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(4:23 p.m. EDT) -- Although Category Four storm Hurricane Igor is still churning in the middle of the Atlantic, Royal Caribbean has changed the itinerary of Oasis of the Seas "in an abundance of caution." Carnival has also announced a similar change for Carnival Dream.
According to the National Hurricane Center's 11 a.m. EDT update, Igor is located about 710 miles east of the northern Leeward Islands, and maximum sustained winds are at 135 miles per hour. The storm is moving in a west-northwesterly direction, and is expected to turn toward the northwest Wednesday.
Right behind Igor is Hurricane Julia, a Category One storm with maximum sustained winds of 85 miles per hour. At this point, Julia is even farther from land than Igor; there's no immediate cruise impact.
Cruise Ship Itinerary Changes
Royal Caribbean spokeswoman Cynthia Martinez tells us that "the Captain [of Oasis of the Seas] was concerned about high swells in St. Maarten -- it seems that high swells are forecasted for Wednesday." So the ship will reverse the order of its calls in St. Maarten and St. Thomas -- calling in St. Maarten on Tuesday and St. Thomas on Wednesday -- to avoid any possible rough seas. The rest of the ship's itinerary remains unchanged.
Carnival Dream will also swap its St. Maarten and St. Thomas calls. The ship will now visit St. Maarten on Tuesday from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. and St. Thomas on Wednesday from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Weather Outlook: Next Affected Ships & Ports
No coastal watches or warnings are in effect for Hurricane Igor, and storm projections do not show the hurricane near any land masses through Thursday morning. However, swells generated by the storm may affect the Leeward Islands on Tuesday and Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands on Wednesday. The forecast puts Igor on a path toward Bermuda, but the storm could change course or weaken before then.
--by Erica Silverstein, Senior Editor
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