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Enjoy a Hurricane Season Cruise with the Right Attitude

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[Updated 2018]

Now that summer has officially arrived, so has hurricane season in the Caribbean, lasting from June through November, affecting tourists and residents from the Southern Caribbean, and on north to the coast of Maine. Should that stop you from booking a Caribbean or New England cruise in late summer or fall? No, and here’s why.

Caribbean cruise rates are never better than they are in fall, especially from late August through mid-December. Crowds diminish, the kids are back in school, and cruising is generally quieter. It’s an ideal time to cruise.

Chances are good that a hurricane will not affect your cruise plans. Cruise ships use the latest weather-tracking systems to steer around the path of storms. While you may encounter some rough seas, the crew will do a marvelous job of keeping you safe and the ship as steady as possible.

If you are planning a Caribbean cruise in fall, you can take a few extra precautions to lessen the chance of weather-related mishaps.

  1. First and most importantly, buy a good travel insurance policy. You might even consider one with a cancel-for-any-reason feature.
  2. Arrive at your port a day or two ahead of your sail date, especially if you need to fly. While the cruise itself may not be an issue in a storm, getting to your ship on time could be. Weather delays and flight cancellations may leave you stranded at home. Getting a jump start to the cruise port will increase the likelihood of getting on board.
  3. When choosing a late summer or fall tropical cruise, consider a destination less likely to be in the path of a hurricane, such as Panama or Costa Rica.
  4. Use a travel agent. They have the resources to keep you alert to delays and cancellations and can get you where you need to be with minimal stress.
  5. If a storm does come your way, keep in touch with your travel agent for the latest cruise line updates and advice.

If you are cruising during hurricane season, keep an open mind and board your ship with the right attitude. If a hurricane messes with your vacation, the ship’s itinerary may change, and you may find yourself in ports you weren’t expecting. Go with the flow, and enjoy your cruise, wherever it may take you.


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We've been in a number of cruises in a hurricane. The first time was when we were in FL and Carnival told us that our Eastern cruise was being diverted to Western because of a hurricane. We could either go home (credit for cruise only), or take Western. We took Western. The captain tried to steer away as much as possible, but we did have quite a bumpy, wet ride out of Miami until we got to the Gulf.

Next time we were in the Mexican Riviera and I remember Marcy telling "the kids" it never rains and the weather is beautiful. Her son (15 at the time) planted himself at the window in the main show lounge and storm watched the entire time. The lightening came right through! The "other kids" went to the art auction because it was in the middle of the ship and that was where everyone was told to be if the motion of the ocean became too much.

The next hurricane happened again when we were in the Caribbean. The captain got on the loud speaker and told us that he would be diverting the ship to steer away from the storm and that we might not get to stop at all the places. We arrived really late in Puerto Rico, but got to experience it (for the first time) in the night. No problems after that.

Now my memory isn't as good as it was when we were in the hurricanes. But I can tell you that we found them to be fun. We didn't mind when our itinerary got changed and we surely didn't mind when the captain told us he was steering us away from the storms.

We truly believe that every captain has it's passengers, crew and family (etc) 100% on his/her mind and that safety is number one.

We have also tried many different times of the year to cruise. No month is exempt from what could be called bad weather. I agree, Jan, it's your attitude.

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I like your attitude. Hurricanes certainly can be an adventure. While I haven't cruised in one, we did experience a beach house vacation during Hurricane Bob in 1991. I was 8 months pregnant, day one of our vacation, and we evacuated inland to my sister's. The storm ended, and we returned to the beach cottage - no lights, no power, no water. With the exception of one night at a nearby motor in to shower, we remained at the cottage, grilling, eating by candle light and flushing the toilet with sea water. The power came back the very last day. It turned out to be a fun week and one of those "remember when" vacations we'll never forget.

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Thanks for the article, and reminder, Jan.  I usually do avoid the late summer/fall times to cruise.  Good things to know... and ways to stay positive if we do go in hurricane season.  

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