Hurricane Emily Affects Weekend Itineraries

July 17, 2005

(11:10 p.m.) -- Hurricane Emily is quickly approaching Mexico's Yucatan peninsula, and is expected to make landfall near Cancun at around 2 a.m. Monday morning. Emily is currently a Category Four hurricane, with sustained winds of 135 miles per hour.

Emily passed just south of Jamaica yesterday bringing heavy rain and winds to the area; earlier this week, Emily caused major structural damage on Grenada, which was devastated by Ivan last year and is still recovering.

A hurricane warning is in effect for Mexico's Yucatan peninsula, including cruise mainstay Cozumel; tropical storm warnings and watches has been called for parts of Belize and Cuba.

At this point, Emily is not headed near major ports of embarkation, so actual departures won't likely be disrupted this weekend as they were with Hurricane Dennis (though landfall in southern Texas is a possibility earlier next week). However, folks departing on Western Caribbean cruises may want to be prepared for possible rerouting.

Carnival has swapped ports on several itineraries departing this weekend. Carnival Glory will steer clear of Belize, Cozumel and Progreso in favor of St. Thomas, St. Maarten and a day at sea; Elation will most likely avoid these three ports as well in favor of Freeport, Nassau and a day at sea, according to a company statement. Ecstasy will visit Cozumel on Tuesday instead of Monday, and miss a call at Calica. Sensation will stay at sea on Monday instead of visiting Costa Maya. Carnival Miracle will cut Costa Maya and Belize from the roster, and switch days in Grand Cayman and Cozumel to avoid storm activity (a call in Ocho Rios has also been added), and Carnival Victory will call on all scheduled ports in reverse order. Some changes may also be required to Carnival Conquest's itinerary, depending on the path of the storm.

NCL's Norwegian Sea will skip a call in Cozumel on Monday and instead visit Key West -- which just reopened to cruise ships after being battered by Hurricane Dennis.

Royal Caribbean, which tweaked this week's itineraries onboard Mariner, Explorer and Empress of the Seas, has not yet announced changes in itineraries for cruises departing this weekend -- but we'll report it if it does. We are also in close contact with Princess and Holland America -- other major players in the region at this time of year -- and we will update as changes are announced.