A Weakened Tomas Heads Away from Land; No Further Cruise Impact

November 6, 2010
(Update, 3:10 p.m. EDT, November 6: According to the NHC's 11 a.m. EDT update, Tropical Storm Tomas is moving toward the open Atlantic at 65 miles per hour. All coastal warnings and watches have been discontinued. No further cruise impact is anticipated. This will be our last update on Tomas.)

(8:35 a.m. EDT) -- Tomas weakened into a tropical storm overnight Saturday, and is headed away from land .

According to the National Hurricane Center's 8 a.m. EDT update, Tomas is currently located about 70 miles north of Grand Turk. Maximum sustained winds are now at around 70 miles per hour, and the storm is moving northeastward at 15 miles per hour.

Although a number of countries including Haiti, the Bahamas, Cuba and the Dominican Republic experienced tropical weather earlier this week, very few reports of damage have come in.

Reports on StormCarib.com, suggest that no significant damage was done in either Grand Turk or Jamaica, both of which were under storm watches and warnings as Tomas seemingly cut a path right through the middle of the region.

Numerous reports of deaths caused by flooding in Haiti, home to Royal Caribbean's private island of Labadee, have been made by various news sources, with numbers ranging from four to seven people. However, there have been no reports of damage on Labadee, and aside from Freedom of the Seas skipping a scheduled call on the island earlier this week, cruises were not impacted.

Due to the potential impact of the storm, the U.S. Department of State issued a travel alert for Haiti, citing that poor conditions caused by the devastating earthquake the country experienced last year, would make any storm a threat.

Those who choose to travel to Haiti despite the alert are encouraged to register their itinerary on the State Department's Web site. A travel warning that was issued after the earthquake is also still in effect.

The current alert will remain in effect until November 12.

Several Southern Caribbean islands were battered by Tomas last weekend, and there have been widespread media reports of injuries, fatalities, downed power lines and damage to homes on Barbados, St. Vincent and particularly in St. Lucia.

MSNBC is reporting that in St. Lucia, "at least 14 people were killed and seven others were missing after the storm caused an estimated $37 million in damage." The island is now closed to cruise traffic and will remain so until November 7, at which point cruise lines are welcome to resume calls. For more details, check out our report here.

St. Lucia's tourism board posted a statement on Tuesday, which noted that cruise ships will resume calls to the island on November 7. The statement added that "the country and its vital tourism industry will be back to normalcy by Friday November 12, at which time the island will be in a position to welcome all visitors...."

In anticipation of the storm's impact, the port of Grand Turk will also be closed through November 7.

Cruise Ship Itinerary Changes

Princess Cruises' Caribbean Princess' skipped its scheduled visit to St. Lucia on Thursday.

Grand Princess' scheduled calls to the Dominican Republic on Friday, November 5 and to Grand Turk on Saturday, November 6 have both been cancelled. A visit to San Juan on Friday has been added to the ships itinerary.

Ruby Princess will no longer call in Grand Turk on Friday, November 5. The ship will take a longer southerly route in order to avoid Tomas, but is expected to arrive in Fort Lauderdale on time.

Silversea Cruises' Silver Spirit, which was scheduled to visit St. Lucia on Friday, will call in Roseau, Dominica.

Carnival Miracle, which was scheduled to dock in St. Lucia on Saturday and St. Kitts on Sunday, instead spent the weekend at sea. To compensate, it stopped in Grand Turk on Monday and Nassau on Tuesday.

Carnival Victory, which was scheduled to stop in St. Lucia on Thursday, November 4, will now spend the day at sea.

Carnival Freedom's scheduled call to Ocho Rios on Thursday, November 4, is being replaced with a visit to Cozumel.

Freedom of the Seas skipped a scheduled call in Labadee, and to compensate replaced a sea day with a visit the CocoCay.

Serenade of the Seas departed from San Juan for a Southern Caribbean cruise on Sunday, and rather than calling on Curacao, Aruba and Dominica, the ship will now visit Barbados, Antigua, St. Maarten and St. Thomas.

Liberty of the Seas will not call in Labadee today, November 5. The ship will spend the day at sea before calling in Nassau on Saturday.

P&O's Ventura replaced a scheduled call in St. Lucia with a visit to Dominica.

Celebrity Millenium will no longer call on St. Lucia on Friday, November 5, but will instead visit Martinique.

On Facebook, Shelia Lilley Trentini, who is currently onboard Holland America's Zuiderdam, reports that the ship skipped a scheduled call in Half Moon Cay on Thursday. The cruise line has not yet responded to our request for comment on this matter.

Norwegian Epic's departure from Cozumel on November 4 was delayed due to strong winds. The ship overnighted in Cozumel and is expected to return to Miami at 10 a.m. on November 6 instead of at its regular arrival time of 8 a.m. Embarkation for the November 6 sailing will begin at 4 p.m. and the ship will set sail at 8 p.m.

We'll keep you posted on any other changes. Weather Outlook: Possible Affected Ships & Ports

According to the NHC, a dangerous storm surge will raise water levels by as much as two to four feet in areas of onshore winds in the Turks and Caicos. Large and destructive waves will be present near the coast.

A tropical storm warning remains in effect for parts of the Bahamas, the Turks and Caicos and the Dominican Republic.

--by Shayne Rodriguez Thompson, Web Content Producer