Hurricane Dean Heads South; May Bypass Cozumel

August 20, 2007

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Hurricane Dean Pounds Caribbean

Tropical Storm Dean Speeds Up

Hurricane Dean, still tracking at 150 miles per hour and still a mighty powerful Category Four storm, is heading in a more southerly direction than previously anticipated. As a result, the storm, which clipped Jamaica and then went south on Grand Cayman, will also likely miss a direct hit over Cozumel, Playa del Carmen and Cancun.

Indeed, Royal Caribbean is planning to maintain Freedom of the Seas' planned Western Caribbean itinerary. That ship, which left Miami Sunday, will be the first to call at Jamaica's Montego Bay on Wednesday. And both Freedom of the Seas and Rhapsody of the Seas will visit Grand Cayman, again as scheduled, on Thursday.

A company spokesman told us that he's hopeful that Cozumel will also stay on the itinerary as planned.

What's also good news is that with ports reopening so quickly -- from the Southern Caribbean islands of St. Lucia and Barbados, which got the first lashings from Dean, to the aforementioned -- travelers heading out on voyages beginning this weekend should find no disruptions to itineraries (that is, unless another storm approaches which seems unlikely).

In the meantime, we turn our attention to ports lying south of the Cozumel/Playa del Carmen region on Mexico's Yucatan; most notably, Costa Maya is currently lying in Dean's path. Also on alert are Progresso and Belize City.

In the meantime, our updated list of itinerary changes follows.

--by Carolyn Spencer Brown, editor