(9:51 a.m. EDT) -- Two Princess Cruises ships sailing Asian waters have been forced to change course due to Typhoon Neoguri, the strongest storm to hit Japan this year.
Passengers on Diamond Princess missed a scheduled Kobe port call, as well as a day of Inland Sea scenic cruising. Instead, the ship is taking an "avoiding route" around the north end of the island of Honshu, through the Kanmon Straight to Beppu on the island of Kyushu, where it will arrive on schedule. The remainder of the itinerary will proceed as scheduled.
Sapphire Princess, which departed Shanghai on July 8 also is sailing a slightly altered itinerary, skipping scheduled stops at Jeju, South Korea and Kagoshima, Japan. In their place the ship visited Inchon, South Korea on Wednesday and sailed one extra sea day.
According to Weather.com, Neoguri is the strongest tropical cyclone to develop in the Western Pacific basin this year. The storm officially became a typhoon - the Western Pacific equivalent of a hurricane -- Friday, July 4. When the storm's wind speeds reached 150 mile per hour, it earned the designation of super typhoon from the Joint Typhoon Warning Center.
--By Dori Saltzman, News Editor