Will Monday's Snow Affect Winter Cruises?

February 4, 2009
Update: Heathrow and Gatwick airports have now returned to a near normal service, with the majority of flights taking off on time with just a small number of cancellations. Scottish airports have been experiencing some disruption, and passengers are advised to contact their airline.

Royal Caribbean is advising guests travelling over the next few days to go to their departure airport as planned.

(2 February, 2009) -- The long, dark, cold and now snowy winter we're experiencing in the U.K. may be just the reason why travelers are flocking to Caribbean and exotic cruises. But for those Brits who planned to set off for cruises this week, Monday's massive snowstorm may mean more time spent shoveling and less spent snorkeling.

The good news is that at this point there are very few departures from U.K. ports such as Southampton, Dover and Harwich; no cruises are disrupted by Monday's snowstorm.

On the other hand, travelers who planned to fly out Monday or Tuesday to board cruises in Florida or the Caribbean were advised to stay in close contact with their airlines or cruise lines. Royal Caribbean, for one, has already posted a directive that notes that “currently the U.K. is being affected by adverse weather conditions which has had an effect on the internal and external transport system throughout the country. At Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. due to our departure dates around the world, we have experienced limited impact to our customers joining their cruises at their chosen departure destination. However for those who have been [affected], we are working with all our partners to ensure that they are able to join their chosen cruise at the earliest convenience.

“We have also provided all of our fly/cruise guests who are travelling within the next 48 hours (Monday and Tuesday) with a 24-hour contact number in the event of queries and our Operations team in Miami and London are assisting our inbound and outbound guests where possible.”

P&O and Cunard told Cruise Critic that their passengers are not impacted as all ships are mid-cruise. A Fred. Olsen spokeswoman told us that a segment of its world cruise on Black Watch is slated to depart Thursday from Papeete, Tahiti; Braemar also departs on Thursday, this time from Miami. The spokeswoman said no passengers were affected at this point.

This is the worst snow storm to affect Britain since 1991, with closed airport runways, flight cancellations, rail and road disruptions, and school closures.

At this point, the southeast of England has been hit the worst, with up to 13 inches recorded in Banstead, Surrey.

--by Kelly Ranson, U.K. Editor

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