Update: Some Ships Back on Course After Tropical Storm Matthew

September 26, 2010
Update, 4 p.m. EDT: According to the National Hurricane Center, Matthew has weakened to a remnant low, and maximum sustained winds have decreased to 25 miles per hour. This system is expected to dissipate over southeastern Mexico by Monday night.

A Carnival spokeswoman told us Saturday that the storm "will no longer affect itineraries for the Carnival Freedom, Carnival Elation, Carnival Inspiration, and Carnival Triumph. The ships will resume original scheduled itineraries." At this time, however, Carnival Liberty is still expected to sail an altered itinerary as detailed below. Royal Caribbean has not altered the itinerary for Grandeur of the Seas, which is expected to call in Cozumel on Monday.

This will be our last report on Matthew.

(12:37 p.m. EDT) -- Tropical Storm Matthew is forecast to weaken, but has already impacted cruise ship itineraries in the Western Caribbean.

According to the National Hurricane Center's 11 a.m. EDT update, Matthew is now located about 45 miles east of Monkey River Town, Belize, and is spreading torrential rain across Central America. Maximum sustained winds are at 50 miles per hour; additional weakening is forecast for the weekend.

Cruise Ship Itinerary Changes

Carnival has adjusted the itineraries of five ships visiting Mexico and Central America based on the storm's expected path. Carnival Liberty will reverse the order of its port calls on its September 25 itinerary. Instead of visiting Cozumel on Monday, a sea day Tuesday, Grand Cayman Wednesday and Ocho Rios Thursday, the ship instead will call on Ocho Rios on Monday, followed by Grand Cayman, a sea day and Cozumel. It will return to Miami as scheduled on Saturday, October 2.

Carnival Freedom will completely change its eight-night Central America cruise to Cozumel, Limon and Colon, departing on September 25, to an Eastern Caribbean cruise. The ship will now depart Fort Lauderdale on Saturday, remain at sea Sunday, call in San Juan on Monday, St. Thomas/St. John on Tuesday, Antigua on Wednesday, Tortola/Virgin Gorda on Thursday, at sea Friday and Nassau on Saturday, before returning to Fort Lauderdale on Sunday, October 3.

Carnival Triumph is also altering the first half of its Western Caribbean sailing. Its original schedule had it departing New Orleans on September 25, followed by two sea days and a visit to Belize. Now it will spend Sunday at sea, Monday in Key West and Tuesday at sea. Wednesday's and Thursday's calls in Roatan and Cozumel remain intact.

Carnival Inspiration's five-night cruise out of Tampa, departing on September 25, has also been altered. Instead of a sea day followed by visits to Grand Cayman and Cozumel, the ship will now call in Key West on Sunday, remain at sea on Monday and visit Grand Cayman on Tuesday.

Finally, Carnival Elation will swap its five-night Mexico cruise departing Mobile on September 25 for a Bahamas and Florida cruise. Instead of calling Monday and Tuesday in Progreso and Cozumel, the ship will instead visit Freeport and Key West on those days.

Weather Outlook: Next Affected Ships & Ports

Tropical storm warnings and watches are in effect for certain coastal areas of Belize and Honduras; the government of Nicaragua has discontinued a tropical storm warning there. Matthew is expected to bring torrential rains to Central America over the next few days, which may lead to flash floods and mud slides.

Royal Caribbean's Grandeur of the Seas is expected to call in Cozumel on Monday; a spokeswoman tells us today that there are no itinerary changes to date.

Stay tuned.

--by Erica Silverstein, Senior Editor; updated by Melissa Paloti, Managing Editor

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