Dennis Marks Record-Breaking Season, Affects Itineraries
(Updated: 4:50 p.m.) -- Right on the heels of Tropical Storm Cindy, which made landfall (but caused minimal damage) in Louisiana last night, Tropical Storm Dennis is making good time over the Caribbean Sea and is expected to near Jamaica early tomorrow -- and could possibly reach hurricane status later today. According to Reuters, this is the first time in recorded history that four named tropical systems have formed in the Atlantic by July 5; in 2004, for example, Hurricane Danielle didn't pop up until mid-August.
A hurricane watch has been issued by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration for the Cayman Islands and central and eastern Cuba. Haiti and Jamaica are under a hurricane warning, and a tropical storm warning is in effect for the south coast of the Dominican Republic. The storm could graze south Florida as a hurricane as early as Friday. Maximum sustained winds are currently clocked at 70 miles per hour.
At this point, most of the cruise lines we've contacted have not yet altered Western Caribbean itineraries, but are monitoring Dennis' progress. A spokeswoman for Princess tells us that they "are in regular communication with Caribbean Princess but no itinerary changes have been made yet. Caribbean Princess is safely docked in Grand Cayman today." NCL tells us they are keeping a close eye on the situation as well.
One exception is Carnival -- the line has already made a few tweaks to itineraries, particularly where Jamaica is concerned. Carnival Victory's schedule is the hardest hit -- Cozumel, Grand Cayman and Ocho Rios have all been scrapped in favor of sea days and visits to Freeport and Nassau. Imagination will bypass Ocho Rios tomorrow and instead call in Cozumel. Sensation and Carnival Glory have also received slight itinerary adjustments.
Check back with Cruise Critic's news for additional changes in cruise-related travel.