Tweet (2:17 p.m. EDT) -- A Royal Caribbean spokeswoman tells us that Bermuda's ports will be closed from Friday through Monday, as Hurricane Igor bears down on the island nation. The port closures have forced several cruise lines to change itineraries.
According to the National Hurricane Center's 11 a.m. EDT update, Igor is located about 430 miles east-northeast of the northern Leeward Islands and 910 miles south-southeast of Bermuda. Maximum sustained winds are near 140 miles per hour, and the storm is moving in a northwesterly direction.
Right behind Igor is Hurricane Julia, which has weakened to a Category Two storm with maximum sustained winds near 100 miles per hour. At this point, Julia is even farther from land than Igor and is likely to be reduced to a tropical storm by Friday; there's no immediate cruise impact.
Cruise Ship Itinerary Changes
Royal Caribbean spokeswoman Cynthia Martinez tells us that the Bermuda port closures will impact Enchantment of the Seas, which is scheduled to depart from Baltimore on September 18. Instead of spending Monday and Tuesday docked in King's Wharf, Bermuda, the ship will instead sail to Nassau, arriving on Monday and staying overnight until noon on Tuesday. Royal Caribbean is offering passengers an onboard credit or the option to cancel and receive a future cruise credit for the amount of the cruise fare paid for the Enchantment of the Seas sailing.
MSC Poesia was scheduled to call in Hamilton, Bermuda, on Saturday and Sunday at the tail end of a transatlantic sailing before arriving in New York on September 21. Instead, the ship will spend two days in Boston, arriving at 9 a.m. on Saturday and departing at 7 a.m. on Monday.
Holland America's Veendam leaves Bermuda today and is scheduled to return on Tuesday. Holland America is waiting until the storm hits to announce whether a timing change will be necessary.
Weather Outlook: Next Affected Ships & Ports
According to map projections, Hurricane Igor will reach Bermuda on Sunday or Monday. There are currently no coastal watches or warnings in effect for Hurricane Igor.
However, swells generated by the storm may affect the Leeward Islands, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands today and Friday, and the Bahamas from later today through the weekend. Swells may also reach the East Coast of the U.S. later today and continue through the weekend. The swells may also cause dangerous surf conditions in Bermuda over the next few days.
NCL's Norwegian Spirit is also scheduled to call in Bermuda over the weekend. A representative has not yet responded to our inquiries about itinerary changes.
--by Erica Silverstein, Senior Editor
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Bermuda Ports Close Due to Hurricane Igor, Cruise Ships Impacted
September 16, 2010