(July 14, 4 p.m. EDT) – Tropical Storm Bertha is moving closer to Bermuda, bringing dangerous winds and powerful swells to the island. The storm has caused a number of itinerary changes for cruise ships heading to to the region. Most recently, Royal Caribbean announced this morning that Explorer of the Seas will be postponing its planned Bermuda port stop, which was scheduled for today, until Tuesday, July 15.
Explorer of the Seas is currently sailing a five-night Bermuda cruise, roundtrip from Cape Liberty, New Jersey. Instead of docking at King's Warf today as was planned, the ship will be taking a sea day in an effort to avoid unfavorable weather conditions.
Likewise, Norwegian Cruise Line announced that it was postponing Norwegian Majesty's Bermuda call, which was scheduled for today, until approximately 6:30 p.m. Tuesday. Norwegian Majesty, currently sailing a seven-night Bermuda cruise roundtrip from Baltimore, will replace its first day in Bermuda with a day at sea. NCL has not confirmed any itinerary changes for Norwegian Dream, which is headed to Bermuda on Tuesday, July 15. NCL's Norwegian Dawn departed Bermuda on Friday, July 11 as planned.
Caribbean Princess also bypassed Bermuda because of the storm. The ship skipped its scheduled stop on Saturday, July 12 and headed straight for San Juan. The National Hurricane Center reports that Bertha is moving northwest at 8 miles per hour -- a significant increase in speed from yesterday, when it was virtually stationary -- toward Bermuda. Bertha has maximum sustained winds near 65 m.p.h., and the NHC expects the storm's present conditions to persist for a day or two. The storm will most likely turn to the north later today and pass to the east of Bermuda by tonight, according to the NHC.
Yesterday, Bertha weakened from a hurricane to a tropical storm, but the storm is still impacting weather conditions in Bermuda and as far away as New Jersey. Over the weekend, Bertha's powerful waves caused deadly riptides at the Jersey Shore, which took the lives of three swimmers. --by Caroline Costello, Editorial Assistant
Update: Bertha Affects Norwegian Majesty Itinerary