Hurricane Irma Prompts Cruise Itinerary Changes and Cancellations

September 16, 2017
Hurricane Irma forces cruise ship itinerary changes

(Updated 9:10 a.m. EDT) -- All cruise ships sailing out of South Florida -- plus one sailing out of Galveston -- have been forced to change itineraries or cancel cruises completely, due to Irma, a hurricane that has devastated islands such as St. Maarten, Barbuda, St. Thomas and Tortola. Irma was a Category 5 when it touched down on the islands.

Royal Caribbean canceled Empress of the Seas' September 9 and 13 cruises, as well as Enchantment of the Seas' and Majesty of the Seas' September 8 sailings. Majesty of the Seas' September 11 Thirty One charter cruise has also been canceled, along with its September 15 sailing. Due to port closures, Enchantment of the Seas was also forced to cancel its September 11 sailing (which was rescheduled to depart September 12). Norwegian Cruise Line has canceled Norwegian Sky's September 8 cruise and Norwegian Escape's September 9 cruise; Carnival has canceled Carnival Liberty's September 7 and September 10 cruises, Carnival Victory's September 8 cruise, Carnival Splendor's September 9 cruise, Carnival Ecstasy's September 9 cruise and Carnival Paradise's September 11 cruise; Disney Cruise Line has canceled one Fantasy sailing and two Dream sailings; and Bahamas Paradise Cruise Line has canceled two cruises on Grand Celebration.

All South Florida cruise ports are now open, but the uncertainty surrounding the cleanup on September 12 forced Carnival to cancel another sailing and shorten two others. Carnival Victory's September 11 cruise was canceled, and the already shortened September 11 cruises on Carnival Vista and Carnival Glory have been cut even more. See below for details from Norwegian and other cruise lines that have altered and canceled itineraries, and read more about the status of the Florida ports after the storms.

See below for the most up-to-date itinerary changes.

A state of emergency was declared for Florida, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. South Florida ports -- including Miami, Fort Lauderdale (Port Everglades), Tampa, Jacksonville, Orlando (Port Canaveral) and Palm Beach -- were operating under the U.S. Coast Guard's Port Condition Zulu over the weekend, which meant no ships were allowed to enter the ports. (The USCG also issued this condition to South Florida ports last year during Hurricane Matthew.)



Florida airports, such as Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport and Orlando International Airport, shut down Friday and Saturday, respectively, and stayed closed through the weekend. Most have reopened, some with limited service.

Cruise Critic will continue to update this story as more information becomes available.


Itinerary Changes and Cancellations

Royal Caribbean

Empress of the Seas: The ship's four-night cruise to Havana and Key West, originally scheduled to depart September 9 from Tampa, has been canceled, along with its September 13 sailing. Passengers booked on both voyages will be issued full refunds and a 25 percent future cruise credit for sailings booked within 30 days. The ship’s September 23 and 27 cruises and October 2, 7 and 11 cruises will skip calls on Key West (with the exception of humanitarian stops to drop off supplies) and replace them with sea days. Passengers who choose to cancel will recieve a 100 percent future cruise credit to be used within one year.

Majesty of the Seas: The ship's three-night Bahamas cruise, originally scheduled to depart Port Canaveral (Orlando) September 8, has been canceled. A Thirty One Gifts charter cruise, originally scheduled to depart September 11, has also been canceled, along with the ship's September 15 sailing. Those booked on the September 15 sailing -- which was canceled to allow the ship to help with relief efforts in St. Thomas, St. John and St. Maarten -- will receive a full refund, as well as a 25 percent future cruise credit on sailings booked within 30 days. (Those booked on the Thirty One sailing should contact the company directly for more information.) The ship’s September 18 sailing will now depart September 19 to allow for humanitarian efforts to be completed. The new itinerary will be a three-night Bahamas cruise to Nassau and CocoCay. Passengers who choose to sail each will receive a 25 percent refundable onboard credit and a 25 percent future cruise credit to be used within the next year.

Enchantment of the Seas: The ship's three-night Bahamas cruise, originally scheduled to depart Miami September 8, has been canceled. The line was also forced to cancel its September 11 Bahamas cruise (which had been rescheduled to depart September 12) due to port closures. The ship, which was used to evacuate Royal Caribbean employees from South Florida, will board its September 15 sailing at 4 p.m. with a slightly delayed departure at 8 p.m. that day. The itinerary is unaffected.

