(9:44 a.m.) -- Florida is recovering after Hurricane Wilma raced across the southern tip of the state on Monday, leaving millions without electricity and causing up to an estimated $10 billion in damage, according to Reuters. Wilma, the 21st storm of the busiest Atlantic hurricane season on record, devastated Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula before heading toward the U.S.
Recovery may take longer in some areas than others, however -- which creates a sticky situation not only for cruise passengers planning to sail out of Florida ports, but also for folks planning pre- or post-cruise stays in area hotels. We've compiled the most recent information about South Florida cruise port and hotel closures below. If you are concerned about a specific property, and cannot reach them directly, we recommend contacting the tourist board for more information (phone numbers have been provided).
Click here for an updated list of itinerary changes.
Ft. Lauderdale/Port Evergaldes
Port Everglades reopened to ship traffic this morning. Carnival Legend, which was rescheduled to embark and disembark passengers from Port Everglades yesterday, did so from Miami instead.
Various news outlets report that downtown Ft. Lauderdale was one of the hardest hit areas in Florida. At this point, 90 percent of hotels in the Ft. Lauderdale area are non-operational, and will remain so until power and water have been restored, according to the most recent report from the Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention & Visitors Bureau. Currently, 97 percent of Broward County is without power.
For more information visit www.sunny.org or call 800-22-SUNNY.
The Port of Miami is open. Carnival's Imaginaton, Fascination and Carnival Legend disembarked and embarked passengers there yesterday; Royal Caribbean's Enchantment of the Seas and Majesty of the Seas also arrived in Miami yesterday.
Other areas of the city began showing signs of recovery as early as Tuesday. According to the Miami Herald, 80 percent of Miami Beach's hotels regained electricity, as did downtown Miami's two largest hotels, the Intercontinental and the Hyatt Regency. The majority of hotels were ready to reopen as soon as they regained electricity -- and those damaged by Wilma predicted a full recovery within two weeks. However, officials are asking members of the community to stay off the streets unless absolutely necessary so crews can continue to clear the roads.
For more information, call 888-76MIAMI.
Key West's port is set to reopen this weekend, with the first cruise ships scheduled to return Tuesday.
Note: Cruise ports further north such as Port Canaveral, Tampa and Jacksonville are up and running, as are area hotels. One note: These facilities may be busier than usual with bookings from displaced tourists and residents, so if you are planning a pre- or post-cruise stay, do call ahead for room availability.
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Port Everglades Reopens; New Itinerary Changes Announced
October 28, 2005