Update: Cruise Ships Scramble as Northeast Ports Remain Closed; JFK, Newark Reopen

October 31, 2012

Sandy Strands Passengers, Scatters Cruise Ships

Cruise Lines Compensate Passengers for Sandy Disruption

Ports Damaged by Hurricane Sandy

Cruise Critic Members Report on Hurricane Sandy

Disney Cruise Ship Damaged by Hurricane Sandy

Member Report: Shortages, Damage on Storm-Battered Ship

Updated, October 31, 10 a.m. EDT): JFK and Newark airports reopened Wednesday morning with limited service, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey said. LaGuardia Airport remains closed.

(October 30, 9:30 a.m. EDT) -- The northeast coast of the United States remains in virtual shutdown with major airports and ports closed "until further notice," forcing a number of cruise ships to stay out in open sea -- including those that have been caught up in the storm.
As "superstorm" Sandy continues to batter an area stretching from Pennsylvania to Maine, three ships -- Norwegian Gem, Royal Caribbean's Enchantment of the Seas and AIDAluna -- have been forced to delay their returns to port.

New York's three major airports -- JFK, Newark and La Guardia -- also remain closed with nearly 5,000 flights canceled in the affected area today. Nearby Atlantic City International Airport also was closed. Around 15,000 flights have been canceled since the storm hit. The Port of New York, where Norwegian Gem was scheduled to return two days' ago, also remains closed.

The captain of Gem has posted the following update on Norwegian's Facebook page:

"Greetings from Captain Roger Gustavsen on board the beautiful Norwegian Gem. Hurricane Sandy has started to impact the east coast; but we remain safely at sea, out of the storm's path, 400 nautical miles off the south east coast of New York City. The Port of New York remains closed due to safety; therefore, we will hold our current position until we receive word that it safe to sail back into port. The latest forecast shows us being able to dock tomorrow evening and until then we will keep everyone on board safe, comfortable and entertained."

And the Captain of Norwegian Jewel has posted this:

"Good evening from Captain Idor Hoydal on board Norwegian Jewel. I am happy to report that we safely navigated out of New York City yesterday and are sailing south, away from Hurricane Sandy and will arrive in Port Canaveral tomorrow morning as scheduled. On board, all of our guests are doing well. Everyone is safe and excited to enjoy the sunny skies, calm seas and warm weather awaiting us in Florida tomorrow."

A statement from Norwegian posted on its <a rel="nofollow" target="blank" href=http://www.ncl.co.uk/travel_alerts.php#4635" class="plain">website reads:

"Given the current information regarding the path and speed of Hurricane Sandy, and as long as the Port of New York re-opens, we expect embarkation for Norwegian Gem's next cruise to take place on Wednesday, October 31 beginning at noon and the ship will depart at 4 pm (EST)."

A statement from Royal Caribbean on its website reads:
"Enchantment of the Seas will be unable to call on Kings Wharf, Bermuda, as originally scheduled. Instead, the ship sailed out to sea in an effort to try to find the calmest seas possible."

<a href=/reviews/review.cfm?ShipID=295" class="plain">Carnival Miracle departed a day early (Oct. 28), from New York, but still got caught up in the storm, as member NeptunesGoddess –- who posted this video on the Cruise Critic message boards -- describes:

"The waves are really dying down right now (still looking pretty rough though). Not as much listing and movement as last night, but still giving us some good surges of movement ... They were worse last night, but being it was dark, we couldn't get video of the waves at their peak. This was taken from the promenade deck."

The Port of Portland, Maine, and the the Port of Baltimore are both closed today. Baltimore, Boston and Philadelphia airports are open, though.

--by Adam Coulter, U.K. Editor