September of this year saw devastation in the Caribbean following Hurricane Irma and Hurricane Maria, some of the most powerful storms ever recorded in the Atlantic Ocean.
Most cruise lines have since had to re-schedule, alter or even cancel itineraries in the region altogether with some Caribbean ports still remaining closed for the near future. Below is a port by port guide of which Caribbean destinations are open and closed…
Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands
St. Thomas was devastated by Irma and is closed to cruise ships for now, but Carnival won’t return until January 9th wit Carnival Glory. Royal Caribbean plans to return on November 10th with Adventure of the Seas, and Holland America will return on November 25th with Niew Amsterdam.
Royal Caribbean already has cancelled all of its visits to St. Thomas through late October and replaced them with calls at such islands as St. Kitts and Bonaire, and at Labadee, the line’s private beach getaway in Haiti; Norwegian is also replacing St. Thomas visits on Norwegian Escape through the end of the year with calls in the Western Caribbean; Celebrity is shifting its ships to places like St. Kitts.
Frederiksted, St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands
St. Croix was relatively unaffected by Irma but early reports are that the island suffered significant damage from Maria, but damage assessments are underway.
St. Croix isn’t normally visited by cruise ships at this time of year but in the wake of Irma, several lines had been planning on using St. Croix as a substitute port for nearby St. Thomas and St. Maarten, which were heavily damaged by the storm
Grand Turk Island, Turks & Caicos
Grand Turk, a popular port for Carnival, suffered damage from Irma and has been closed to cruise vessels the past two weeks. It had been expected to re-open soon but suffered another blow on Friday as Maria passed nearby.
Carnival replaced its calls there last week with visits to Amber Cove in the Dominican Republic and Freeport in The Bahamas, and it has dropped more calls at Grand Turk planned for this week with a variety of ports.
Gustavia, St. Barts
St. Barts took a significant hit from Irma, but a recovery effort is well underway. On Monday, a communique from the island said all neighborhood power lines and water lines had been restored, roadways were clear and the commercial harbour was fully functional.
While a few visits that had been on the books for later in the year already have been cancelled, officials expect the island to be ready for Crystal Serenity on October 30th.
Philipsburg, St. Maarten
St. Maarten is one of the most visited cruise ports in the Caribbean, drawing over 1.6 million cruisers a year, but was devastated by Irma and is not expected to reopen to cruise ships for many weeks if not months.
Royal Caribbean has cancelled all of its visits to St. Maarten through late October, replacing them with calls at the islands of St. Kitts and St. Croix, and at Labadee, the line’s private beach getaway in Haiti.
The cancellations could extend beyond October, meanwhile Windstar Cruises has removed St. Maarten from its schedule through March 2018.
Dominica was hit hard by Maria with the island’s prime minister saying there was “mind-boggling” damage, and it’s not expected to reopen to cruise ships for some time. No ships are scheduled to call at the island until late October.
San Juan, Puerto Rico
The port of San Juan bounced back quickly after Irma passed nearby, but it may take longer to resume its place as a major cruise destination in the wake of Maria. Carnival said late Friday that its terminal in San Juan sustained extensive damage from Maria that will takes weeks to repair. Both Royal Caribbean and Carnival have cancelled this week’s sailings out of the city.
Tortola, British Virgin Islands
The British Virgin Islands were hard hit by Irma and could be closed to cruise ships for many weeks if not months. Norwegian Cruise Line already has cancelled all of its stops at Tortola scheduled for Norwegian Escape through the end of the year, replacing them with calls in the Western Caribbean.
Amber Cove, Dominican Republic
The re-routings didn’t continue for long as the Dominican Republic’s Ministry of Tourism issued a communique that said the port and all others around the country were back open and operating normally.
Basseterre, St. Kitts
St. Kitts received a glancing blow from both Irma and Maria but escaped major damage. An evaluation found no damage from the storm at the Port Zante cruise pier, and has since welcomed Royal and Carnival ships.
Martinique experienced some flooding and power outages in the wake of Maria, but its port has reopened. No cruise ships are scheduled to call in Martinique until the middle of October.
Havana suffered damage from Hurricane Irma, but re-opened as normal whilst Royal Caribbean stated that all their planned tours ran as scheduled.
Key West, Fla.
Key West was less affected by Irma than areas of the Keys to the east, where the eye of the storm came ashore, and it has opened to ships more quickly than expected despite needing to go through recovery.
Royal Caribbean originally had cancelled all of its visits to Key West through mid-October, but have put many of the calls back on its schedule.
La Romana, Dominian Republic
La Romana was relatively unaffected by Irma and Maria and the Dominican Republic’s Ministry of Tourism issued a communique that said the port and all others around the country were back open and operating normally.
Samana, Dominican Republic
Samana was relatively unaffected by Irma and Maria and the Dominican Republic’s Ministry of Tourism issued a communique that said the port and all others around the country were back open and operating normally.
Even if the port area had suffered damage from the storm, it would have had little impact on cruise schedules as there are no ships set to visit Samana until November.
St John’s, Antigua
Antigua suffered a glancing blow from Hurricane Irma, which devastated sister island Barbuda. Antigua was still on cruise schedules for the fall, with a couple of scheduled visits pushed back as part of a larger shuffling of the ship’s schedule due to the closures of St. Thomas, St. Maarten and Tortola.
Below are the ports completely and relatively unaffected by the storms:
-Belize City, Belize
-Castries, St. Lucia
– Costa Maya, Mexico.
– Cozumel, Mexico
– Falmouth, Jamaica
-St. Georges, Grenada
-Harvest Caye, Belize
-Montego Bay, Jamaica
–Nassau, The Bahamas
-Freeport, The Bahamas
-Ocho Rios, Jamaica
-Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic
We will update this page with the latest itinerary changes as and when they are released. Visit this page again for further details.
Has your cruise been affected by Hurricane Irma and Hurricane Maria? Have you cruised to the Caribbean before? Leave us your comments…
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