Tropical Storm Chantal Heads for Lesser Antilles and Eastern Caribbean

July 8, 2013
(6:20 p.m. EDT) -- Tropical Storm Chantal is quickly making its way toward the Lesser Antilles and Eastern Caribbean, prompting public warnings (tropical storm conditions expected) for Barbados, St. Lucia, Dominica, Martinique, Guadeloupe and watches (tropical storm conditions possible) for Puerto Rico and St. Vincent. Currently in the Atlantic moving west to northwest at 25 m.p.h., Chantal is expected to reach the Lesser Antilles early Tuesday, Eastern Caribbean later Tuesday and Puerto Rico by Wednesday.

Fifteen Carnival Cruise Lines ships, six Royal Caribbean International ships, two Norwegian Cruise Line ships and two Disney Cruise Line ships are scheduled to sail in the storm's path through Saturday. Carnival, Norwegian and Disney said they are monitoring the storm carefully but haven't made any itinerary changes. Cruise Critic has reached out to Royal Caribbean about the storm and is awaiting response.

Chantal, the third named storm of the 2013 Atlantic hurricane season (predicted by AccuWeather to be an above-normal season), has sustained wind speeds up to 45 m.p.h. According to the National Weather Service, it is expected to strengthen in the next 48 hours before weakening by 72 hours as it merges with another system just east of The Bahamas.

--by Gina Kramer, Associate Editor