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.

Royal Caribbean denies stranding passengers in San Juan due to Hurricane Irene


We first told you about passengers who missed their Royal Caribbean cruise earlier this week when Royal Caribbean was forced to depart San Juan, Puerto Rico earlier than scheduled due to the impending threat of Hurricane Irene.  

Today, Royal Caribbean has denied any responsibility for leaving 145 passengers at port to get Serenade of the Seas of the way of the storm three hours early.  Royal Caribbean contends that port officials began to limit harbor traffic at 12:30 pm on Sunday, forcing the ship to depart early.

Of the passengers left behind, 15 had purchased their airfare through Royal Caribbean and were subsequently given a hotel stay for two nights and flown to Aruba to join the cruise on the rest of its voyage.  The other 130 passengers, however, were on their own.  The reasoning, according to Royal Caribbean is, "Independent guests were advised of hotel availability in the area, but the expense was on them given that it was a weather-related event."

Furthermore, Royal Caribbean says there was simply no way of contacting the passengers in time to alert them to the change, “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.”

It turns out Royal Caribbean isn't alone in this.  Another 300 passengers missed their Carnival Cruise when Hurricane Irene prompted the Carnival Victory to leave port four hours early.

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.

Tropical Storm Emily delays Serenade of the Seas visit to Antigua


Tropical Storm Emily has caused another itinerary change for Royal Caribbean.  Serenade of the Seas was scheduled to visit the island of Antigua on Thursday, but will now try for a Friday arrival so long as the weather in the Leeward Islands permits the visit.

Nathan Dundas, president of the Cruise Tourism Association, said the decision to delay Serenade's arrival was made to ensure the safety of the ship and passengers.

It is normally common during the hurricane season for these ships to make such diversions. They pay very careful attention to the weather patterns and as such they had their consultations with the head office in Miami and us, and indicated to us it was necessary to make this diversion.

Royal Caribbean diverts Oasis of the Seas and Freedom of the Seas due to Tropical Storm Emily


Royal Caribbean has canceled port stops for the Oasis of the Seas and Freedom of the Seas in St. Thomas and St. Maarten. The passengers on the Oasis of the Seas will have the biggest effect to their route.

The Oasis of the Seas will spend Monday and Tuesday at sea, leaves on Wednesday to Costa Maya and Cozumel on Thursday after, as planned before it goes back to Fort Lauderdale. The Freedom of the Seas will be diverted on Wednesday to Grand Cayman on Thursday and is also in Cozumel.