Hurricane Bill Downgraded, More Itineraries Altered

August 22, 2009

(7:20 p.m. EDT) -- The National Hurricane Center, which downgraded Hurricane Bill to a category-two tropical cyclone Friday evening, has now downgraded it again to category-one status. The NHC reports that both a tropical storm warning and a tropical storm watch for parts of Nova Scotia, issued by Environment Canada, are still in effect, but the warning has been extended to include more of Nova Scotia. Tropical storm watches have also been issued for parts of Prince Edward Island and the southwestern portion of Newfoundland.

A tropical storm warning is also in effect for the coast of Massachusetts, including the islands of Martha's Vineyard and Nantucket.

According to the 5 p.m. advisory from the NHC, Hurricane Bill's maximum sustained winds have decreased to about 85 miles per hour -- down from 100 m.p.h. earlier today and 105 m.p.h. yesterday -- and is currently located about 300 miles south-southeast of Nantucket and about 585 miles south-southwest of Halifax, Nova Scotia.

Cruise Ship Itinerary Changes

The newest line to join the list of those making itinerary changes is Princess. Caribbean Princess, which was scheduled to depart from New York today for a Canada/New England voyage, will instead remain in New York until 5 a.m. tomorrow morning. At that time, it will depart and head straight for its scheduled stop in Boston on Monday, skipping a planned call in Newport, RI. The ship is now slated to arrive in Boston at 8 a.m. -- two hours ahead of schedule.

Holland America's Eurodam will also sail a slightly altered Canada/New England voyage, trading a scheduled stop tomorrow in Chartlottetown, Prince Edward Island, for a call in Gaspe, Quebec. So far, the rest of the itinerary -- including a sea day on Monday and a stop in Halifax, Nova Scotia, on Tuesday -- will continue as planned.

Royal Caribbean's Explorer of the Seas, which departed Cape Liberty on Thursday, will sail a revised itinerary that will visit San Juan on Sunday; St. Maarten on Monday; St. Thomas on Tuesday; and Kings Wharf, Bermuda, on Thursday.

Carnival Triumph, which departed from New York on Thursday for a four-night sailing, skipped a call in St. John, New Brunswick, today to navigate away from the storm and will return to New York on Monday, as scheduled.

Weather Outlook: Next Affected Ships & Ports

The tropical cyclone is expected to pass offshore of the coast of New England tonight and approach Nova Scotia on Sunday, weakening as its center passes north of the Gulf Stream. Large swells are still affecting Bermuda, the Bahamas and the southeast coast of the United States. Similar swells are expected to impact the remainder of the U.S. coast and the Canadian Maritimes this weekend, creating rough surf. (See above for impacted itineraries.)

Reports predict that Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland can expect anywhere between three and seven inches of rain to fall in the area as a result of Bill. Likewise, one to two inches are expected to fall in Bermuda, Nantucket, Cape Cod and Martha's Vineyard.

Norwegian Cruise Line has not yet altered itineraries for Norwegian Dawn, Norwegian Majesty or Norwegian Spirit, which are all scheduled to sail Bermuda voyages from the United States' East Coast during the coming week. A notice on NCL's Web site says Norwegian Spirit departed as scheduled from Boston on Friday but may arrive in Bermuda later than scheduled, depending on the path Bill takes.

Carnival Miracle and Carnival Pride, sailing Caribbean voyages from the U.S. this weekend, have both departed on schedule, and no changes have yet been made to either ship's itinerary.

The NHC's "five-day cone," a map that outlines the possible movement of the storm over the next five days, shows Hurricane Bill passing over Nova Scotia on Sunday and the eastern coast of Newfoundland on Monday morning. Holland America's Maasdam, as well as Princess Cruises' Tahitian Princess, are scheduled to be in the area next week -- just after Bill's currently scheduled arrival. No changes have yet been made to either of these sailings, but stay tuned.

According to the NHC's five-day forecast, it appears the storm could swing back around to the U.K. sometime next week.

We'll keep you updated.

--by Ashley Kosciolek, Copy Editor