October 31, 2012 Updated October 31, 2012
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(Update, 6:30 p.m. EDT) -- As areas on the U.S. east coast prepare for the arrival of Hurricane Sandy, the Bahamas Ministry of Tourism says things are nearly back to normal in Nassau and Freeport, where minimal damage was sustained.
Despite the positive outlook for those two mainstream destinations, some of the cruise line's private islands and a handful of other ports weren't so lucky. Read on for a list of the damage.
CocoCay: Royal Caribbean tells us, "The impact to the island of CocoCay from Hurricane Sandy was not severe, but requires a significant cleanup effort ahead of guest arrival. Guests will be able to enjoy most of the island, however due to significant beach erosion in one area of the island, that area will unfortunately not be accessible to guests. The majority of our shore excursions will be available."
Great Stirrup Cay: Norwegian says the island "sustained some minor damage to structures and landscaping, as well as beach erosion from Hurricane Sandy. We expect the island will re-open by the middle of next week."
Half Moon Cay: Holland America reports that "as a result of Hurricane Sandy passing over Half Moon Cay on Oct. 25., the island has sustained some minor damage which is limited and can be easily addressed. The island staff are well, as are the horses that are kept on the island for popular beach excursions. Repairs will be made to some structures, some vegetation will be replanted and the main guest beach will be renewed in those areas impacted by erosion. We expect to make repairs quickly with only minimal impact to normal operations anticipated."
Princess Cays: Princess' private island sustained the most extensive damage. Line representatives tell us it "has experienced extensive beach erosion, some downed trees and roof damage. The end of the observation pier was also lost. The area is still experiencing high winds, surf and swells, so we're still waiting to survey the marina and entrance channel. Power is renewed, as well as telecommunications and e-mail. As soon as conditions permit we'll begin clean up and we hope to have everything, except the observation deck, operational for the next call on Nov. 11."
Grand Turk: A representative from the Grand Turk Cruise Center told Cruise Critic in an e-mail that there's "no damage here in GT."
Jamaica: The storm also passed through Jamaica over the weekend, but did not cause any major damage to touristed areas. According to William Tatham, vice president of cruise shipping at the Port Authority of Jamaica, the Montego Bay and Falmouth cruise ports are fine, and the Ocho Rios port received only "superficial damage to the terminal, which is not impacting operations." All shore excursions are operating as usual. The eastern side of the island saw more downed trees and telephone poles, but cruise visitors typically do not venture to those areas.
Baltimore: The port of Baltimore closed due to the storm but reopened Tuesday, according to port representatives. They tell us no damage was sustained.
Boston: A spokeswoman from the Greater Boston Convention & Visitors Bureau tells us the port is unscathed, and it is currently accommodating some vessels that were unable to dock in New York.
We're still waiting for word from ports in New York, Bayonne and Norfolk. We'll update you accordingly as more information becomes available.
To see how your cruise might be affected and what the cruise lines are offering as compensation for canceled or altered sailings, check out our other Hurricane Sandy coverage.
--by Ashley Kosciolek, Copy Editor