It’s full speed ahead for Tropical Storm Irene. Forming yesterday in the Atlantic just east of the Leeward islands, Irene kicked it into high gear out of the starting gate and was moving westerly at 22 mph. That’s considerable speed, especially for a newly formed tropical storm to hold together.
And as is only too common during the hurricane season (June 1 – November 30), cruise lines have their contingency plans well in place for any untoward weather scenario.
The first on the list to change itineraries is Royal Caribbean. Here’s the line-up so far, as announced by Royal Caribbean:
Oasis of the Seas will reverse its itinerary; Cozumel first on Monday, Tuesday is a sea day, stop at Falmouth, Jamaica on Wednesday, stop at Labadee on Thursday, sea day again on Friday and return to Fort Lauderdale on Saturday
Freedom of the Seas will also reverse its itinerary. She left Port Canaveral today to go to Cozumel first on Tuesday, followed by Grand Cayman on Wednesday, Falmouth on Thursday and Labadee on Friday.
Allure of the Seas will now stop at Nassau, Bahamas on Saturday instead of Monday. The rest of her scheduled stops at St. Thomas (Wednesday) and St. Maarten (Thursday) will take place as planned.
Finally, Serenade of the Seas will have its cruise order changed as well. The Serenade left from San Juan, Puerto Rico today and will visit Aruba on Tuesday, Curacao on Wednesday, St. Kitts on Friday and St. Thomas on Saturday.
Tropical Storm Irene is expected to reach Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands later today, bringing heavy rain and winds. Low-lying areas in the Leeward Islands were flooded and airports had to be closed earlier today. Slowing down to a west-northwest track with speeds of 17 m.p.h and dropping her barometric pressure nto the triple digits, Irene is expected to gain strength and on Monday, become the first hurricane of the 2011 season.
Computer models show Irene headed for landfall at the southern tip of Florida later this week. But as always, the path of a hurricane or tropical storm can change within a short time. My favorite source of tropical weather information is Wunderground.com. Check it out.
Royal Caribbean, Disney, Carnival and Norwegian Cruise Lines are the only cruise lines plying the Bahamas or the Caribbean this summer. That drastically cuts the amount of ships in the area during the unpredictable Caribbean hurricane season.
I’ll post more itinerary changes as they become available.