Adventure of the Seas: The ship departed San Juan September 9, as planned. It made a humanitarian call on St. Maarten on Sunday, September 10, to deliver clothing and water supplies and pick up passengers for evacuation.

Harmony of the Seas: The ship's September 9 Eastern Caribbean cruise has been shortened to four nights, with one stop in Cozumel; it instead departed September 12. Those who chose to sail will receive a 50 percent refundable onboard credit and 50 percent future cruise credit. Those who canceled will receive a 100 percent refund.

Allure of the Seas: The ship's September 10 Western Caribbean cruise from Fort Lauderdale was shortened to four nights; it instead departed September 13 to sail to the Bahamas, where it overnighted in Nassau. Passengers who chose to sail the modified itinerary will receive a 50 percent refund in the form of onboard credit, as well as a 50 percent future cruise credit. The ship's previous cruise, which departed September 3, also was altered.

Oasis of the Seas: The ship's September 10 Eastern Caribbean cruise -- originally shortened to a five-night Costa Maya and Cozumel voyage, leaving September 12 -- was further shortened. The sailing is now a four-night Cozumel cruise, departing September 13.

Anthem of the Seas: The ship's September 9 Bermuda cruise remained as scheduled.

As compensation for the canceled cruises, Royal Caribbean has issued a 100-percent refund (cruise fare and fees) to affected passengers; it also is offering a 25-percent future cruise credit, based on the fare, for new cruises booked within the next 30 days.

Passengers on the shortened sailings will receive a 50-percent refund and 50-percent future cruise credit. Those who cancel will receive a 100-percent refund.

New Updates:As of Friday, September 15, the following additional itinerary changes have been made due to hurricane damage in various ports of call.

ADVENTURE OF THE SEAS:
9/16, 10/7 -- St. Maarten to St. Croix
9/23 -- St. Thomas to Bonaire
9/30 -- St. Maarten to St. Kitts
10/14 -- St. Thomas to St. Croix

ALLURE OF THE SEAS:
9/17 -- St. Maarten to St. Kitts
10/1 -- St. Thomas to Labadee
10/15 -- St. Maarten to Labadee

ENCHANTMENT OF THE SEAS:
9/18, 9/25, 10/2, 10/9 -- Key West to Freeport

HARMONY OF THE SEAS:
9/23 -- St. Thomas to St. Kitts
10/7 -- St. Maarten to St. Kitts

OASIS OF THE SEAS:
9/24 -- St. Maarten to St. Kitts
10/8 -- St. Maarten to Nassau

"As the recovery effort remains fluid and each island is working diligently to get back to normal operations, we will continue to communicate any port changes approximately four weeks prior to departure," the line said in a statement.


Norwegian Cruise Line

All of Norwegian's regular sailings from Miami will resume the weekend of September 15. All of the line's Eastern Caribbean itineraries will instead sail to the Western Caribbean through October.

Norwegian Escape: The ship's seven-night Eastern Caribbean cruise, originally scheduled to depart September 9, was canceled, and the line has announced that all of the ship's sailings until at least November 4 will be changed from Eastern Caribbean to Western Caribbean itineraries. Its previous seven-night cruise, which departed Miami September 2 and was shortened to five nights, returned to Miami September 7 to disembark passengers who drove to the port or had travel plans that would return them safely home by Friday afternoon. It departed the same day with the remaining passengers who did not drive to the port or could not securely book flights back home, plus a handful of passengers from Norwegian Sky. The ship rode out the storm in Cozumel but left the port on September 11 to return to Miami. The ship arrived back in Miami on September 13; its September 16 sailing will depart as scheduled.

Norwegian Sky: The ship's September 8 and September 11 cruises -- both three nights from Miami -- were canceled. The cruise line then deployed the ship, which had been anchored in Cancun, to St. Thomas to pick up about 2,000 stranded travelers who were unable to leave the island before the storm hit. The ship reached St. Thomas on Monday, September 11, and returned to Miami with the rescued passengers. Norwegian Sky's September 15 sailing will depart as scheduled, and its September 18 Cuba cruise will sail as scheduled. Its previous sailing, which departed September 4 and was shortened to three nights, returned to port September 7 to disembark cruisers.

Passengers on the shortened Norwegian Escape and Norwegian Sky sailings will receive partial refunds for the missed day(s), as well as 25-percent future cruise credit. Norwegian also will reimburse up to $300 in change fees, per person, for those who make flight changes.

