Typhoon Hits China, Minor Cruise Impact

September 24, 2008

With winds of over 100 miles per hour, Typhoon Hagupit made landfall in southern China's Guangdong province today, days after wreaking havoc on the Philippines. Three ships from Hong Kong-based Star Cruises have been affected by the storm.

Superstar Virgo, which was scheduled to return to Hong Kong today at 4 p.m., will be delayed until 8 a.m. Thursday. As a result, tomorrow's three-night cruise will now be a two-night cruise, with the departure scheduled for 6 p.m. Thursday.

SuperStar Gemini's arrival today in Hong Kong has been pushed back from 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Passengers embarking today will now do so starting at 7 p.m. The ship is scheduled to sail just before midnight.

Yesterday, SuperStar Pisces' one-night cruise departing from Hong Kong was canceled.

Typhoon Hagupit took down trees, caused damage to buildings and necessitated thousands of preemptive evacuations. Hagupit, the 14th powerful storm to hit Asia this year, is being blamed for the deaths of eight people in the Philippines.

The only other ships in Asia now are a long way from the storm-affected area, visiting more northern ports like Japan's Hakodate and Kagoshima, and China's Shanghai. Ships scheduled to visit the area in October include Holland America's Amsterdam, Diamond Princess, Costa Allegra and Regent Seven Seas Cruises' Seven Seas Mariner.

At this point, Hagupit has been downgraded to a tropical storm. It is next forecast to head to northeast Vietnam, bringing with it large amounts of rain.

While cruise travelers tend to focus on the Atlantic and Pacific hurricane seasons, it's important to remember that typhoons can impact the northwest Pacific Ocean. While typhoons can form year round, the majority of storms occur between May and November.

Stay tuned. We'll be keeping an eye on the situation and any potential impact on ports of call.

--by Dan Askin, Assistant Editor