Update: Storms in the Atlantic Affect Carnival, Princess Cruises

August 17, 2009

(8:30 a.m. EDT) -- Tropical Storm Bill is now a hurricane -- making it the first named hurricane of the Atlantic season. Hurricane Bill has maximum winds of 75 miles per hour, and the National Hurricane Center says it could be a major hurricane by Wednesday.

(August 16, 9:15 p.m. EDT) -- According to the National Hurricane Center, Tropical Storm Ana has been downgraded to a tropical depression. Carnival representatives have informed us that both Carnival Victory and Carnival Liberty will be reverting back to their original itineraries. Carnival Victory will sail to St. Thomas on Monday, Dominica on Tuesday, Barbados on Wednesday, St. Lucia on Thursday, Antigua on Friday and St. Kitts on Saturday before debarking at San Juan on Sunday. Carnival Liberty will spend the day at sea tomorrow, and visit St. Thomas on Tuesday, San Juan on Wednesday, Grand Turk on Thursday and spend the day at sea on Friday before debarkation in Miami on Saturday.

(August 16, 4:15 p.m. EDT) -- Tropical Storms Ana and Bill, the first named storms of the Atlantic Hurricane Season, are impacting cruise itineraries in the Caribbean. According to the National Hurricane Center, Tropical Storm Ana is currently about 240 miles east of Dominica, has maximum sustained winds of 40 miles per hour and is expected to reach the Caribbean by early Monday.

Tropical Storm Bill, on the other hand, trails far behind Ana (about 1,555 miles east of the Lesser Antilles), and is much stronger, with maximum sustained winds being reported at 60 miles per hour. This tropical storm could become a hurricane on Monday.

A tropical storm watch is currently in effect for Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, the British Virgin Island, Antigua, St. Kitts, Nevis, St. Maarten, Dominica, St. Barth's and other islands in the region.

Cruise Ship Itinerary Changes

According to spokespersons from the lines, a handful of itinerary changes have been made for Princess Cruises' and Carnival Cruise Lines' ships. Here are the details:

Caribbean Princess: Departed from New York on Thursday and was scheduled to call in San Juan on Monday, St. Thomas on Tuesday and Grand Turk on Wednesday. According to Princess spokesperson Karen Candy, instead Caribbean Princess will visit Grand Turk on Monday and avoid its other two port calls completely. It will spend a day at sea on Tuesday, and call at Nassau on Wednesday and Port Canaveral on Thursday.

Carnival Freedom: Departed from Ft. Lauderdale yesterday and will call at Nassau today, rather than spending the day at sea. It will push back a visit to San Juan to Tuesday and spend the day at sea on Monday. The ship will visit to St. Thomas Wednesday in lieu of Antigua, and the call in Tortola will happen as scheduled on Thursday. Two days at sea round out the new itinerary, and the scheduled call in Nassau on Friday will be skipped, as the ship already docked there on Sunday.

Carnival Glory: Departed from Port Canaveral yesterday. Rather than heading closer to the storms, this ship will remain towards the north. The new itinerary calls for a day at Half Moon Cay on Monday, rather than a day at sea; a sea day is scheduled for Tuesday in lieu of the original call at St. Thomas; Grand Turk replaces St. Maarten on Wednesday. The cruise will finish up with back-to-back sea days, as scheduled, on Thursday and Friday.

Weather Outlook: Next Affected Ships & Ports

Royal Caribbean also has several cruise ships in the area, but there is no word from the line yet regarding altered itineraries.

Stay tuned. We'll be posting changes as they become available.

--by Kim Kazell, Assistant Editor

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