Carnival announces that its Holiday, on a longer-than-planned voyage as it waited out Ivan in Galveston, will return to home port New Orleans on Friday night. As a result, its next scheduled voyage has been converted to a two night cruise-to-nowhere from the usual four night New Orleans-Cozumel itinerary. Holiday will depart Saturday evening at 7 p.m. As a result of the major change, Carnival is offering folks who sail on the modified cruise a 50 percent refund and $50 per person onboard credit. Carnival's even compensating folks who booked their own air (and who must pay a change fee) -- it's offering them $100 reimbursement with proof.
Holland America's Zuiderdam, which departs Saturday from Ft. Lauderdale, will maintain its planned Western Caribbean schedule but will go to Costa Maya instead of Grand Cayman.
At this point, Grand Cayman is not open for cruise ships so any vessel scheduled to call there this weekend will see an itinerary alteration. Carnival, for instance, is sending some ships (such as Sensation and Triumph) to Costa Maya instead; others get an extra sea day (such as Carnival Conquest).
In the meantime, Caribbean tourism officials are assessing damages:
As we mentioned, the silence from the folks at Grand Cayman is not a good sign; word from sources there is that they'll be able to discuss the dates of possible returns to the island sometime later this week (and word is that cruises scheduled to visit there next week will have to seek alternate arrangements). As we said earlier today: travelers who expected to sail itineraries that include Grand Cayman in the next few weeks should prepare for changes.
Jamaica's got good news. Just a few days after Hurricane Ivan brushed past the island with its Category Five winds, Jamaica is ready to begin welcoming cruise ships. Princess' Caribbean Princess has already visited Montego Bay and Royal Caribbean's Mariner of the Seas spent the day at Ocho Rios.
At this point, Grenada is facing such severe devastation that cruise lines are replacing calls there with ports such as Dominica for, at least, the near future.
The impact of Hurricane Ivan's predecessor -- remember Francis? -- on the Bahamas continues to be felt. While Nassau is back to normal, and cruise ships have returned, Freeport, on Grand Bahama Island, suffered major damage. At this point, the airport has reopened and numerous resorts, such as The Westin at Our Lucaya and the The Sheraton at Our Lucaya, are closed for the next 30 to 60 days for repair. There’s no word yet on cruise ship returns. A Carnival spokeswoman said definitively
Also heavily impacted by Hurricane Frances are cruise line private islands. None of them -- and these include NCL's Great Stirrup Cay, Princess' Princess Cay, Royal Caribbean's CocoCay and Disney's Castaway Cay -- are not as yet welcoming ships.