2:20 p.m. -- Update: A spokesman for Carnival Cruise Lines has announced that Tropical Storm Olga has prompted an itinerary change for Carnival Conquest. Conquest will forego its scheduled stop at Grand Cayman on Thursday, instead calling on Cozumel a day early. On Friday, when the ship was orginally slated to call on Cozumel, Conquest will visit Progreso. The ship's time in each port has also been revised and is as follows: Thursday in Cozumel (7 a.m.-5 p.m.), Friday in Progreso (9 a.m.-5 p.m.).
Tropical Storm Olga, which has caused delayed and canceled ports calls for several cruise ships sailing the Caribbean since Monday, is expected to weaken and could dissipate by late today.
According to the National Hurricane Center in Miami, Olga's maximum sustained winds had fallen to near 40 miles per hour as of 10 a.m. today. The center of the storm was situated west of Hispaniola, about 75 miles south of Guantanamo, Cuba. Olga continues to move westward at 23 m.p.h., and is expected to continue on that track.
Olga's impact on Caribbean cruise itineraries appears to be subsiding. On Tuesday, the post-hurricane season storm forced both Norwegian Cruise Line and Royal Caribbean to cancel port calls. NCL's Norwegian Dawn bypassed a scheduled stop at La Samana in the Dominican Republic, and Freedom of the Seas canceled a call to the Royal Caribbean's private island of Labadee, Haiti.
In addition to those changes, a Princess Cruises spokesperson told Cruise Critic that the storm will cause Caribbean Princess to be delayed in her arrival to St. Maarten today by approximately three hours.
Celebrity, Carnival and Costa Cruises, which all sail in the affected region, have reported no delays or changes to their Caribbean itineraries because of the storm.
Olga, which formed as a subtropical storm over the Virgin Islands, was upgraded to a tropical storm by the National Hurricane Center at 8 p.m. Tuesday. Forecasters expect rainfall amounts of one to two inches for the southeastern Bahamas, two to four inches for eastern Cuba, and four to six inches over Hispaniola with a possibility of producing dangerous flash floods and mudslides.
A relatively quiet 2007 hurricane season officially came to a close November 30 after producing 14 named storms and just six hurricanes. Olga is the first tropical storm to form in December since Tropical Storm Zeta formed on December 30, 2005.
Cruise Critic will continue to update any itinerary changes as they are announced.
--by Michael Potter, Assistant Editor