For passengers on the canceled cruises, Norwegian has issued a full refund, as well as a 50-percent future cruise credit.


Carnival Cruise Line

Carnival Liberty: The ship's September 7 and September 10 departures from Port Canaveral (three-night and a four-night Bahamas cruises) were canceled.

Carnival Victory: The ship's September 4 cruise returned to Miami early. Passengers had the choice to disembark or stay on the ship; and the vessel's September 8 and September 11were canceled. The ship will depart Miami on a revised four-day cruise to Cozumel on September 18.

Carnival Splendor: The ship's five-night Eastern Caribbean cruise, originally scheduled to depart September 9 from Fort Lauderdale, was canceled. Its previous cruise, which departed September 3, sailed a revised itinerary. Splendor arrived in Port Everglades September 12, and passengers still onboard from the September 3 sailing were allowed to remain there through September 14 if they were unable to secure travel arrangements to return home.

Carnival Paradise: The September 7 cruise departed from Tampa, as planned. The ship, which was scheduled to overnight in Havana September 9 into September 10 (the same time Irma hit the northern coast of Cuba), left port at midnight September 9 and headed to Cozumel. The ship overnighted in Cozumel September 10 and then departed at 2 p.m. September 11 to return to Tampa. The September 11 sailing was canceled. The ship will depart Tampa, as scheduled, for its next sailing on a five-night cruise to Grand Cayman and Cozumel on September 16.

Carnival Sensation: The ship departed from Miami September 7, as scheduled. It skipped Key West and instead extended its call on Cozumel. Its September 11 cruise instead departed September 13 for three nights to Nassau. Due to berth limitations in Miami, Carnival Sensation docked in Port Everglades instead on September 13; disembarking passengers were transferred by coach to either PortMiami or to Miami and Ft. Lauderdale airports. Carnival Sensation then sailed to Miami, where it arrived later that evening to embark passengers sailing on the next cruise. Additionally, Freeport has replaced Grand Turk on its September 16 itinerary.

Carnival Conquest: The ship's September 9 cruise from Fort Lauderdale instead departed September 12; it was shortened to a four-night cruise to Cozumel. Its September 16 itinerary also has been adjusted; the ship will visit Amber Cove in lieu of Grand Turk.

Carnival Ecstasy: The ship's September 9 six-night cruise from Charleston to the Bahamas was canceled. The ship's previous cruise, which departed September 4, sailed a modified itinerary.

Carnival Glory: The ship's September 9 cruise from Miami instead departed September 13; it was shortened to a three-night cruise to Freeport and Nassau. The next sailing will depart Miami, as planned, for a seven-night cruise on September 16, operating a modified itinerary with calls to Half Moon Cay, San Juan, and Amber Cove.

Carnival Magic: The ship's September 3 cruise headed directly to New Orleans instead of its embarkation site, Port Canaveral, on September 9. Passengers were given the opportunity to disembark and make their own arrangements home, or remain onboard to return to Florida. The scheduled September 9 cruise from Port Canaveral instead departed September 13; it was shortened to a three-night cruise to Nassau. The ship will depart for its next sailing, as planned, on September 16; operating a shortened itinerary, the eight-night sailing will call at Amber Cove, San Juan, St. Kitts, and Antigua.

Carnival Vista: The ship's September 9 cruise from Miami instead departed September 13; it was changed to a four-night cruise to Cozumel.

Carnival Freedom: The ship departed September 9 from Galveston, as scheduled, but sailed a revised itinerary. In lieu of Key West, Freeport and Nassau, it visited Mahogany Bay, Belize and Cozumel.

Carnival Dream: The ship departed September 10 from New Orleans, as scheduled; in lieu of its original ports (Key West, Nassau and Freeport), the ship called on Ocho Rios, Grand Cayman and Cozumel.

Carnival Pride: The ship departed September 10 from Baltimore, as scheduled. Instead of sailing to the Bahamas, the ship headed to Canada and New England, calling on Halifax and St. John. Carnival allowed passengers to cancel and receive a future cruise credit. Those who sailed will receive a 25 percent future credit based on the cruise fare paid. The ship's previous cruise, which departed September 3, sailed a modified itinerary.

Carnival Fascination: The ship departed San Juan on September 10 on its scheduled cruise to Dominica, Barbados, St. Lucia, Antigua and St. Kitts. The next sailing, a seven-night cruise scheduled to depart San Juan on September 17, will operate a modified itinerary, with calls to Dominica, Barbados, St. Lucia, Antigua and St. Kitts.

