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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.

Hurricanes: Don't worry!


Hurricane season in the Atlantic began this week and every year cruise passengers worry about how a hurricane could impact their cruise.  While there's the possibility that your itinerary may change, Royal Caribbean head Captain Bill Wright urges passengers not to worry.

"Keep in mind that hurricanes or storms are travelling at about six to 12 knots and today's modern ship cruises over 20 knots," he says.

"In a worst-case scenario, we can outrun the storm, although we very rarely have to do that. As soon as we see a storm could affect our routing or home port, we move into the situation room with the president and all the teams, as do all the major cruise lines.

"Here we determine whether we may have to skip a port, continue as usual or exchange a Western Caribbean cruise for an Eastern Caribbean cruise. Once this happens, it gets to be a bit of competition among the lines to see who can set up the new schedule the fastest, ensuring the best berth in the new ports."

Those are for en-route ports, but what happens if a hurricane's heading to your home port? Wright explains: "This probably is the most difficult time, as we have to worry about all passengers on the ship, plus those waiting for the ship. For example, if Fort Lauderdale is our base, we may have to move to Port Canaveral or stay an extra day at sea, necessitating a massive re-deployment of our passengers."

What about rough seas on the edge of the storms?

"Today's ships are computerstabilized, making us able to cope much better than we could some years ago," he says.

"The technology really showed us what it could do when we were ferrying Oasis of the Seas across the Atlantic with just crew and workers on board finishing the interior. We hit some major weather but (everyone) kept working through the storm."

Grandeur of the Seas to skip CocoCay today


Majesty of the Seas will not go to CocoCay today. Instead, the ship will stay in Nassau overnight until 5 p.m., before finishing its cruise in Miami on Friday morning as originally scheduled.

Credit to CruiseCritic for information

Tropical Storm Nicole changes Grandeur of the Seas itinerary


Tropical Storm Nicole has affected the itinerary of Grandeur of the Seas. Instead of stopping at CoCo Cay, Grandeur of the Seas will stop in Nassau, Bahamas today. The rest of the ship's itinerary is unaffected

Credit to CruiseCritic for information

Port of Bermuda to close Friday through Tuesday


Royal Caribbean has announced that the Port of Bermuda will be closed Friday through Tuesday due to Hurricane Igor.  This means Enchantment of the Seas, which leaves Baltimore on Saturday will instead sail to Nassau, Bahamas where it will arrive on Monday and stay overnight until Tuesday.

Royal Caribbean is anticipating some cruisers not being happy with the change and giving an onboard credit to each stateroom. If a guest decides they do not want to sail at all on that itinerary, a letter of credit to be used on a future Royal Caribbean cruise. No other Royal Caribbean cruise is being affected by the hurricane at this time.