Hurricane Katrina Intensifies, Affects Weekend Cruises

August 27, 2005
(11:45 p.m.) -- Hurricane Katrina is intensifying in the Gulf of Mexico after dropping tremendous rain -- and causing severe flooding -- in southeastern Florida. Katrina is now a Category Three hurricane.

A turn toward the west has put folks along the northern Gulf Coast on watch. According the National Hurricane Center, a hurricane warning has been issued for the north central Gulf Coast, including New Orleans; a hurricane warning means that hurricane conditions are expected within the next 24 hours.

Maximum sustained winds are currently being clocked at 115 miles per hour. Weather forecasters predict the hurricane will make a second landfall somewhere between Louisiana and the Florida Panhandle on Monday.

Tampa, Mobile and New Orleans departures have already been affected. Itinerary changes have been reported by the following lines:

Royal Caribbean's Majesty of the Seas departed from Miami today on a converted two-day sailing. Guests who opted to cancel will receive a 50 percent refund; guests who opted to sail will receive an onboard credit of $100 per stateroom.

Empress of the Seas, now on four-night sailing, sailed from Tampa on a modified itinerary. The ship will return to Port Everglades on Monday.

Carnival's Sensation departed one hour earlier than scheduled today from New Orleans.

Holiday will be delayed arriving back to Mobile. Depending on Katrina's speed and path, the ship may arrive as late as Tuesday.

Holiday's upcoming cruise, originally scheduled to depart on Monday, will be delayed depending on the arrival from the previous cruise. It may be revised to a four-day sailing departing on Tuesday.

Carnival Conquest's current sailing will end in Galveston instead of New Orleans. The ship will remain docked in Galveston on Monday and guests are allowed to stay onboard while coordinating arrangements home. Carnival will provide free motorcoach transportation to the Houston airports; a $200 credit will be added to guests' shipboard accounts to offset additional travel expenses guests may incur in returning home. Additionally, all guests will receive a 25 percent discount on a future three- to seven-day cruise.

Carnival Miracle's August 28 voyage will depart from Port Everglades instead of Tampa. Carnival is urging drive-to guests not to bring their cars to Port Everglades as the voyage is expected to end in Tampa as scheduled. Guests booked on Sunday's voyage will receive free transportation by motorcoach from Tampa (available from both the port and airport) to Port Everglades; for guests who have purchased air transportation from Carnival, the air/sea department is providing assistance in changing their incoming flights to Fort Lauderdale or Miami. All guests will receive a $50 per-person shipboard credit.

Inspiration will end its current cruise in Port Everglades on Monday instead of Tampa, remained at sea and will arrive Saturday instead. The next voyage, set to depart Monday afternoon, will leave from Port Evergaldes. Carnival will provide complimentary motorcoach transportation between Ft. Lauderdale and the Tampa airport and cruise port for both embarking and debarking guests. Guests who have purchased air transportation from Carnival will be assisted in changing incoming flights to Ft. Lauderdale or Miami. All guests sailing on the August 29 departure from Port Everglades will receive a $50 per-person credit to their shipboard accounts.

Imagination, which was originally scheduled to end a cruise in Miami Thursday, remained at sea and will arrive Saturday instead. The following voyage, a four-day cruise, will instead be converted to a two-day Bahamas cruise departing Miami on Saturday. Guests who opt to sail this modified itinerary will receive a 50 percent refund of their cruise fare and a 50 percent discount off a cruise of three or four days. Guests who opt to cancel will receive a full refund.

Fascination, which was originally scheduled to end a four-day voyage in Miami Friday, will also spend an extra day at sea, arriving instead Saturday. The following voyage will be converted from a three-day cruise into a two-day Bahamas voyage departing on Saturday. Guests who opt to sail on the modified cruise will receive a 35 percent refund of their cruise fare and a 50 percent discount off a future three-day cruise. Guests who opt to cancel will receive a full refund.

At this point, Holland America's Zuiderdam is expected to arrive in Ft. Lauderdale Saturday morning as scheduled, and disembark passengers as scheduled for an unchanged itinerary.

We'll continue to report further news and itinerary changes, as needed, so check back often.