(Update, 7:10 p.m., December 26: According to WCSC-TV news in Charleston, Carnival Fantasy's arrival in port Monday, December 27, will be delayed several hours. Carnival is advising embarking passengers to arrive after 1:30 p.m. In addition, Norwegian Jewel is underway.
It should be noted that after Sunday, New York's ports, which include New Jersey's Cape Liberty in Bayonne, are quiet; Royal Caribbean, whose Explorer of the Seas sails from New Jersey on week-plus cruises to the Caribbean, won't be back for its next voyage until January 2.)
(11:30 a.m. EST) -- With winter's first mega-storm bearing down on the East Coast, the impact on cruising has been minimal. From the Deep South to Boston, major ports are expecting anywhere from a few inches to a few feet of the white stuff through tomorrow morning.
We checked with Carnival
spokeswoman Jennifer de la Cruz, who reported by e-mail that there have been no changes announced so far for Carnival Pride
, scheduled to depart Baltimore at 4:30 p.m. EST, or Carnival Fantasy
, due in Charleston at 8 a.m. Monday morning.
(Then again, we're reminded of Carnival's actions last winter, when it dumped passengers out of Carnival Pride
right after a blizzard, and then left as scheduled hours later.)
In New York, which is predicted to get as much as 16 inches of snow when all is said and done, Norwegian Jewel
is slated to depart at 4 p.m. EST this afternoon. NCL
spokeswoman AnneMarie Mathews told us in an e-mail that all systems are go at this time.
The major East Coast airports remain open at this time, so it's likely that many passengers heading to southern ports for departures today made it on time. But as always, these sorts of events remind us that it pays to leave plenty of lead time when flying. And inasmuch as the cruise lines have no official responsibility if you can't make it to the ship because of storms, it pays to consider travel insurance -- particularly when there's a higher risk of foul weather.
--by John Deiner, Managing Editor