(Updated 10:15 a.m. EDT) -- The Eastern Caribbean took a beating in September 2017 from a pair of powerful hurricanes, forcing cruise lines to make long-term changes to their Caribbean cruise itineraries.
Hurricane Irma inflicted serious damage on islands with significant cruise line business, including St. Maarten/St. Martin, Tortola in the British Virgin Islands, St. Thomas and St. John in the U.S.V.I., Grand Turk in Turks & Caicos and St. Bart's. Less than a week later, Hurricane Maria roared through the region, devastating Dominica and Puerto Rico.
But the Caribbean is a large place, and the cruise lines have options for alternative ports, even for their biggest ships. Among them are three ports in Jamaica (Ocho Rios, Falmouth and Montego Bay), Grand Cayman, Belize, Roatan, Mexico's Cozumel and Costa Maya, and the islands of the Southern Caribbean: Aruba, Curacao and Bonaire.
Several Eastern Caribbean islands -- including St. Kitts, Barbados, St. Lucia, Grenada and Antigua -- also remain open. In addition, the Bahamas and the private islands cruise passengers love (including Labadee, Haiti) have been unaffected by the storm and continue to be called upon by ships. Cuba's ports, too, remain open.
- Live From Royal Caribbean's Relief Mission on Adventure of the Seas
- What to Expect: Cruising in the Caribbean After Hurricanes Irma and Maria
- Hurricane Season 2017: Which Caribbean Cruise Ports Are Open?
Here is our line-by-line breakdown of the long-term itinerary changes that have been made. Cruise Critic will continue to update this list as the cruise lines release information.
Carnival Cruise Line
With the most ships in the region, Carnival has been forced to do the most scrambling. The line is still on schedule to resume sailing out of San Juan October 15. Below is a ship-by-ship breakdown of itinerary changes:
- Carnival Fascination cruises from October 15 through November 26 -- departing from either San Juan or Barbados -- will visit Grenada, St. Lucia, Antigua and St. Kitts; San Juan departures will include Barbados, and vice versa.
- Carnival Magic's October 7 cruise will call at Cozumel, Belize, Roatan and Costa Maya; the October 21 cruise will call at Cozumel, Belize, Roatan and Costa Maya; the November 4 cruise will call at Amber Cove, Grand Turk, Half Moon Cay and Nassau; and the December 2 cruise will call at Amber Cove, Grand Turk, Half Moon Cay and Nassau. San Juan will be featured on Carnival Magic's December 30 cruise, which also includes Grand Turk and Amber Cove.
- Carnival Vista's October 7 cruise will call at Amber Cove, La Romana (Dominican Republic), Aruba and Curacao; the October 21 cruise will call at Amber Cove, La Romana, Aruba and Curacao; and the November 4 departure will be an eight-night cruise to Aruba, Bonaire and Curacao. San Juan will be featured on Carnival Vista's December 30 cruise, which also includes Grand Turk, St. Kitts and Amber Cove.
- Carnival Pride's October 8 cruise will call at Nassau, Half Moon Cay and Freeport; the October 22 cruise will call at Nassau, Half Moon Cay and Freeport; and October 29 cruise will call at Nassau, Half Moon Cay and Freeport.
- Carnival Splendor's October 8 cruise will call at Nassau, Half Moon Cay and Amber Cove; the October 14 cruise will call at Princess Cays, Ocho Rios, Grand Cayman and Cozumel; the October 22 cruise will call at Cozumel, Belize, Roatan, and Grand Cayman; the November 5 will call at Ocho Rios, Amber Cove and Grand Turk; the November 19 cruise will call at Nassau, Amber Cove, Grand Turk and Princess Cays; and the December 3 cruise will call at Nassau, Amber Cove, Grand Turk and Half Moon Cay. San Juan will be featured on Carnival Splendor's December 31 cruise, which also includes Grand Turk, Princess Cays (sister brand Princess Cruises' private island in the Bahamas) and Amber Cove.
- Carnival Conquest's October 14 cruise will call at Amber Cove, La Romana, Curacao and Aruba; the October 22 cruise will call at Nassau, Half Moon Cay and Amber Cove; the October 28 cruise will call at Princess Cays, Ocho Rios, Grand Cayman and Cozumel; the November 5 cruise will visit Nassau, Half Moon Cay and Amber Cove over five nights, the November 11 cruise will stop at Princess Cays, La Romana, Curacao and Aruba; the November 25 cruise will visit Antigua, St. Kitts and Grand Turk; and the December 9 cruise will call at Amber Cove, La Romana, Curacao and Aruba. San Juan will be featured on Carnival Glory's December 23 cruise, which also includes Grand Turk and Amber Cove.
