Hurricane Dean Pounds Caribbean
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(7:40 p.m.) -- Clear of the islands of the Eastern and Southern Caribbean, Hurricane Dean damage reports continue to surface, with the latest information coming from Jamaica. Although seaports will be fully functional in Montego Bay and Ocho Rios by Wednesday, all cruise lines have cancelled Jamaica calls for the rest of the week -- all except for Royal Caribbean. Freedom of the Seas will call in Montego Bay on Wednesday as originally scheduled.
There's also good news for Cancun and the Yucatan Peninsula, where Hurricane Dean was first said to be heading. Still a Category Four storm (originally predicted to grow to a Category Five), Dean's course has taken a more southerly route than was previously forecasted, so the heavy tourist areas may also be spared. We'll update our port reports often as new information is received.
Here's the latest:
According to the Jamaica tourist board's latest report, recovery crews are still surveying the overall damage to the island.
Like several other Caribbean islands, preliminary reports indicate that Jamaica has avoided the potentially devastating consequences resulting from a direct hit by Hurricane Dean, with the eye skirting, rather than hovering over, the southern end of the island. Jamaica's two largest cruise ports, Montego and Ocho Rios, are located on the north coast of the island, and as a result, tourist infrastructure (resorts, airports) has remained largely undamaged. The majority of the issues appear to be in the form of flooding, downed trees and utility poles, and a "substantial amount of damage to roads."
Most cruise lines have already re-routed their cruises from Eastern to Western Caribbean itineraries through the following week; one notable exception, however, is Royal Caribbean’s Freedom of the Seas. That ship departed yesterday from Miami for a seven-night Western Caribbean trip and will call on Wednesday at Montego Bay.
Folks at popular tourist attractions like Ocho Rios' Dolphin Cove and Red Stripe (catamaran trip to Dunn's River) told Cruise Critic that they will reopen for business this Wednesday. Montego Bay's Pier One on the waterfront will be fully operational by tomorrow. Check our list of updated itineraries for more information.
Dean ended up passing 100 miles south of the Cayman Islands, sparing the island of severe damage though Grand Cayman, a major cruise destination, did get quite a bit of rain and wind. Tourist infrastructure is operating normally, and both Freedom of the Seas and Rhapsody of the Seas will visit Grand Cayman on Thursday as scheduled.
Hurricane Dean passed north of the island, resulting in heavy rains, power outages and downed trees. By Saturday, electricity was restored, and the main tourism infrastructure was back in place. Popular attractions such as International Riding Stables and the St. Lucia Golf & Country Club are open for business, but guests should not expect beaches or golf courses. Horseback riders should expect a fair amount of debris on the beach, and golfers are restricted to play on the back nine. The sand in bunkers has also been washed away. No date has been set for the course to be fully functioning.
Barbados was generally spared from the hurricane, with only rain and some flooding to report and no major damages to the island. Tourist attractions, such as the Mount Gay Rum Tour and Andromeda Botanic Gardens, are open for business as usual.
A least two people were reported dead as a result of Hurricane Dean. We'll provide more detailed information as soon as it's received.
Widespread flooding (and destruction of all of Martinique's banana crop) were reported, as were the deaths of two people, according to the Associated Press. Official word from Martinique's tourist bureau is forthcoming.
Though the shared-island nation (Dominican Republic occupies part of Hispaniola; Haiti's the other nation) was spared the worst of Dean, the hurricane created huge waves of up to 20 feet high on the southern coast, resulting in flooding roads. One boy drowned. Tourist infrastructure is expected to be back in place as normal at port magnets such as La Samana and Casa de Campo, but as today is a national holiday (Restoration Day), businesses are closed anyway.
--by Dan Askin, Assistant Editor
Update: Hurricane Dean Impact on Jamaica, Rest of Caribbean
Hurricane Dean Pounds Caribbean