Tropical Storm Ida Heads Toward Land

November 9, 2009

(6:30 p.m. EST) -- Tropical Storm Ida has finished pounding Mexico's Caribbean coast and Grand Cayman and is now headed for the U.S. Gulf Coast.

A tropical storm warning is in effect from Grand Isle Louisiana to the Aucilla River in Florida, including New Orleans. A storm warning means that tropical storm conditions are expected somewhere in the area in the next 24 hours, according to the National Hurricane Center.

The storm is currently located about 60 miles southeast of the mouth of the Mississippi River and about 165 miles south-southwest of Pensacola, Florida. Maximum sustained winds are reported at about 70 miles per hour.

Norwegian Cruise Line's Norwegian Spirit, which is based in New Orleans, did depart 1.5 hours early yesterday as a precaution. Cruise lines that left this weekend for Western Caribbean cruises from other ports -- namely Fort Lauderdale'sPort Everglades, Miami and Tampa, along with Galveston -- departed on schedule but did rearrange itineraries for ships such as Princess' Crown Princess and Carnival's Inspiration, Liberty and Conquest.

Cruise Ship Itinerary Changes

Carnival Fantasy and Carnival Triumph were slated to depart on Tuesday for their first-ever cruises from their new homeports of Mobile, Alabama, and New Orleans respectively. Due to Ida, Carnival Fantasy will now depart from Mobile on Wednesday, November 11; the scheduled six-night cruise will now be a five-nighter, calling on Costa Maya and Cozumel. Carnival Triumph will also delay its inaugural cruise by one day. Originally a four-night voyage, the cruise will now sail for three nights, departing New Orleans on Wednesday, November 11. The ship will not make any port calls.

Crown Princess will be rearranging the port calls on its November 7 itinerary to avoid Ida. The ship did depart Fort Lauderdale as scheduled, and the new cruise itinerary is as follows: Princess Cays; sea day; Grand Cayman; Roatan, Honduras; Cozumel, Mexico; sea day; return to Fort Lauderdale.

Carnival Liberty, after departing Saturday from Miami, will have its regularly scheduled sea day and then visit Ocho Rios. On Tuesday, it will be at sea -- also as planned -- and will then call at Grand Cayman and Cozumel before heading back north to Miami. Carnival had announced that Inspiration's five night cruise from Tampa, leaving Saturday, would make an unexpected visit to Key West and skip Grand Cayman but it's now reversed the decision.
Carnival announced Sunday that passengers on Carnival Conquest, which sails seven night Western Caribbean voyages, will also notice a shakeup in the itinerary; the ship will still call at Grand Cayman, Cozumel and Montego Bay.

Royal Caribbean, which also has ships cruising in the Western Caribbean this week, has reported that there are no changes in itineraries.

Weather Outlook: Next Affected Ships & Ports

Cruise Critic readers on cruises in the Caribbean this week are reporting that sea conditions are a bit rambunctious.

There's likely some flooding and beach erosion at this point in Cozumel, Playa del Carmen and Grand Cayman but Hurricane Ida will not have a great impact on the ports for visitors this week.

We'll keep you posted.

--Updated by Ashley Kosciolek, Copy Editor