Hurricane Isidore Hits Caribbean

September 20, 2002

So far, Hurricane Isidore, now a category 2 storm hovering over western Cuba, has been minimally disruptive to Caribbean cruises-in-progress, causing no cancellations or significant delays. However, the hurricane, which spent the week as a tropical storm passing over the Cayman Islands and Jamaica before ramping up its wind speed, did inspire some changes in ports-of-call.

Cozumel took a pretty big hit as ships such as Norwegian Sun and Royal Caribbean's Explorer of the Seas bypassed the regularly-scheduled island (both went to the Bahamas instead). Rhapsody of the Seas replaced its call at Grand Cayman with Belize City while Carnival Victory, also slated to visit there, went to Costa Maya instead. Celebrity's Century flipped its schedule, going into Key West a day early -- and then spending a day at sea.

At this point cruise line executives report that while they're keeping a close eye on the storm they do not expect it to have any serious impact on departures this weekend. Early next week, however, could be a different story as the slow-moving Hurricane Isidore inches closer into prime Gulf of Mexico territory. Passengers slated to depart on western Caribbean voyages next week should keep in close contact with their cruise line and/or travel agent -- and be prepared for the possibility of changes in ports-of-call.