Hurricane Impact: Port-by-Port Updates on Caribbean Sailings

by Daniel McCarthy
Hurricane Impact: Port-by-Port Updates on Caribbean Sailings

Key West is welcoming tourists back with a lot of the tourist attractions local to the island’s cruise port reopening. Photo: Felix Mizioznikov/Shutterstock

 

While a lot of uncertainty lies ahead for travel agents with clients booked on Caribbean sailings, there is some good news for the future as Caribbean cruise ports have slowly begun to reopen in the wake of hurricanes Maria and Irma.

Here is a roundup of what cruise ports are currently accepting guests.

Key West
Key West welcomed its first post-hurricanes cruise ship this week when Royal Caribbean’s Empress of the Seas docked at the port last Sunday.

While a lot of the area is still in recovery mode, Key West is welcoming tourists back with a lot of the tourist attractions local to the island’s cruise port reopening.

Grand Turk
Grand Turk is still not open to cruise ships.

Carnival has issued new itineraries for ships that were scheduled to stop at Grand Turk including Magic, Conquest and Glory. Those ships will head to Amber Cove instead.

Officials expect the port to open sometime around the middle of October. 

Nassau
Having escaped a lot Irma’s and Maria’s damage, Nassau remains open to all cruise ships traffic.

Most of cruise lines’ private islands near Nassau, including Castaway Cay, CocoCay, Half Moon Cay, and Great Stirrup Cay, are all open.

Amber Cove, Carnival Corp.’s private port in the Dominican Republic, is also up and running.

San Juan
San Juan is not expected to welcome back cruise ships anytime in the near future. The city was slammed by Hurricane Maria and the island is still largely without power. The plan was for some ships to return this week, but those sailings have been altered to avoid San Juan.

“Given the impact of Hurricane Maria, we understand that there is uncertainty regarding travel to the island. We continue to monitor the recovery efforts in San Juan,” Royal Caribbean said in a statement on Monday, Sept. 25.

St. Croix
St. Croix is still closed to all cruise ship traffic, though, last week USVI Governor Kenneth Mapp said that St. Croix’s cruise ship facility did reportedly withstand “the barrage of wind and storm surge.”

Royal Caribbean will stop at St. Croix this week on a humanitarian sailing with a plan to pick up 750 residents from the island.

St. Kitts
St. Kitts was on the road back to normal operations by Sept. 23 when it welcomed Carnival Fascination and Royal Caribbean’s Adventure of the Seas.

St. Maarten
The Port of St. Maarten is currently welcoming relief ships, including Royal Dutch Navy’s HMLMS Karel Doorman, to help with the recovery effort.

Royal Caribbean’s Adventure of the Seas made a stop at the island last week to evacuate people from the island.

At the moment, there is no word on when St. Maarten will return to normal operations.

St. Thomas
According to officials, cruise ships will return to St. Thomas by the end of October, and maybe even earlier according to USVI Governor Kenneth Mapp.

Vendors near the cruise ship terminal are anxious and ready for the return of tourists, Mapp said.

Magens Bay, one of the most popular shore excursions stops in St. Thomas, is not yet ready to welcome guests but getting it reopen is a “priority,” according to Mapp.

Celebrity Summit will return to St. Thomas “soon” according to the line.

Tortola
Torotola was left “like a war zone” after Hurricane Irma.

The port is currently closed to all guests and will be so for the foreseeable future.

Earlier in the month, Tortola did welcome humanitarian stops by Royal Caribbean’s Majesty of the Seas and Norwegian Sky.

 

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