A spokesperson from Carnival Cruise Lines tells us that Carnival Triumph, scheduled to depart New Orleans yesterday, left a few hours late (2:40 a.m. this morning), but will arrive at its first port of call on time. Carnival Ecstasy (which departed Galveston yesterday), Carnival Conquest (which departs Galveston today), and Carnival Elation (which departs Mobile tomorrow) are unaffected.
This will be our last update on this storm system.
(July 23, 12:15 p.m. EDT) -- Tropical Storm Bonnie, the second named storm in the Atlantic Hurricane Season, continues to make headway toward the southeast Florida coast. The storm has impacted three cruises at this point.
According to the National Hurricane Center's 11 a.m. report, Bonnie is located about 30 miles south-southwest of the popular cruise port of Miami. Maximum sustained winds are holding at about 40 miles per hour, but the storm is not expected to strengthen as it passes over the Florida peninsula. Some slight strengthening may occur once the storm moves back into the Gulf of Mexico.
Cruise Ship Itinerary Changes
Carnival Destiny, which left from Miami yesterday, is sailing an altered itinerary. The ship is staying at sea today instead of visiting Key West as originally planned. It will then visit Cozumel on Saturday and Key West on Sunday before returning to Miami on Monday. Carnival Pride, which is sailing a seven-night Bahamas cruise out of Baltimore, had to skip its call in Freeport today. The ship will instead spend the day at sea before returning to Baltimore tomorrow as originally scheduled.
Royal Caribbean's Grandeur of the Seas, which left Fort Lauderdale yesterday, was unable to visit Key West today. Grandeur will instead spend the day at sea, and sail directly to Cozumel, Mexico, where it will arrive earlier than originally scheduled on Saturday.
Spokespeople for NCL, Princess and Disney said they have no changes to report, though the lines are monitoring the situation.
Weather Outlook: Next Affected Ships & Ports
A tropical storm warning remains in effect for the northwestern Bahamas and for Florida's east coast from Deerfield Beach, which is just north of Miami and Fort Lauderdale, southward through the Florida Keys. A tropical storm warning is also in effect for the west coast of Florida from the Keys to Bonita Beach (about 85 miles south of Tampa).
A tropical storm warning means that tropical storm conditions are expected somewhere within the warning area within 36 hours.
The NHC's projected path for the storm currently has it reaching the Gulf ports of Mobile, New Orleans and Galveston on Sunday morning. All three serve as homeports for Carnival ships, including Carnival Ecstasy (Galveston, Saturday), Carnival Conquest (Galveston, Sunday), Carnival Triumph (New Orleans, Saturday) and Carnival Elation (Mobile, Monday). The line has not indicated any itinerary changes at this point.
Meanwhile, Tropical Storm Bonnie is also impacting the Gulf oil spill cleanup. The New York Times has reported that the storm "has forced the evacuation of response vessels at the site of BP's blown-out oil well, further stalling efforts to permanently seal the well." The National Hurricane Center's latest update puts the storm on course to reach the area of the spill by late Saturday or early Sunday.
We'll keep you posted.
--by Dan Askin, Associate Editor
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