(11:05 p.m.) -- Katrina is winding down after making landfall just east of New Orleans this morning and causing flooding and destruction along the Gulf Coast. The center of what is now a tropical storm is currently located near Columbus, Mississippi; forecasters expect Katrina to continue across northeastern Mississippi and northwestern Alabama tonight.
So far the strongest storm of the season, Katrina reached Category Five status before coming ashore as a Category Four; maximum sustained winds are currently 60 miles per hour. Surging waves and isolated tornadoes will continue to pose a threat to surrounding areas; the ports of both New Orleans and Mobile are closed. Earlier today, wind ripped two holes in the ceiling of New Orleans' Superdome, a last-resort shelter for folks who were unable to evacuate, according to MSNBC.
All coastal warnings have been discontinued.
Below are storm-related changes to upcoming itineraries reported by major cruise lines in all affected areas. For information on changes to cruises already in progress, please read our previous storm coverage.
Carnival's Holiday will end a cruise tomorrow in Tampa instead of Mobile. The ship will remain docked in Tampa until noon on Wednesday, and guests may disembark the vessel either tomorrow between 8:30 a.m. and noon, or Wednesday between 8 a.m. and noon. Carnival will provide free motorcoach transportation to the Tampa airport both days. Guests who purchased air transportation from Carnival will receive assistance from the company's air/sea department in changing their flights.
Holiday's August 29 voyage from Mobile has been canceled. Booked passengers will receive a full refund.
Sensation's September 1 and September 5 voyages will depart from Galveston instead of New Orleans; itineraries remain unchanged. Guests who purchased air transportation from Carnival will receive assistance from the company's air/sea department in changing their flights. For both voyages, guests who opt to sail will receive a $50 per-person shipboard credit, as well as a 50 percent discount good toward a future three- to five-day Carnival cruise; guests who opt to cancel will receive a full refund.
Carnival Conquest arrived in Galveston yesterday instead of New Orleans due to a mandatory evacuation of the city. Guests parked at the pier in New Orleans will not be able to access their cars until the storm passes and there is a complete assessment of the area. For more information, please call the port's toll-free hotline (866-476-7866).
A customer service representative for Delta Queen Steamboat Company tells us that there are no itinerary changes on any of their vessels at this time.
Check back often; we'll continue to provide updates and itinerary changes as necessary.