Cruising Through A Hurricane – Spot information
Planning on a Caribbean destination in the late summer or autumn months? You are in luck! Cruise prices are at its lowest that time of the year. However, there is just one little problem: hurricane season!
Cruising all year long is becoming more popular in the Caribbean, so those brave souls who book during the height of hurricane season should be prepared for last minute changes or diversions in their cruise travel plans. Hurricane season is officially from June 1st to November 30th. However, Mother Nature’s fury is often erratic depending on where you are traveling. For instance, mid to late August on through late September tend to be top times for storms on the East Coast of the United States as well as the Eastern Caribbean territories. Other areas of the Caribbean are more storm active in the latter part of the autumn season.
Theoretically, your chances of encountering a hurricane on your cruise are small. But, the likelihood is there, so a traveler must keep that in mind when booking a cruise. Be advised that certain destination ports in your cruise may be skipped because of storm risks. So, if you have your heart set on a certain Caribbean stop, perhaps the best recourse is for you to plan your cruise for a different time of year.
Safety is of utmost importance to cruise lines. After all, they want your repeat business! Their policy is to steer clear of any storms. Because of years of experience sailing in all types of weather, all cruise lines have emergency plans of action in place in the probability of encountering a storm. They also have sophisticated equipment to continually monitor the weather for any possible changes in the forecast.
Since cruise lines make it a point to steer clear of storms, sometimes the cruise ships have to divert to alternate ports of call. This usually happens when their regularly scheduled stops are threatened or bombarded by storms or hurricanes. One problem cruise ships can encounter is that the calmer ports of call may be full with not only the regularly scheduled ships but also other cruises also looking for a temporary safe haven from the storm. In this instance, your cruise ship will just continue to sail, diverting to calmer seas, sometimes adding a few days to your journey.
Unfortunately no refunds are given for any deviations to the cruise itinerary. Cruise lines have the discretion to switch ports of call. Be sure to read the microscopic print in your cruise agreement and paperwork. If you feel that you don’t want anything left to chance, you can always buy an insurance policy for your travels that covers interruptions due to weather conditions. Find out what all the fine print means on that policy before you set sail though!
So what happens if a hurricane shifts suddenly? Your cruise ship can often elude the storm simply because of its speed. However, that does not mean you won’t experience any turbulent seas. You can bet that the ship’s infirmary will be bombarded with travelers seeking seasickness medications!
Basically, when traveling during hurricane season, you have to be flexible. Plan a few extra days of being gone, just in case. Keep track of the weather starting a week or two before you set sail. Pack your Dramamine or whatever seasickness remedies you prefer. Most of all have fun and go with the flow.