- Carnival Glory's October 14 cruise will call at Grand Cayman, Roatan, Belize and Cozumel; the October 28 cruise will call at Grand Cayman, Roatan, Belize and Cozumel; the November 11 cruise will call at Half Moon Cay, Nassau, Amber Cove and Grand Turk; the November 25 cruise will call at Half Moon Cay, Nassau, Amber Cove and Grand Turk; and the December 9 cruise will call at Half Moon Cay, Nassau, Amber Cove and Grand Turk.
- Carnival Sensation's October 14 cruise will call at Nassau, Half Moon Cay and Freeport; the October 28 cruise will call at Nassau, Half Moon Cay and Freeport; and the November 25 cruise will call at Princess Cays and Amber Cove.
- Carnival Ecstasy's November 5 cruise will call at Aruba, Bonaire, Grand Turk and Princess Cays.
- Carnival Sunshine's December 9 cruise will call at Grand Turk, St. Kitts and Amber Cove; and the December 23 cruise will call at Grand Turk, St. Kitts and Amber Cove.
Adventure of the Seas' September 30 cruise was canceled, and the ship is being use for a relief mission in San Juan, St. Thomas and St. Croix.(Read Cruise Critic's live report.) A handful of other itineraries have been adjusted:
- Adventure of the Seas' October 7 and October 14 cruises will replace St. Croix with Martinique and Antigua, respectively. On the October 21 and October 28 departures, St. Maarten will be replaced with St. Kitts and Martinique, respectively.
- Allure of the Seas' October 1 and October 15 cruises will visit Cozumel and Costa Maya in lieu of San Juan and St. Maarten/St. Thomas.
- Harmony of the Seas' October 7 and October 21 cruises all-new ports of call are Nassau, Cozumel and Costa Maya.
- Oasis of the Seas' October 8 cruise will sail to Nassau, Cozumel and Costa Maya instead of St. Maarten, San Juan and Labadee; the October 22 cruise will replace St. Maarten and San Juan with Nassau and Falmouth.
- Serenade of the Seas' October 20 cruise will call at St. Kitts and Antigua instead of St. Thomas and St. Maarten.
- Enchantment of the Seas' October 2 and October 9 cruises have reverted back to calling at Key West.
Norwegian Cruise Line
Norwegian was the first line to announce it would be making long-term changes to its Eastern Caribbean itineraries. The line's main ship there, Norwegian Escape, will make Western Caribbean sailings through the end of 2017. Changes for other Norwegian ships arriving in the region later in the year have not been announced.
Celebrity has been diverting its year-round Caribbean ship, Celebrity Equinox, from St. Thomas, Tortola, Punta Cana, Key West and San Juan to southern Caribbean ports such as Curacao and Eastern Caribbean ports such as St. Croix, St. Kitts, Martinique and Antigua, as well as Falmouth, Jamaica. Itineraries have been adjusted through December 23.
Celebrity Summit's first Caribbean cruise begins in late-October. The ship will replace St. Thomas and St. Maarten with St. Kitts and Antigua. It will still begin its winter sailings embarking out of San Juan on October 28, replacing a stop in St. Thomas with St. Croix.
Additionally, three other Celebrity ships were have replaced calls in Punta Cana through December. Celebrity Reflection and Celebity Eclipse substituting St. Croix and Celebrity Silhouette will now call at San Juan.
Upcoming MSC Divina Eastern Caribben itineraries that included St. Maarten and San Juan will be replaced by Western Caribbean itineraries; this change affects the ship's October 30, October 14 and October 28 departures. The new ports of call include Montego Bay, George Town, Costa Maya and Nassau.
Beginning November 11, MSC Divina's weeklong Caribbean cruises will call at St. John instead of St. Maarten. In January and February 2018, the ship's long cruises will continue to replace affected ports. The January 3 departure will visit Aruba and Curacao instead of Tortola and St. Kitts; the January 25 departure will replace St. Maarten with San Juan; and the February 15 departure will call at San Juan, Barbados and Guadeloupe in lieu of St. Maarten, Tortola and St. John.
MSC Seaside, the line's new ship slated to launch December 2017, also will replace St. Maarten calls with St. John through mid-March.
Meanwhile, MSC Fantasia's seven-night cruises from Martinique and Guadeloupe will now visit the Dominican Republic's La Romana in place of Tortola and St. Kitts instead of Dominica; it will replace St. Maarten calls with a sea day. The changes will be in effect November 2017 through March 2018.
