(10:30 p.m.) -- The National Hurricane Center is reporting that Noel has reached Category One hurricane status, with maximum sustained winds of 80 miles per hour. The storm has also increased its forward speed, and is now progressing at a pace of 20 m.p.h. away from the Bahamas and southeast Florida. Hurricane Noel is expected to weaken, however, over the next 24 hours.
The latest forecasts anticipate Noel heading up the East Coast of the United States before reaching the Canada and New England cruise region late this weekend.
For now, a tropical storm warning remains in effect for the central and northwestern Bahamas; a hurricane watch is also in effect for the northwestern Bahamas. A tropical storm watch is also in place for southeast Florida.
In response, cruise lines have altered itineraries accordingly, with
Royal Caribbean, Carnival and Norwegian Cruise Line announcing itinerary changes.
Norwegian Cruise Line
Norwegian Sun, October 27 sailing (seven-night Western Caribbean cruise roundtrip Miami). Norwegian Sun will cancel its call to Great Stirrup Cay on Friday, November 2 and instead call at Key West, Florida.
Carnival Cruise Lines
Carnival's Celebration, October 29 sailing (five-night Bahamas cruise roundtrip Jacksonville). The ship has exchanged its originally scheduled November 1 stop in Nassau with a stop in Freeport (7 a.m. to 5 p.m.). The remaining itinerary is the same.
Carnival Sensation, October 28 sailing (four-night Bahamas cruise roundtrip Port Canaveral). Instead of docking overnight in Nassau on October 30 and leaving early the next morning (6 a.m. October 31), the ship is now only staying in Nassau for the day (7 a.m. to 6 p.m.). The remainder of the itinerary will be spent at sea.
Carnival Legend, October 28 sailing (seven-night Western Caribbean cruise roundtrip Tampa). The original itinerary has been changed; today's scheduled stop in Grand Cayman has been replaced by a sea day. The remaining port calls of Cozumel, Belize and Roatan remain unchanged.
Carnival Valor, October 28 sailing (seven-night Western Caribbean cruise roundtrip Miami). The ship will spend today at sea instead of calling at Grand Cayman as originally planned. The rest of the itinerary -- Roatan on Thursday, Belize on Friday and Cozumel Saturday -- will continue as scheduled.
Explorer of the Seas, October 26 sailing (nine-night Eastern Caribbean cruise roundtrip Cape Liberty). Explorer will not make its scheduled port call in Casa de Campo, Dominican Republic on Tuesday. Instead, the ship will visit St. Maarten on Tuesday, and continue its itinerary as scheduled on Wednesday.
Sovereign of the Seas, October 29 sailing (four-night Bahamas cruise roundtrip Port Canaveral). The vessel will not make its scheduled port calls in Coco Cay on Tuesday or Nassau on Wednesday. Instead, the ship will spend Tuesday at sea; Wednesday in Key West; Thursday at sea; and return to Port Canaveral as scheduled, Friday.
Majesty of the Seas, October 29 sailing (four-night Bahamas cruise roundtrip Miami). Majesty will not make its scheduled port call in Nassau on Tuesday or Coco Cay Wednesday. Instead, the ship will visit Key West on Tuesday; Cozumel on Wednesday; spend Thursday at sea; and return to the Port of Miami as scheduled on Friday.
Freedom of the Seas, October 28 sailing (seven-night Western Caribbean cruise roundtrip Miami). The order of ports of call has been reversed from the original. Freedom will now visit Cozumel on Tuesday; Grand Cayman on Wednesday; and Ocho Rios on Thursday. Due to a berthing conflict, the stop in Labadee has been cancelled, replaced by a day at sea.
Enchantment of the Seas, October 27 sailing (five-night Western Caribbean cruise roundtrip Ft. Lauderdale). The revised itinerary is as follows: Monday in Key West from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.; at sea Tuesday; Nassau from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday.
More changes are expected. We'll let you know as soon as reports are released.
--by Dan Askin, Assistant Editor
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Update: Noel Reaches Hurricane Status
November 2, 2007