Cruise Lines Swap Florida Ports; Royal Caribbean Weighs In

November 7, 2003
In an unusual occurrence, some cruise lines are abandoning Miami for Ft. Lauderdale's Port Everglades. At least – temporarily. Cruise lines from Carnival to NCL, anticipating major congestion this month in Miami as a result of a Free Trade Area of the Americas Ministerial Meeting and Business Forum have decided that it would disrupt calls (and ship turnarounds) at the Port of Miami.
Ft. Lauderdale's Port Everglades is about an hour's drive from Miami. The Free Trade Area of the Americas has scheduled its meetings at the Hyatt Regency and Inter-Continental Hotels – some five blocks north of the Port of Miami – and media speculation in South Florida is focused on the possibility of nearly 100,000 protesters (more accurate projections anticipate about 20,000).
Only some cruises are affected and a spokesman from Royal Caribbean emphasizes that the moves aren't cruise industry-related -- but may be necessary, nevertheless. Cruises this month through November 29 may be impacted; passengers booked out of Miami are urged to contact their travel agent or cruise line for information on specific changes.
*Royal Caribbean has just weighed in with its decision. The company will alter just the itinerary of Majesty of the Seas; on its cruise departing Monday, November 17, the ship will sail to and from Port Everglades. On its Friday, November 21 voyage, Majesty of the Seas will depart from Port Everglades and return to the Port of Miami. The company will provide complementary transportation to passengers of the latter sailing whose vehicles are parked at Port Everglades.

*Carnival, at this point, is making numerous changes. Travelers booked on any of its ships that typically depart of Miami (including Carnival Triumph, Paradise, Fascination, Imagination, and Carnival Victory) may find changes in port of embarkation (or debarkation). According to a Carnival statement, the cruise line will adjust transfers for passengers who have purchased air/sea packages. Those flying independently can buy transfers from the cruise line and travelers who are driving to the port should head for port of embarkation. If the debarkation port turns out to be different, Carnival will take responsibility for providing motorcoach transportation to the original send-off point.
*At Norwegian Cruise Line, Norwegian Dawn's scheduled November 19 call at Miami will be transferred to Port Everglades. The company says it will keep Norwegian Sun and Norwegian Wind, both of which are making turnarounds (on November 16 and 22, respectively) at the Port of Miami.