Cruise Tips: Erik the Travel Guy’s Advice for Cruising During Hurricane Season by Erik The Travel Guy
As Hurricane Dorian demonstrated, tropical cyclones can be devastating and deadly. Our hearts and support go out to the victims of the worst hurricane on record to strike the Bahamas.
Dorian also disrupted the vacations of thousands of cruise vacationers, but does that mean you shouldn’t plan a cruise vacation during hurricane season? The annual hurricane season runs from June 1 though November 30, but with some planning and awareness, there’s no reason not to take a cruise during those six months.
I just spent three days on board Carnival Horizon, Carnival Cruise Line’s newest ship. From interviewing the captain and officers, I learned a lot about how cruise lines deal with hurricanes and why a cruise ship is one of the safest places to be during a tropical cyclone.
Cruise lines have shoreside state-of-the-art fleet operations centers that keep track of every ship in their fleet. They know exactly where each vessel is and what the local weather conditions are. They also have an inside line on weather forecasts and the latest hurricane tracking information so they can alter itineraries to avoid storms, as necessary
Modern cruise ships have operating speeds of 18 to 22 knots, or 20 to 25 mph. That’s up to four times as fast as most hurricanes move, which gives ship captains plenty of speed to outrun even the fastest storm to keep passengers safe and seek out sunny skies.
Usually, the worst thing that can happen is that you’ll have to stay aboard for an extra day or so until the storm has passed and your ship can return to its port of embarkation. The second worst thing is that you miss a scheduled port of call or two. So, instead of stopping at Nassau, Bahamas, you end up at Cozumel, Mexico, or you spend a day or two at sea instead of going ashore. Hey, you’re still on a cruise vacation!
Here are a few of my tips for cruising during hurricane season:
- Book your cruise vacation through a travel adviser. It won’t cost extra, you might get a better price and you’ll have someone on your team looking out for you who has access to important information before it’s available to you.
- Buy travel insurance. You’ve saved up for your vacation, and you should protect your investment in case your cruise is canceled due to a hurricane or other weather event.
- Add a buffer. Plan to arrive at your port of embarkation the day before your cruise is scheduled to depart. If your flight is delayed or it takes longer to reach the port, you’ll have a better chance of catching your cruise.
- Keep a weather eye out. Download a weather app to your smartphone and monitor conditions in the region you will be cruising.
- Finally, don’t worry – be happy! There is a whole team of smart, talented folks on board and ashore who are looking out for you, so enjoy your vacation!
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