Hurricane Dennis Affects Weekend Cruises

July 10, 2005
(Updated: 11:25 a.m.) -- Will you cruise this weekend? Yes ... but don't rush to the pier just yet. Royal Caribbean delayed yesterday's sailings out of Miami and Ft. Lauderdale by a few hours, and Carnival has made adjustments to sailings arriving to and departing from Tampa, Mobile and New Orleans; in fact, Carnival Conquest's cruise out of New Orleans will leave a day late. Otherwise, most major lines are planning to embark and disembark as scheduled this weekend in ports along the Florida and Gulf coasts.

The storm that according to Reuters U.K. killed 32 in Cuba -- and caused deadly flooding in Haiti and mudslides in Jamaica -- is speeding toward the Gulf Coast. The good news is that Dennis merely skirted the Florida Keys. The bad news? The storm, now hovering on the Category Three/Category Four threshold, is expected to make landfall somewhere between Pensacola and Mobile this afternoon; with Dennis clocking in with maximum sustained winds of 140 miles per hour, the Florida Panhandle is already taking a beating wind-wise. A hurricane warning is in effect for the northeastern Gulf Coast, and a tropical storm warning is currently in effect for parts of Louisiana -- including metropolitan New Orleans -- and areas of Florida.

Cruise Critic has contacted all of the major cruise lines sailing out of affected areas. As of this morning, no new changes were reported. Here is a rundown of what cruise lines have told us so far (we'll continue to post changes as we receive them throughout the weekend):

Carnival Conquest, originally scheduled to return to New Orleans today, will arrive tomorrow morning. The voyage that would have left today will instead leave tomorrow at 2 p.m.; guests sailing onboard Carnival Conquest's shortened six-day voyage have been asked to arrive at the terminal between 10 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. on Monday. A scheduled call in Montego Bay will be canceled. Guests onboard the modified cruise will receive a $50 per-person shipboard credit, and a 15 percent refund of their cruise fare.

Sensation will end a five-day cruise as scheduled in New Orleans on Monday. Guests sailing on the Sensation voyage on Monday have been asked to arrive at the Julia Street Terminal starting at 4 p.m., as the ship is expected to sail later in the evening.

Inspiration, originally scheduled to depart yesterday afternoon, embarked passengers as normal but remained docked until the storm moved north of Tampa; the ship was expected to set sail early this morning, and will visit Cozumel on Monday and Costa Maya on Tuesday.

Carnival Miracle, originally scheduled to return to Tampa this morning at 7 a.m., will arrive at approximately 4 p.m.. Guests sailing onboard Carnival Miracle's July 10 cruise have been asked to arrive at the terminal between 6 and 9 p.m.; the ship will sail later this evening.

Fascination, setting sail on Monday, will skip a call in Key West on Tuesday.

Carnival also asked guests sailing on Holiday out of Mobile yesterday to arrive between 9 a.m. and noon; the ship sailed at 2:30 p.m., and a scheduled visit to Costa Maya will be replaced with a call in Progreso.

No changes are anticipated for voyages sailing to and from Miami and Port Canaveral.

No changes have been reported.

No changes have been reported.

Holland America
No changes have been reported.

No changes have been reported.

No changes have been reported.

Royal Caribbean
Navigator of the Seas, originally scheduled to depart from Miami yesterday at 5 p.m., was rescheduled to leave at 8 p.m. to "accommodate guests unable to make it to the port earlier due to airline flight delays" according to a company statement.

Empress of the Seas, originally scheduled to depart from Ft. Lauderdale yesterday at 5 p.m., was rescheduled to leave at 9 p.m. for the same reason. The ship will sail a modified itinerary: At this point, Empress is expected to spend the day at sea tomorrow (instead of calling in Key West), and visit Cozumel Monday in place of a sea day.

Guests sailing on Mariner of the Seas out of Port Canaveral were instructed to proceed to their port for boarding as planned.

Hurricane Dennis has already swept through the Western Caribbean but has fortunately caused little damage to major cruise ports like Ocho Rios in Jamaica, and Grand Cayman (which had its fair share of storm action last year). We'll continue to monitor the storm and offer new information through the weekend; check back with Cruise Critic's news.