship itineraries

In:
28Aug2019

Royal Caribbean announced itinerary changes to three more Royal Caribbean ships, and decided to wait on making a decision for sailings this weekend in order to take advantage of more accurate predictions.

  • The August 26th sailing of Navigator of the Seas had their day in Perfect Day at CocoCay scheduled for Wednesday changed to Nassau, Bahamas. 
  • The August 26th sailing of Mariner of the Seas will have their day in Perfect Day at CocoCay scheduled for Thursday changed to Nassau, Bahamas. 
  • The August 24th sailing of Empress of the Seas will remain in Cozumel on Friday and then spend a day at sea on Saturday. The extra day in Cozumel replaces a scheduled visit to Perfect Day at CocoCay.
  • The August 24th sailing of Symphony of the Seas will have their day in Perfect Day at CocoCay scheduled for Friday changed to Nassau, Bahamas. 

Royal Caribbean is deferring itinerary changes for the Navigator 8/30/19, Mariner 8/30/19, Harmony 9/1/19, Harmony 8/25/19 & Symphony 8/31/19 by an additional day in order to get more accurate prediction models. 

"Currently, the two main weather models used for prediction (American & European) have the storm going different ways. So, we’re going to wait a bit more to evaluate the new data, which we’ll receive this afternoon. Then, we’ll confirm alternate ports and share your final itinerary changes with you by 3 PM on Thursday, August 29th, or sooner."

Royal Caribbean also stated that the Harmony of the Seas 8/25/19 and Symphony of the Seas 8/31/19 sailings were never sailing to CocoCay, but their itinerary may be impacted by Hurricane Dorian in order to steer clear of any adverse weather.

Royal Caribbean temporarily closes Perfect Day at CocoCay due to Tropical Storm Dorian

In:
27Aug2019

Royal Caribbean informed guests that it will temporarily close its private island in the Bahamas, Perfect Day at CocoCay, until September 4, 2019.

Due to the forecasted path of Tropical Storm Dorian, the cruise line informed guests via email that it has decided to shutdown CocoCay until Wednesday, September 4th.

Any shore excursions pre-purchased for CocoCay will be refunded to onboard credit. If a guest onboard spend does not reach this amount, the remaining balance will be refunded to the credit card on file.

Royal Caribbean also promised an itinerary update for ships by August 28th at 3:00pm EST.

Hurricane season for cruises

In:
Category: 
13Sep2018

Wondering if you should take a cruise during hurricane season?

Many cruisers contemplate going on a Royal Caribbean cruise during hurricane season, debating taking advantage of lower fare prices while weighing the possible impact of foul weather.  There are pros and cons to taking a cruise during this sometimes tumultuous time of year, and ultimately it depends on which factors are most important to you.  

The simple answer is going on a cruise during hurricane season is a great idea.  Prices are lower on average and the likelihood of a hurricane directly impacting your sailing is low.  Even when it does, the consequences are usually minor (i.e. substituting one port of call for another or changing itineraries).  

When is hurricane season?

The official dates for the Atlantic hurricane season are June 1 through November 30.  This is the time frame when the vast majority of storms form in the Atlantic Ocean The peak months for hurricanes in the Eastern Caribbean are mid-August to mid-September and in the Western Caribbean from mid-August to early November.

The United States Search and Rescue Task Force estimates there are 10 tropical storms on average per year, with six becoming hurricanes.  Most of the storms remain over the year, with about five hurricanes striking the coastline of the United States every three years.

Why cruise during hurricane season

The most compelling reason to take a Royal Caribbean cruise during hurricane season are the lower prices.  Discounts and low cruise fares are often found during the course of hurricane season, with great pricing usually in August through the end of October. 

The reason for the lower prices is most families are back in school and unwilling to take kids out of school for a vacation (especially since they may have just taken summer vacations earlier in the summer).  Moreover, the threat of hurricanes impacting cruise itineraries turns some folks off from booking, which results in more inventory being available.

What happens if there is a hurricane

While tropical storms can affect cruise sailings, the reality is a very small percentage of Royal Caribbean cruises are ever directly impacted by these storms. Royal Caribbean spends a great deal of time to plan around storms, and if a hurricane is likely to impact the scheduled route of a cruise ship, the ship will be rerouted in some way to avoid the path of the storm. This may result in scheduled ports of call being skipped and/or replaced with another port.

Moreover, Royal Caribbean has its own Chief Meteorologist that spends the summer months tracking all tropical storms, and working directly with the cruise line to make itinerary changes as necessary.

It is quite rare for a hurricane to cancel a sailing.  Most of the time, the ship simply goes in a different direction to steer well-clear of the storm.  Sometimes Royal Caribbean will reverse an itinerary, or change an Eastern Caribbean cruise into a Western Caribbean sailing. 

Trip insurance

If you are taking a cruise during hurricane season, you may want to consider getting a policy that covers travel disruptions related to the weather.  Royal Caribbean offers its own travel insurance, and a variety of third-parties sell travel insurance.  Like any insurance policy, it is important to review what the plan does and does not cover and when it kicks in.

In most cases, trip insurance policies can compensate you for trip delays, interruption and cancelation in the event of a major storm.  Trip insurance covers things like missing your flight or being re-routed due to weather.  It also covers being stuck unexpectedly in a city overnight and missing part of your cruise.

When it comes to travel insurance and hurricanes, the most important consideration is when a policy will cover you.  Often, cruisers think they can cancel a cruise prior to the storm actually impacting your plans.  Most plans do not allow for preemptively canceling a cruise due to a storm.  For the most part, you must still go on your cruise, wherever the ship may go, and only be able to collect compensation if the cruise or your travel plans are directly impacted by the storm (i.e. canceled flights, delays, etc).  Many people incorrectly think trip insurance is a safety net for canceling their cruise to avoid a storm completely.

Tips for a cruise during hurricane season

First and foremost, you need to be flexible when taking a cruise during hurricane season.  An altered itinerary, delayed flights or less than perfect weather are the most common scenarios someone may encounter as a result of a tropical storm.  The key is for you to mentally prepare for changes and be okay with it.

Part of being flexible is understanding that an itinerary change could occur, so any plans you have in a port of call should be equally flexible.  Planning a wedding, excursion of a lifetime, or meeting friends or family could all be impacted by a change in itinerary.  

Browse travel insurance plans after you book your cruise and see if one makes sense for you.  Everyone's risk tolerance is different, but having that piece of mind that insurance provides is a tremendous benefit.

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.

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