Bonus trip or uneven nightmare? Here is what it is like on a cruise ship caught at sea throughout a hurricane

Bonus trip or uneven nightmare? Here is what it is like on a cruise ship caught at sea throughout a hurricane

There’s at all times a risk of dangerous climate and tough seas while you go on a cruise, however cruise strains are nicely ready to alter course if an approaching storm might be too harmful to navigate. There are additionally contingencies if they’re unable to return to port as scheduled. Proper now, all these playbooks have been dusted off and are in use.

On Monday, Sept. 26, as Hurricane Ian was closing in on Florida, Disney Want left Port Canaveral for a four-night Bahamas cruise with deliberate stops at Nassau and Castaway Cay, Disney Cruise Line’s non-public island, earlier than a deliberate return to Port Canaveral on Friday, Sept. 30.

However with Hurricane Ian a harmful Class 4 storm making landfall in Central Florida, Port Canaveral closed and has ceased all operations till additional discover.

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With out the choice to return to Florida as initially scheduled, Disney Want — together with different cruise ships — is (briefly) “caught” at sea.

Whereas staying at sea and away from the storm is the most secure resolution, vacationers nonetheless have a number of questions, issues and normal curiosity in regards to the change in fact. The Factors Man spoke with passengers at the moment on board Disney Want to study what it is like being out at sea for a couple of additional days throughout a hurricane.

You will get frequent updates from the captain

When Disney Want set sail on Sept. 26, the captain made an announcement that the ship would possibly return to Port Canaveral later within the day than initially deliberate based mostly on the projected forecast at the moment. Matt Roseboom, editor and writer at Sights Journal, is on board the crusing and captured video footage of the preliminary announcement.

The captain notified visitors with flights leaving earlier than 3 p.m. on Sept. 30 to contact their airline to depart later within the day, if attainable. He additionally suggested that they have been watching Hurricane Ian fastidiously and would proceed to maintain passengers up to date on the climate all through the voyage.

Lizzie Meeks, a Disney journey advisor in Nashville, can also be on the crusing and defined to TPG that the captain informed visitors “the port authority might want to assess any harm earlier than giving the ship the inexperienced gentle to maneuver into port and the cruise terminal.”

Your itinerary could be adjusted

A cruise ship’s schedule of port visits and sea days might be adjusted midcruise for quite a few causes. The climate is definitely a type of causes — even absent a full-fledged hurricane. However when a hurricane is churning, it is rather attainable that the ship’s itinerary will change.

Associated: When will cruise ports in Florida reopen?

For Disney Want, a port change announcement got here on the morning of Sept. 28 when the ship was scheduled to dock at Castaway Cay for the day. Fairly than head towards Disney’s non-public island, and towards the storm, the ship turned towards the japanese fringe of the Atlantic Ocean the place seas can be calmer.

Meeks shared that the winds close to Castaway Cay have been too robust, with little hope for enchancment, so the captain made the choice to sail away from the world.


A day at port turned a day at sea, however Disney conjured a little bit of its well-known “Disney magic” and added extra actions all through the day, in line with Roseboom. “They made an announcement and informed us to shut out of the Disney Cruise app and reopen it to see the brand new schedule of actions,” he mentioned. Mickey and his mates nonetheless wore their island outfits to greet visitors, even when everybody needed to keep on board.

“They’ve actually made an effort to make it a big day,” Meeks mentioned. “There have been a ton of recent character meet and greets all through the day, together with Marvel, ‘Star Wars’ and Halloween characters which can be usually reserved for particular occasion cruises. New group video games and trivia themes have been added, in addition to further instances for drink tastings like Champagne, bourbon, gin and extra,” she added.

Associated: What occurs when a hurricane hits Disney World

Your cruise could be prolonged

If a hurricane strikes while you’re at sea, it is also attainable that you could be find yourself with an prolonged crusing and further days on the ship.

That is at the moment the state of affairs for Carnival Paradise, Carnival Elation, Royal Caribbean’s Mariner of the Seas, Norwegian Cruise Line’s Norwegian Getaway, MSC Cruise’s MSC Divina and Disney Want. With a number of Florida ports closed because of the storm, the ships can’t return to disembark passengers on schedule.