Disney Cruise Line
Disney Fantasy's October 7 and October 21 Eastern Caribbean sailings are being modified to include ports of call in the Western Caribbean. These revised sailings will now visit Cozumel, Grand Cayman, Falmouth and Castaway Cay. Fantasy's November 4, November 18 and December 2 sailings will call on the same itinerary with Costa Maya instead of Falmouth.
Holland America's Caribbean season begins in mid-October; the line's private island, Half Moon Cay, is fully operational. Several Caribbean itineraries through December 2017 have been modified. The following sailings are affected:
- Koningsdam's October 18 cruise will replace St. Maarten with Antigua and St. Thomas with St. Lucia.
- Nieuw Amsterdam's October 28 cruise will replace Grand Turk with Nassau, San Juan with Punta Cana and St. Thomas with St. Croix.
- Koningsdam's October 29 cruise will replace San Juan with Punta Cana.
- Rotterdam's November 4 cruise will replace St. Maarten with St. Kitts and St. Thomas with Punta Cana.
- Oosterdam's November 4 cruise will replace San Juan with Punta Cana and St. Thomas with St. Croix.
- Koningsdam's November 8 cruise will replace St. Maarten with St. Kitts and St. Thomas with Punta Cana.
- Nieuw Amsterdam's November 11 cruise will replace San Juan with Punta Cana and St. Thomas with St. Croix.
- Oosterdam's November 11 cruise will replace San Juan with Samana (DR).
- Eurodam's November 12 cruise will replace St. Maarten with St. Croix and San Juan with Punta Cana.
- Prinsendam's November 18 cruise will repace St. John with St. Croix, St. Maarten with St. Kitts and Dominica with Martinique.
- Nieuw Amsterdam's November 25 cruise will replace San Juan with Samana (DR) and St. Thomas with St. Croix.
- Eurodam's November 26 cruise will replace St. Maarten with St. Croix and San Juan with Punta Cana.
- Koningsdam's November 29 cruise will replace St. Maarten with St. Croix.
- Veendam's December 8 cruise will replace Tortola with St. Croix and St. Maarten with Antigua.
- Eurodam's December 10 cruise will replace St. Maarten with St. Croix.
- Prinsendam's December 18 cruise will replace Tortola with St. Croix.
- Eurodam's December 24 cruise will replace St. Maarten with St. Croix.
- Nieuw Amsterdam's December 30 cruise will replace St. Maarten with St. Croix.
For the 2017-2018 winter season, Crystal Esprit was scheduled to sail alternating itineraries roundtrip from St. Martin. However, as many of the islands on its weeklong British Virgin Islands itinerary are not ready for visitors, all of these itineraries have been switched to the seven-night West Indies Yachting Explorer itinerary. All of the West Indies cruises will also swap an overnight in St. Martin with a call at Moskito Island.
The revised West Indies Yachting Explorer itinerary is now St. Martin, Moskito Island, Saba, St. Barts, Antigua, Basseterre (morning) and South Friars Bay (afternoon) in St. Kitts and Nevis, Pinney's Beach in St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Martin.
The six-night version of the West Indies itinerary replaces Rendezvous Bay with Moskito Island. The 11-night Christmas itinerary also replaces the Marigot overnight with a call on Moskito Island. In addition, it removes calls at Plymouth, Montserrat, and Rendezvous Bay, Anguilla, and adds an overnight in Iles de Saintes, Guadeloupe. The first January 2018 itinerary, also 11 nights, also cancels the Marigot overnight and calls in Plymouth, Montserrat; Coconut Grove, Nevis; and Sandy Ground, Anguilla. Replacement ports include Moskito Island; Iles de Saintes, Guadeloupe; and Pinney’s Beach, St. Kitts & Nevis.
The hotel Crystal uses for its pre/post hotel stays, Belmond La Samanna in St. Martin, is closed for the duration of Crystal Esprit's Caribbean cruise season due to hurricane damage. This has forced Crystal to cancel its pre/post program for Esprit passengers.
Oceania has made changes to 12 Caribbean itineraries departing between October 2017 and May 2018. It has canceled all calls on St. Maarten and San Juan, and replaced them mainly with visits to St. Kitts, Antigua and Punta Cana. Other minor changes have been made to accommodate the new ports in the ships' schedules. The most major change is Sirena's May 28 cruise, which was changed from an Eastern to a Western Caribbean itinerary. Marina's December 3 transatlantic also added an extra port call in Spain (at Cadiz) and pushed back visits to Santa Cruz de Tenerife and Santa Cruz de la Palma to break up the run of sea days once San Juan was dropped. Impacted itineraries include:
- Marina: December 3
- Regatta: April 26
- Riviera: November 14, December 2, January 3, February 6 and 26, March 18
- Sirena: October 8, January 20, April 2, May 28
Queen Victoria's November 18 departure -- 24 nights from Southampton -- will call at Martinique in lieu of St Maarten. Queen Mary 2's November 26 departure will replace calls at St Thomas and St Maarten with Amber Cove and St Lucia. No changes have been made beyond mid-December.
