Update: Hurricane Igor Passes to the West of Bermuda, Multiple Cruise Ships Impacted

September 19, 2010

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Update, 1:00 a.m. EDT -- According to the 11 p.m. National Hurricane Center update, the center of Hurricane Igor has passed to the west of Bermuda. According to the Associated Press, flooding is occurring in low-lying areas and the streets of Hamilton are covered in water. Much of the island is without power. Hurricane conditions are expected in Bermuda through early Monday.

(8:02 p.m. EDT) -- Bermuda's ports will be closed through Monday, as Hurricane Igor bears down on the island nation. The port closures have forced several cruise lines to change itineraries.

According to the National Hurricane Center's 8 p.m. EDT update, Igor is located about 60 miles west-southwest of Bermuda. Maximum sustained winds are near 75 miles per hour, meaning the storm has weakened to a Category One. Igor is heading north-northeast with a northeasterly turn expected late tonight or on Monday.

Although the storm has continued to weaken, it is still large and has the potential to cause significant damage.

The island is currently experiencing both tropical storm and hurricane force wind.

Hurricane Julia has been downgraded to a tropical storm with maximum sustained winds near 45 miles per hour. At this point, Julia is not near any land and will continue to weaken through Saturday; there's no anticipated cruise impact.

Cruise Ship Itinerary Changes

Royal Caribbean spokeswoman Cynthia Martinez tells us that the Bermuda port closures will impact Enchantment of the Seas, which is scheduled to depart from Baltimore on September 18. Instead of spending Monday and Tuesday docked in King's Wharf, Bermuda, the ship will instead sail to Nassau, arriving on Monday and staying overnight until noon on Tuesday. Royal Caribbean is offering passengers an onboard credit or the option to cancel and receive a future cruise credit for the amount of the cruise fare paid for the Enchantment of the Seas sailing.

Also, to avoid Igor's path and heavy swells caused by the storm, Majesty of the Seas which was set to call in Coco Cay on September 18, will instead sail straight to Nassau, where it will remain until 5 p.m. Sunday. Monarch of the Seas will also skip its scheduled call in Coco Cay on September 19, and instead remain in Nassau until 5 p.m.

MSC Poesia was scheduled to call in Hamilton, Bermuda, on Saturday and Sunday at the tail end of a transatlantic sailing before arriving in New York on September 21. Instead, the ship will spend two days in Boston, arriving at 9 a.m. on Saturday and departing at 7 a.m. on Monday.

NCL's Norwegian Spirit was also scheduled to call in Bermuda Sunday through Tuesday, and the cruise line has revised the ship's itinerary. The ship will depart Boston on schedule this afternoon and spend two days at sea before visiting Orlando (Port Canaveral) on Monday and Nassau on Tuesday.

Holland America's Veendam left Bermuda on Friday and is scheduled to return on Tuesday. Holland America is waiting until the storm hits to announce whether a timing change will be necessary.

Weather Outlook: Next Affected Ships & Ports

The center of Igor is expected to pass near or over Bermuda later this evening -- a hurricane warning is in effect. A strong storm surge and large, destructive waves, are expected to cause coastal flooding.

Large swells generated by the storm will continue to affect the Leeward Islands, Puerto Rico, Hispaniola, the Virgin Islands and portions of the Bahamas over the next few days. Swells will also affect the East Coast of the U.S. through the weekend. Bermuda will experience dangerous surf conditions over the next few days.

Stay tuned.

--by Erica Silverstein, Senior Editor. Updated by Shayne Rodriguez Thompson, Web Content Producer

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