Key West port to reopen to cruise ships; Hurricane Maria forces Caribbean itinerary changes
Key West plans to reopen its port to cruise ships Sunday, two weeks after Hurricane Irma battered the resort area at the southern tip of Florida. Royal Caribbean’s Empress of the Seas will be the first ship to visit, on its way to Cuba.
Cruise lines, which shuffled ships and itineraries when Irma hit the eastern Caribbean and Florida earlier this month, are again scrambling.
Hurricane Maria devastated Puerto Rico and the island of Domenica. The powerful hurricane is expected to hit the southeastern Bahamas and Turks and Caicos islands on Friday.
Royal Caribbean postponed an Adventure of the Seas sailing from Saturday until Wednesday. The ship will sail to Antigua and St. Kitts on a modified three-night itinerary.
Anthem of the Seas will sail Saturday but will replace a port call in Bermuda with Portland, Maine, and Halifax, Canada. The cruise line’s website announced changes in destinations for several other cruises into October.
Cuba cruises, however, are on. Royal Caribbean’s ship stopped in Havana on Wednesday. The company posted photos of the Cuban capital and reported on its website: “The terminal, port and transportation were ready, and all tours ran as scheduled.”
Carnival Cruises modified 13 cruise itineraries sailing from Florida ports and Baltimore between Wednesday and Oct. 1 because of Hurricane Maria.
Holland America, which begins sailing in the Caribbean in mid-October, is assessing eastern Caribbean itineraries and will have more information for passengers on Tuesday, according to its website.
The cruise line also said 2018 itineraries are being considered and will be posted Oct. 5. Western Caribbean and Panama Canal cruises are unaffected.
If you are scheduled to sail to the Caribbean now through October, contact your cruise line to check on the status of your trip. Cruise lines with affected sailings are offering passengers refunds, future cruise credits and partial reimbursements, depending on whether the trip was canceled or modified.
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