Select Seabourn Odyssey, Seabourn Sojourn and Seabourn Quest itineraries have been impacted by the hurricane damage in the Caribbean, though no cruises will be canceled. Most notably, any cruise scheduled to embark or disembark in St. Maarten will now embark or disembark in Barbados, through April 2018. This means that one-way sailings from St. Maarten to Barbados, or vice versa, are now roundtrip Barbados sailings. (For cruisers booked on these itineraries, Seabourn is assisting with flight arrangements and change fees.)
In addition, Seabourn will not call at the following ports through January 2018:
- Jost van Dyke, BVI
- Virgin Gorda
- St. Bart's
- Vieques, Puerto Rico
- St. John
The line will substitute scheduled port calls to these islands with calls to the following alternative ports:
- St. Kitts
- Deshaies, Guadeloupe
- Iles des Saintes, Guadeloupe
- St. Lucia
- St. Croix
Seabourn still plans to call on San Juan, Puerto Rico, but continues to monitor the situation there.
Azamara Club Cruises
Azamara confirms that it will operate its itineraries out of San Juan as planned. No other itinerary changes have been announced.
Regent Seven Seas
Regent Seven Seas Cruises has altered nine itineraries in 2017 and 2018 to replace calls to Puerto Rico, St. Maarten and Dominica with visits to other Caribbean islands. The changes are as follows:
Seven Seas Navigator
- October 29, 2017: San Juan replaced with Antigua
- November 13, 2017: San Juan replaced with St. Kitts
Seven Seas Mariner
- November 17, 2017: San Juan replaced with St. Kitts
Seven Seas Explorer
- December 8, 2017: San Juan replaced with St. Kitts
- December 20, 2017: Dominica and St. Maarten replaced with Martinique and Antigua
- January 3, 2018: St. Maarten and San Juan replaced with Martinique and a sea day
- January 30, 2018: St. Maarten and San Juan replaced with St. Kitts and a sea day
- February 19, 2018: San Juan and St. Maarten replaced with St. Kitts and a sea day
- March 11, 2018: St. Maarten and San Juan replaced with St. Kitts and a sea day
SeaDream Yacht Club
From November 2017 to mid-April 2018, SeaDream will embark/disembark passengers in Antigua instead of St. Maarten/St. Martin on its Caribbean cruises. This change affects the following departure dates on its SeaDream I cruise ship: November 11, November 20, November 25, December 2, December 16, December 21, December 28, January 4, January 18, January 27 and February 17. SeaDream II's March 17, March 24, March 31 and April 14 also departures have been altered; no changes have been made to the ship's San Juan turnaround days.
Some of Windstar's winter and spring Caribbean cruises had been scheduled to embark in St. Maarten; Wind Surf and Star Breeze will now use Bridgetown, Barbados. Its ships will arrive early and depart late on turn-around days in Barbados to facilitate travel to and from the island. Some Caribbean itineraries will go to St. Lucia, Bequia and Mayreau in St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Grenada and Martinique instead of affected islands.
Windstar plans to operate cruises out of San Juan as scheduled. (The line's first cruise out of San Juan is November 25.) However, the line is still assessing ports of call for Star Pride's sailings out of Puerto Rico, and indicates that itinerary changes are likely. It will contact passengers and travel agents as soon as definitive plans are made.
P&O Cruises currently has no ships in the Caribbean, but towards the end of the month a number will be repositioning from Europe to the Caribbean for the winter season. These include Azura, Britannia and Adonia.In addition, Arcadia will be making a 28-day Southampton round-trip cruise with calls at a number of affected Caribbean ports. P&O Cruises has confirmed a number of port changes for these cruises including:
- Azura's Oct 20 Transatlantic crossing will replace St Maarten with St Kitts and Dominica with Antigua.
- Britannia's October 28 Transatlantic crossing will replace St Maarten with St Lucia, Dominica with Antigua and make an additional stop at St. Vincent.
- Azura's subsequent cruises all have an extra day in Barbados and a visit to Guadeloupe replacing St Maarten and Tortola.
P&O Cruises is gradually informing passengers of further itinerary changes nearer to their sail dates.
Long-term changes to Caribbean sailings from Princess Cruises, Silversea, Costa Cruises and Viking Ocean have not been announced.
--By Cruise Critic staff