Otto Downgraded to Tropical Storm; No Further Cruise Impact

October 10, 2010

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Update, 9:30 a.m. EDT: Hurricane Otto has been downgraded to a tropical storm, and according to the latest release from the National Hurricane Center, it continues to move to the east-northeast. A decrease in forward speed is expected by Sunday evening, and the storm likely will turn sharply to the east or east-southeast Monday and may move near or to the north of the Azores. No further ship itinerary changes have been reported at this time.

(10/08/10, 1:18 p.m. EDT) -- Otto has strengthened into a Category One hurricane, the eighth hurricane of the season.

According to the National Hurricane Center's 11 a.m. EDT update, Otto is located 445 miles south of Bermuda. Maximum sustained winds have reached 75 miles per hour, and the storm is moving toward the east-northeast. Otto may strengthen further, but will begin to weaken by late Saturday.

Forecasters are predicting an active end to 2010's hurricane season. To find out what to expect, read our article, It May Be October -- but Hurricane Season Ain't Over Yet.

Cruise Ship Itinerary Changes

Norwegian Sun is swapping its planned northern route crossing of the Atlantic Ocean for a more southerly one to avoid 35 knot winds and 24 foot swells kicked up by Hurricane Otto. The new route will force it to skip its call in Punta Delgada, Azores, on Saturday. The ship will arrive on schedule in Orlando on October 16.

A Carnival spokesman tells us that bad weather, possibly from Otto, forced Carnival Liberty to skip its call in Grand Turk yesterday. Instead of a sea day today, the ship will add a call in Nassau. It returns to Miami as planned on Saturday.

Weather Outlook: Next Affected Ships & Ports

NHC predictions show Hurricane Otto heading into the Atlantic, keeping south of Bermuda. However, the storm may reach the Azores on Monday if it hasn't dissipated by then. Heavy rainfall is still possible today in the northern Leeward Islands, the Virgin Islands, the eastern Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico. Flash floods and mudslides are possible in these areas.

Stay tuned.

--by Erica Silverstein, Senior Editor