Wacky Weather, Accidents Impact Cruise Ships

December 12, 2007
Although there have been some wonderful high notes (the christening of Cunard's Queen Victoria in the U.K., the laying of Royal Caribbean's Genesis' keel in Finland), this has certainly been one of the more bizarre weeks in cruise news that we can remember -- and it's only Wednesday!

The big news of course is that Norwegian Dream hit a barge Monday in Montevideo, Uruguay, causing overnight delays for it and Celebrity Infinity (not to mention knocking some cargo containers and automobiles into the ocean); Orient Lines' Marco Polo couldn't get in either and moved on to its next port.

But there have also been a few weird weather-related incidents. On Monday, Azamara Quest was turned away from Jamaica's Port Antonio due to rough seas, according to radiojamaica.com. Meanwhile, Tropical Storm Olga made a post-season appearance -- wreaking havoc elsewhere in the Caribbean on itineraries for lines including Carnival, Royal Caribbean and Norwegian Cruise Line.

And now we've learned that fog delayed Carnival Conquest's departure from Galveston.

The 53-mile Houston Shipping Channel was socked in with fog on Sunday and Monday, causing Carnival Conquest, which was supposed to depart from Galveston at 5 p.m. Sunday, to spend the night in port. Because of this, Carnival Ecstasy, which was due back to Galveston at 7 a.m. Monday, also had to wait the fog out in the Gulf of Mexico until later that day.

Conquest finally set sail at around 2 p.m. on Monday and Ecstasy was able to dock at around 4 p.m. Because of the delay, Conquest canceled its port call in Jamaica; the new itinerary was to include Grand Cayman and Cozumel. But Tropical Storm Olga interfered as well, causing Carnival to drop Grand Cayman. Conquest will now sail to Cozumel tomorrow and Progreso on Friday. Those are the only port stops the ship will make.

Sea fog is common this time of year in the Houston Ship Channel, according to the Galveston Daily News, as it forms when warm, moist air overrides cooler water near the coast. However, having this much of it over several days certainly is an anomaly -- and one that has not gone unnoticed on Cruise Critic's Carnival forum, where a group of concerned members watched the Galveston harbor Web cam patiently for cruise ship movement. Havinsnest, one of the Cruise Critic members on Galveston "fog watch," jokingly posted on Sunday: "I hope no one asks me what I spent my morning doing since I skipped church."

Carnival has not yet responded to our request for additional information; we'll keep you posted. In the meantime, our fingers are crossed for smooth sailing ahead.

--by Jana Jones, Cruise Critic contributor