Hurricane Irma Upgraded to Category 5 Storm as It Heads Toward the Caribbean

by Daniel McCarthy
Hurricane Irma Upgraded to Category 5 Storm as It Heads Toward the Caribbean

Photo: Shutterstock.com


The travel industry is bracing for yet another week of worry and delays as the second major storm in the two weeks heads toward Puerto Rico.

Hurricane Irma is expected to make landfall in the Caribbean by late Tuesday, according to the National Hurricane Center, which upgraded the storm to an “extremely dangerous” Category 5 storm. It comes just a week after Hurricane Harvey—the first Category 4 storm to hit the United States in the past dozen years—devastated Houston.

Irma is heading toward the northeastern Leeward Islands—a group of islands in the West Indies that include St. Lucia, Dominica and Barbados—and is expected to make landfall later in the day. It’s then expected to hit the British and U.S. Virgin Islands, as well as Puerto Rico, on Wednesday, “with life-threatening wind, storm surge and rainfall,” the NHC said.

The storm could then hit Florida by the end of the week.

“Everyone in hurricane-prone areas should ensure that they have their hurricane plan in place,” an advisory from the NHC said this morning.

Air travel update
The storm is expected to cause even more disruptions to the air travel industry which is still not-yet recovered from Harvey.

Luis Munoz Marin International Airport in San Juan, Puerto Rico is already experiencing heavy delays and cancellations as of Tuesday morning, according to FlightAware.

American Airlines will not fly scheduled service between Miami and St. Kitts, St. Maarten, St. Thomas and St. Croix for the next three days because of the storm. American will waive its change fee for anyone with a ticket for travel on Sept. 5 to 8. Between those cities as well as Anguilla Wallblake, Antigue and Beef Island.

Delta Air Lines is allowing anyone with a flight cancellation or a delay of more than 90 minutes due to the storm, to refund the unused portion of their ticket. It is also allowing anyone with a ticket for travel in or out of San Juan, St. Croix, St. Maarten and St. Thomas on Sept. 5 and 6 to rebook for travel no later than Sept. 9.

Southwest will allow anyone holding reservations from Sept. 5 to 8 to rebook in the original class of travel within 14 days of their scheduled travel date without paying additional fees.

Cruise line changes
MSC Cruises, Royal Caribbean International, Celebrity Cruises and Carnival Cruise Line have all made changes to itineraries in anticipation of Hurricane Irma.

MSC will no longer sail a scheduled Eastern Caribbean itinerary on Divina and will now instead sail a Western Caribbean sailing.

Royal Caribbean did the same with Allure of the Seas, changing its Sept. 3 sailing from an Eastern to a Western Caribbean itinerary. All shore excursions for that sailing will be refunded.

Celebrity Equinox will not stop and St. Thomas and Tortola because of the storm, instead making a call at Curacao and adding a day at sea.

Carnival Cruise Line has made changes to four itineraries, including skipping Half Moon Cay yesterday on Carnival Glory’s Sept. 2 sailing.

Carnival Magic’s six-day Sept. 3 sailing will now start with a day at sea and then make calls at Cozumel, Belize and Costa Maya. Originally, Magic was scheduled to stop in Amber Cove, Grand Turk and Nassau.

Carnival Splendor’s Sept. 3 sailing, which was originally supposed to call on Nassau, Half Moon Cay, Grand Turk and Amber Cove, will now spend a day at sea before calling at Cozumel, Mahogany Bay and Belize.

Carnival Pride’s Sept. 3 sailing will now spend a day at sea and then call at Charleston, Freeport and Nassau instead of originally scheduled calls at Grand Turk and Half Moon Cay.

  0
  0
Tip of the Day
Daily Top List

Five Best U.S. Desintations for Art Lovers

1. San Francisco

2. Santa Fe

3. Chicago

4. New York

5. Asheville

Source: Care2

TMR THIS WEEK
http://services.travelsavers.com/AMGService.svc/REST/GetImage?ImageID=790331bd-ff88-e811-853f-782bcb667b27

Artificial Intelligence is the Future the Jetsons Told Us About

Customer loyalty is the ultimate reward for travel agents who tap into artificial intelligence. While still early in its application to travel, many companies are quickly realizing the need to implement AI to improve their travel customer service and trip planning.

TMR Recommendations
Top Stories
Once Again, Mexico’s San Miguel de Allende Tops Travel + Leisure’s World’s Best List
Once Again, Mexico’s San Miguel de Allende Tops Travel + Leisure’s World’s Best List

Several perennial favorites made the list, but Mexico notably took three of the top 15 spots for the world's best cities.

Perillo Tours to Launch 360 Video Travel Agent Campaign
Perillo Tours to Launch 360 Video Travel Agent Campaign

Virtual reality is gearing up to create vast changes in our culture and entertainment, including the way travel agents sell and the way consumers research travel.

Intrepid Travel to Launch New Backpacking Alternative Tour Brand
Intrepid Travel to Launch New Backpacking Alternative Tour Brand

Tour operator’s sister company, Geckos Adventures, has been absorbed in a strategic move to offer 'stress-free' and a sustainable, affordable alternative to backpacking.

Walt Disney World Holiday Offerings Travel Agents Should Know About
Walt Disney World Holiday Offerings Travel Agents Should Know About

Beginning Nov. 8, visitors will be able to celebrate with festive parties, special holiday décor and treats, and various entertainment.

Four Seasons Resort Bali at Sayan Is the Top Hotel in the World
Four Seasons Resort Bali at Sayan Is the Top Hotel in the World

The resort was named by Travel + Leisure as one of the properties to keep in mind when making recommendations to sophisticated, world travelers.

AccorHotels Integrates Loyalty Programs
AccorHotels Integrates Loyalty Programs

Two years after acquiring Fairmont, Raffles, and Swissotel, AccorHotels will consolidate the brands’ three loyalty programs with its own.

News Briefs
TMR Report Cards
Advertiser's Voice
Advertiser's Voice: Norwegian Cruise Line