In such instances, cruise strains have two choices: head to a unique port up or down the coast to disembark passengers or stay at sea till the ship’s residence port reopens. Docking at a unique port creates an entire new set of points for passengers who have to return to vehicles, properties or airports close to the initially scheduled port — in order that possibility is never used.

Associated: Not less than 5 cruise ships caught at sea as Hurricane Ian closes Florida ports

Within the case of Disney Want, the primary announcement got here on the night of Sept. 27 because the storm moved nearer to shore. Based mostly on up to date forecasts, the captain introduced the ship wouldn’t return to port till Saturday or Sunday, after the storm had handed they usually might higher assess the state of affairs at Port Canaveral. That meant passengers would stay on board one or two days longer than anticipated.

Earlier than he might even full the announcement, cheers erupted by the ship, as seen within the beneath video.

In a subsequent announcement on the afternoon of Sept. 28, the captain up to date visitors that Disney Want would return to Port Canaveral on Sunday as an alternative of Friday and that the ship ought to have the ability to dock at Castaway Cay on Saturday, Oct. 1.

Even earlier than the extension of this crusing was formally introduced, Disney Cruise Line canceled the upcoming Disney Want crusing that was set to depart Port Canaveral on Friday, Sept. 30, as a security precaution.

Additional days are typically a great factor

As that announcement was made, audible cheers confirmed that the majority visitors have been thrilled that their trip was simply prolonged indefinitely. “The final sentiment is that individuals are content material and blissful in regards to the additional day(s),” Roseboom mentioned.

Cruise ships can simply keep away from storms by crusing away from them and chasing higher climate. For Disney Want, a minimum of, the climate has been pretty calm. “The present climate is sunshine with some humidity. We had choppier waves this morning [when the ship was closer to the storm], however from the place we at the moment are, you would not even know there was a hurricane within the distance,” Meeks mentioned.


Plus, the crew is ready to innovate to accommodate the additional days. The leisure employees will schedule extra sea-day actions, simply as they did when Castaway Cay obtained canceled.

Visitors need not fear about operating out of meals, as cruise ships carry greater than only one crusing’s value of meals on board. In a pinch, the cruise ship can discover a approach of choosing up provisions within the islands. With two additional days at sea, the ship would possibly run out of particular perishables, like berries, however passengers will nonetheless have loads of selections at each meal.

As a result of Disney Want employs a rotational eating schedule, through which passengers are assigned nights at every of the ship’s essential eating places, visitors should now wait to be informed which eating places they need to dine in on the extra nights of the crusing. “Since Disney Cruise Line makes use of rotational eating, they merely assigned us two extra nights of a restaurant. It is actually working like regular in some ways,” Meeks mentioned.

You will must rearrange journey plans

Roseboom, who resides in Central Florida, is having fun with the additional day or two of trip, however is equally nervous about his home and family and friends again residence within the wake of Hurricane Ian. “For cruisers who dwell outdoors of Florida, they appear to be principally blissful, however they do have to determine easy methods to change their flights,” he shared.

For Meeks, actuality set in because the cheers subsided.

“Some folks, together with myself, discovered the information regarding due to journey logistics — altering transfers and flights, reserving a lodge room simply in case our flights are canceled and speaking with household again residence are all annoying and you may really feel the strain late final evening,” she mentioned.

Not solely is Port Canaveral closed till Hurricane Ian passes and the wind calms, however Orlando Worldwide Airport (MCO) has additionally shuttered in the course of the storm.

Even as soon as the airport reopens after the storm has handed, it would take a while for planes and crews to get again into place, and longer nonetheless to accommodate all the passengers who’ve been briefly stranded within the Central Florida space.

This is without doubt one of the the explanation why when cruising throughout hurricane season, it is essential to noticeably take into account journey insurance coverage, or a minimum of guide your journey utilizing a bank card that conveys some built-in journey protections to assist reduce the monetary affect.

Backside line

“There are definitely worse locations to be ‘caught,'” Meeks informed us. “Lots of people have the attitude that we’re secure and have a lot to be pleased about,” she added. Crew and passenger security is the rationale cruise strains make the choice to remain at sea previous the tip of their scheduled itinerary. Sure, it may be inconvenient, however cruise strains do exit of their solution to take advantage of the expertise for his or her visitors, and security is at all times the highest precedence.

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