Tropical Storm Dean Speeds Up
(4:30 p.m.) -- Hurricane Dean, now a Category Four hurricane with winds in the 145-mile-per-hour range, is moving westward at 17 m.p.h. and Jamaica is still in its direct path. A hurricane watch remains in effect for the Cayman Islands and parts of Haiti (which means that hurricane conditions are possible within 36 hours).
Cruise lines, with one notable exception, have pretty much rerouted ships that, embarking this weekend, had planned to sail seven-night itineraries to the Western Caribbean . The exception? It strikes us as highly unusual that Royal Caribbean has not yet announced changes to Freedom of the Seas' cruise this week, which departs Sunday from Miami and is headed smack into the middle of places most likely impacted (Jamaica, Grand Cayman and Cozumel). The cruise line notes its next announcement will come on Monday at 1 p.m.; we'll provide updates then.
We'll also be reporting Monday on changes, if necessary, to short cruise itineraries that had been planned for Monday (or Tuesday) departures. So stay tuned.
Damage to islands like St. Lucia, Martinique and St. Kitts was reportedly not as severe as expected; check back Monday for a more comprehensive report on the aftermath of Hurricane Dean.
Specifically, here's the latest on itinerary changes:
This Just In!
Caribbean Princess, due to sail a Western Caribbean itinerary from Ft. Lauderdale on Sunday, has swapped regions and will now call at ports in the Eastern Caribbean. The schedule calls for a stop at Princess Cays on Monday; at sea on Tuesday; St. Maarten, Wednesday; St. Thomas, Thursday; and sea days on Friday and Saturday before returning to Ft. Lauderdale.
Carnival Cruise Lines
Carnival Destiny departed from San Juan on August 12. Instead of visiting Antigua today (August 17) as originally scheduled, the ship will spend a sea day chugging north to Tortola, where it will arrive on Saturday for a 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. call. Carnival Destiny will then return to San Juan on August 19 as scheduled.
Carnival Miracle departed from New York on August 15. Originally scheduled to call on August 18 in San Juan, August 19 in St. Thomas and August 20 in Tortola, the ship will now stop in Grand Turk from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. on August 18, in Half Moon Cay from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on August 19, and Nassau from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. on August 20.
Carnival Triumph, August 18 departure from Miami. The ship will visit San Juan, St. Thomas, Half Moon Cay and Nassau instead of Cozumel, Grand Cayman and Jamaica (Ocho Rios) as first scheduled.
Carnival Imagination, August 18 departure from Miami. The ship will visit Grand Turk, Half Moon Cay and Nassau. The original itinerary was Grand Cayman and Jamaica (Ocho Rios).
Carnival Inspiration, August 18 departure from Miami. The ship will visit Nassau and Freeport instead of Grand Cayman and Calica.
Holiday, August 18 departure from Mobile. Freeport and Key West have replaced the original itinerary of Costa Maya and Cozumel.
Carnival Legend, August 19 departure from Tampa. The ship will visit Key West, Nassau, Half Moon Cay and Grand Turk. The original itinerary was Grand Cayman, Cozumel, Belize and Costa Maya.
Carnival Valor, August 19 departure from Miami. The ship will visit Nassau, St. Thomas and St. Maarten instead of Grand Cayman, Isla Roatan, Belize and Costa Maya as originally scheduled.
This Just In!
Carnival Conquest, August 19 departure from Galveston. The ship will still call at Grand Cayman and Cozumel as scheduled but will bypass Montego Bay.
Carnival Fantasy, August 20 departure from New Orleans. The ship will visit Key West (instead of Costa Maya) and Cozumel.
Carnival Fascination, August 20 departure from Miami. The ship will visit Key West and Nassau (instead of Calica).
Carnival Ecstasy, August 20 departure from Galveston. The ship will visit Cozumel as scheduled, but will not be visiting Progeso as originally planned.
Enchantment of the Seas will depart from Ft. Lauderdale's Port Everglades on Saturday -- as scheduled -- but the itinerary has been revised. The ship will call at Labadee, Haiti on Monday and Nassau on Wednesday before returning to Port Everglades on Thursday as planned.
The Galveston-based Rhapsody of the Seas will still depart on Sunday, but its itinerary is modified. It will call at Key West on Tuesday, Grand Cayman on Thursday and Cozumel on Friday before returning to Galveston.
Editor's Note: As the storm relates to this cruise in particular, there could be more changes based on disruption and damage caused by Dean; stay tuned.
So far, there are no changes to Freedom of the Seas' Western Caribbean cruise, departing from Miami on Sunday. But -- as with Rhapsody of the Seas' planned itinerary -- this could change.
Other cruise lines offering Caribbean voyages this weekend include NCL and Disney; so far none have posted any changes. We'll update frequently, as necessary, so stay tuned.
--by Dan Askin, Assistant Editor, Carolyn Spencer Brown, Editor, and Erica Sapio, Assistant Editor