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The Caribbean is open for business – Hurricanes have only affected a small portion of the enormous Caribbean Region.
USA Today has a roundup of all of the islands and their status to welcome visitors.
Our thoughts are with those affected anywhere in the Caribbean countries, Cuba, the Florida Keys and Puerto Rico. One of many websites assisting by vetting Caribbean relief contribution options is Caribbean Travel update: http://caribbeantravelupdate.com/
Cruise Lines Quickly Adjusted Itineraries
In addition to assisting those stranded travelers and making visits to islands to deliver needed supplies, the cruise lines have moved to calmer seas.
Carnival Cruise Line, Norwegian Cruise Line, Princess Cruises and Royal Caribbean International quickly adjusted, continue to revise sailings and offer many voyages to the western Caribbean and more Mexico cruises. There are many itineraries available now and some with very attractive rates. Other cruise lines are revising sailings as needed.
Carnival Cruise Line is announcing changes with Cozumel as an alternative. Grand Turk has been replaced with Bahamas ports Nassau and Freeport. Eastern Caribbean ports such as Grenada, Barbados, St. Kitts, Antigua and St. Lucia are picking up the itinerary changes.
Celebrity Cruises diverted Celebrity Equinox from St. Thomas and Tortola to Curacao and St. Kitts, Martinique and Antigua, as well as Jamaica.
Disney Cruise Line’s Disney Fantasy will move to Western Caribbean sailings.
MSC Divina’s Eastern Caribbean itineraries will switch to Antigua from St. Maarten.
Norwegian Cruise Line will make changes to its Eastern Caribbean itineraries, including switching Norwegian Escape to Western Caribbean sailings.
Royal Caribbean is making changes to its Caribbean itineraries; for example, where Key West was a stop, it will be Freeport in the Bahamas until Empress of the Seas will resume port calls there on September 24. St. Maarten may change to St. Kitts, while Labadee and Nassau are viable alternatives.
Cruise Line Ports
Departures and port calls to Cuba, Dominica, Key West, Puerto Rico, St. Martin and St. Thomas have been suspended but are expected to be back on line as quickly as possible.
The Bahamas and Cuba ports remain open.
Key West is set to reopen for cruise arrivals, with the first visit occurring Sept. 24 with a call from the Royal Caribbean’s Empress of the Seas. Key West has set an Oct. 20 target date to reopen for general tourism.
The ports in St. Croix and San Juan remain closed in the wake of Hurricane Maria.
St. Thomas and St. Maarten islands are closed to cruise ships since Hurricane Irma.
Islands with significant damage include St. Maarten/St. Martin, Tortola in the British Virgin Islands, St. Thomas and St. John in the U.S.V.I., Grand Turk in Turks & Caicos and St. Bart’s.
In the Caribbean overall, the cruise lines have options for such ports in Jamaica as Ocho Rios, Falmouth and Montego Bay, along with Grand Cayman, Belize, Roatan, Mexico’s Cozumel and Costa Maya. The islands of Aruba, Curacao and Bonaire remain open as do St. Kitts, Barbados, St. Lucia, Grenada and Antigua.
Cruise Line Private Islands
Disney Cruise Line’s private island, Castaway Cay, remains fully operational.
Holland America Line’s private island, Half Moon Cay, is fully operational and changes are underway, to be announced.
Royal Caribbean’s private island destination Labadee in Haiti was not affected.