Hurricane Matthew, Tropical Storm Nicole Prompt Cruise Itinerary Changes

October 7, 2016
Hurricane Matthew storm path on Caribbean map

(Updated October 10, 5:15 p.m. EDT) -- Multiple cruise lines rerouted ships in the Caribbean and out of Florida and South Carolina because of major storms, which also have forced several ports to shut down.

Matthew, which had been a hurricane that caused damage from Haiti to Virginia, has been downgraded to a post-tropical cyclone and is moving out to sea. The storm has been affecting cruise itineraries for more than a week.

Tropical Storm Nicole, which also had been a hurricane and could be upgraded again this week, is threatening Bermuda, where the National Hurricane Center reports the storm could reach Thursday morning.

Royal Caribbean, Carnival, Norwegian, Princess Cruises, Disney and Fathom adjusted a number of ships' itineraries to avoid the storm's path. Some ships also had multiple cruises affected.

See below for the most up-to-date itinerary changes.

Cruise Critic is in contact with all the cruise lines and will continue to update this story as more information becomes available.

Matthew caused widespread devastation in Haiti, with hundreds of deaths reported so far. Tens of thousands are homeless. In the U.S., the death toll is 21, with people in states including Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina and Virginia still facing flooding and loss of power. Thousands of people have been evacuated.

Hurricane Matthew hit the Bahamas on Thursday, with 140 mph winds and even stronger gusts. Many cruise lines visit Bahamas ports, such as Freeport and Nassau as well as cruise line private islands.

Royal Caribbean reports its private island, CocoCay sustained minor damage but will be ready when Enchantment of the Seas visits October 15. Employees were evacuated during the storm but have returned. They are removing debris, reinstalling equipment and docks that were removed in anticipation of the storm and repairing damage to fences and buildings.

Carnival Corporation reports its private island, Half Moon Cay, sustained only minimal damage. It will be ready when Carnival Valor visits October 15.


Itinerary Changes

Grandeur of the Seas which departed October 8 from Boston on a Bermuda cruise, instead is visiting Cape Liberty, New Jersey, until midnight, October 11. The decision was made to avoid Post-Tropical Cyclone Matthew. According to a Tweet from the company, passengers will receive a 100 percent future cruise credit.

Allure of the Seas which departed October 9 from Fort Lauderdale, has been rerouted to avoid Tropical Storm Nicole. The ship will skip St. Thomas and St. Maarten, instead visiting San Juan, Puerto Rico, Thursday, and Labadee, Haiti, the cruise line's private port, on Friday.

Carnival Ecstasy originally was scheduled to depart Charleston on Sunday, but the was closed until today. The ship will sail a five-day cruise with its only stop being an overnight visit to Nassau.

Passengers can cancel and receive a full refund. Those who still wish to sail will receive a two-day prorated refund of their cruise fare as well as any prepurchased shore excursions. Gratuities will be adjusted to reflect the shorter itinerary. Passengers will also receive a $100 per person credit to be spent onboard. They'll also receive a 50 percent cruise discount, to be applied to a future cruise of two to seven days.

Passengers on Ecstasy can get the latest news via text from Carnival by texting "CCL7" to "CRUISE" (278473).

Norwegian Breakaway's departure from New York has been delayed from today until tomorrow. Because Matthew and Tropical Storm Nicole are moving toward Bermuda, the ship's itinerary has changed. Breakaway will not visit Bermuda. Instead, it will stop Wednesday at Port Canaveral and Thursday at Nassau. Each cabin will receive a $200 credit to spend onboard.

Norwegian Sky, which departs Miami today on a four-night cruise, will skip its scheduled Tuesday visit to Freeport, which was damaged by Matthew, and instead visit Key West Thursday.

 

Disney Dream's October 10 sailing from Port Canaveral is expected to go off as planned, with visits to Nassau and Castaway Cay.


Cruising during hurricane season? Here's how you can stay prepared.

--By Cruise Critic Staff