Hurricane Lee, which reached Category 5 status last week, remains well off the east coast of the U.S. but could impact travel in the Caribbean and the northeast U.S. sometime this week.
According to the latest from the National Hurricane Center (NHC), Lee was located 340 miles of the Northern Leeward Islands, and 650 miles south-southeast of Bermuda. The storm was moving toward the northwest at nearly 7 mph and is expected to pass well north of the northern Leeward Islands, the Virgin Islands, and Puerto Rico during the next day or two.
Even with its position off the coast, the storm will bring “surf and life-threatening rip currents” to portions of the Caribbean through much of the week. That includes the U.S.V.I., B.V.I., Puerto Rico, Turks and Caicos, the Bahamas, and Bermuda.
Bermuda, in particular, could feel the storm’s impact more than the others—the NHC said that it is still “too soon to determine the specific timing and level of those impacts,” but did say that those in Bermuda can expect “wind, rainfall, and high surf impacts.”
“Interests in Bermuda should monitor the latest forecasts for Lee,” the NHC said.
There are still questions about Lee’s impact on those in, and traveling through, the U.S. East Coast and Atlantic Canada. The NHC has continued to say it “remains too soon to know what level of impacts, if any, Lee might have along” those areas right now, and is simply warning about “dangerous surf and rip currents” along the coast as the storm grows in size.
Cruise line changes
Several cruise lines have announced changes to itineraries due to Lee.
Carnival Cruise Line’s brand ambassador John Heald announced changes for two of its ships this weekend—Carnival Venezia and Carnival Magic. Venezia, which left New York last Friday, is skipping Puerto Rico, St. Thomas, and Grand Turk, and instead spending time at Half Moon Cay, Nassau, and Freeport, before returning to New York.
Royal Caribbean has changed schedules for four ships—Adventure of the Seas, Harmony of the Season, Vision of the Seas, and Wonder of the Seas.
- Adventure’s current sailing, which departed Ft. Lauderdale on Sept. 9, will now visit Roatan and Cozumel.
- Harmony of the Seas, which left from Miami on Sept. 9, is moving to a Western Caribbean itinerary, with calls at Roatan, Cozumel, and CocoCay.
- Wonder of the Seas, which was scheduled to visit CocoCay, St. Thomas, and St. Marten this week, is changing to a Western Caribbean itinerary with calls at Cozumel and Roatan.
- Vision of the Seas, which left from Baltimore on its current sailing, is skipping a call at Bermuda and instead going to CocoCay and Nassau this week.
Disney Cruise Line’s Fantasy’s Sept. 9 sailing has been switched from a Bermuda itinerary to a Western Caribbean itinerary due to Hurricane Lee. In a message to guests this week, Disney said that it had been closely monitoring” the storm and has decided to make the change ahead of its arrival.
The ship sailing out of Port Canaveral is bypassing Bermuda but adding Cozumel and George Town along with a second visit to Castaway Cay.
Others have not made any changes, including Oceania Cruises, which confirmed to TMR on Monday that it had not made any changes to its schedule.