Carnival Breeze:The ship's September 17 seven-night sailing will depart Galveston on a slightly modified itinerary, with calls to Freeport and Nassau.

All passengers on Carnival's canceled cruises will receive full refunds. Those booked on shortened itineraries will receive a pro-rated refund of the missed days if they sail, or a future cruise credit equal to the amount of their cruise fare, if they choose to cancel.

Those on the affected itineraries can get the latest news via Carnival's text alert system, by texting the following codes to "CRUISE" (278473):

  • Carnival Paradise: CCL1
  • Carnival Conquest: CCL2
  • Carnival Glory: CCL3
  • Carnival Magic: CCL4
  • Carnival Splendor: CCL5
  • Carnival Vista: CCL6
  • Carnival Liberty: CCL7
  • Carnival Victory 9/11: CCL8
  • Carnival Sensation 9/07: CCL9
  • Carnival Sensation 9/11: CCL10 
  • Carnival Ecstasy: CCL11
  • Carnival Freedom: CCL12
  • Carnival Dream: CCL13
  • Carnival Pride: CCL14
  • Carnival Fascination: CCL15 
  • Carnival Paradise 9/11: CCL16 

Celebrity Cruises

Celebrity Equinox: Celebrity Equinox sailed a modified version of its 11-night cruise, which departed from Miami September 4. The September 15 sailing of Equinox departed one hour earlier than scheduled, from Miami, and will call on Falmouth, Jamaica on September 23 to replace the September 24 call on Key West.


MSC Cruises

MSC Divina: MSC Divina's September 9 sailing was canceled. The ship ended its previous Caribbean itinerary two days early, returning to port port September 7 to disembark passengers who wished to return home. It departed the same day with the remaining passengers and waited out the storm in Cozumel, where it stayed until it was safe to return. The ship arrived back in Miami September 13, and passengers have disembarked. The cruise departing from Miami on September 16 will undertake an amended seven-night itinerary, with visits to Montego Bay, Georgetown, Costa Maya and Nassau. From September 23, the ship will resume scheduled sailings, alternating between seven-night Eastern Caribbean and Western Caribbean itineraries. Eastern Caribbean sailings will feature calls to Antigua to replace St. Maarten until the island has recovered from the hurricane.

MSC Opera: As a result of Cuba's state of emergency, the line has adjusted MSC Opera's upcoming cruise. Instead of turning around in Havana September 9, the ship stayed in Cozumel (where it arrived September 8) through September 10. Embarkation and disembarkation operations took place that day. MSC arranged transfers from Cozumel to Cancun Airport and back for outward-bound and incoming passengers and assisted those who needed to rebook flights.

Passengers on the canceled sailing will receive a full refund of their cruise as well as a 25-percent future cruise credit. Those who disembarked Divina September 7 will receive a refund for the two days missed and a 25-percent future cruise credit; those who stayed onboard for the remaining two days also will receive a 25-percent future cruise credit.


Disney Cruise Line

Disney Dream: Disney Dream's September 8 and September 11 cruises have been canceled. The ship's previous cruise, which departed September 4 from Port Canaveral and sailed a revised itinerary, returned to port a day early (September 7) to disembark passengers.

Disney Fantasy: The ship's September 9 cruise was canceled. Its previous cruise, which departed September 2 from Port Canaveral and had been modified, returned to port two days earlier than planned (September 7) to disembark passengers. The ship's September 23 and October 7 Eastern Caribbean sailings have been modified to include the following Western Caribbean calls: Cozumel, George Town and Falmouth.

Passengers on the canceled Disney cruises will receive a 100 percent refund and 25 percent future cruise credit.

Those on the modified itineraries will receive refunds for the day(s) missed, plus a 25 perfect future cruise credit.


Bahamas Paradise Cruise Line

Grand Celebration: The ship's September 8, 11 and 14 Bahamas sailings out of the Port of Palm Beach have been canceled. Refunds will be issued, and passengers who reschedule their cruise by September 30 will receive $50 onboard credit, per cabin. The ship is currently alongside in the Port of Palm Beach, offering free hot meals to first responders and deeply discounted accommodations for others affected by the storm.


Follow our Hurricane Zone for more information on ways to prepare for hurricane season cruising, an inside look at the 2017 Atlantic season outlook and more.

--By Cruise Critic staff


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