A growing Hurricane Florence is forcing cruise ships based up and down the East Coast to alter itineraries.
More than 4,000 vacationers on Norwegian Cruise Line's Norwegian Escape today find themselves on the way to the Bahamas instead of Bermuda as the vessel steers clear of the storm. The ship departed New York City on Sunday for what was supposed to be a three-day visit to Bermuda's King's Wharf. Instead it will call at Nassau and Great Stirrup Cay in the Bahamas as well as Port Canaveral, Fla.
Also rerouting to the Bahamas this week instead of Bermuda are two Baltimore-based ships: Royal Caribbean's 2,446-passenger Grandeur of the Seas and Carnival Cruise Line's 2,124-passenger Carnival Pride. The vessels departed Baltimore on Saturday and Sunday, respectively.
Another Carnival ship, the New York-based, 3,936-passenger Carnival Horizon, cancelled a Sunday call at San Juan, Puerto Rico and has shifted the date of a call in the Dominican Republic as it alters its route to stay out of the storm's way. It's due back in New York on Thursday.
The storm also has affected the itineraries of Norwegian Cruise Line's Boston-based Norwegian Dawn and two vessels operated by Oceania Cruises.
In a preemptive move, the 2,340-passenger Norwegian Dawn sailed for Canada and New England on Friday instead of Bermuda and is in the midst of unexpected stops in Halifax and Sydney, Nova Scotia; St. John, New Brunswick; and Bar Harbor, Maine.
Oceania's 684-passenger Sirena is bypassing Bermuda as it nears the end of a repositioning cruise from Europe to Miami while sister ship Insignia is shifting several port calls.
In all, the changes are affecting the cruises of more than 15,000 vacationers.
The changes come as the coast of the Carolinas appears increasingly threatened by Florence. The National Hurricane Center on Monday said the Category 4 hurricane was rapidly strengthening and could approach the Carolinas by Thursday.
As of 1:00 PM ET Monday, Florence was about 575 miles south-southeast of Bermuda and moving to the west at 13 miles per hour. The hurricane had maximum sustained winds of 130 miles per hour, up significantly from Sunday.
By Gene Sloan, USA Today
Re-posted on CruiseCrazies.com - Cruise News, Articles, Forums, Packing List, Ship Tracker, and more
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