It goes without saying that Hurricane Irma has left a trail of devastation and tragedy in her wake. When a natural disaster like this occurs, nothing is safe from destruction; that includes the cruise industry. With so many major cruise lines’ home ports in Florida, and many more with ports of call in the Caribbean, the past week has seen a rollercoaster of changing events as the industry giants attempted to keep passengers out of harm’s way.
This week, as the storm has passed and we begin to understand the severity of the damage, many cruise companies are determining how best to move forward. A recent story from the Miami Herald explains how three major cruise lines are adapting in the aftermath of Hurricane Irma.
As early as Tuesday of this week, cruise lines were allowed back into ports along the Florida coast. However, port reopening is a slow and sometimes unpredictable process. In light of this, many cruise lines have opted to delay or even completely cancel upcoming departures.
According to reports, Port Everglades opened Tuesday afternoon, while Port Miami and Canaveral are scheduled to open on Wednesday. This access allows cruise lines that had accommodated passengers before the storm to finally allow everyone to disembark. It also means that trips leaving this week may be able to depart, albeit with a modified schedule.
Cruise Itineraries Modified or Cancelled for the Foreseeable Future
Carnival has rescheduled five cruises, all with new departure dates and some with shortened lengths. Those on shortened trips will receive a refund for the days missed, or can choose to cancel their trip in exchange for a future cruise credit. The company cancelled only two of its trips and will offer cancelled passengers a full refund.
Royal Caribbean rescheduled four of its ships, and will offer guests on modified cruises a 50% refund and 50% future cruise credit.
Norwegian Cruise Line, which had shuttled 4,000 passengers out of the path of the storm, plans to return to Port Miami on Wednesday. As for future cruises, the company plans to move itineraries scheduled for Eastern Caribbean ports to Western Caribbean ports until November.
In the wake of Hurricane Irma, we are glad to know that the cruise lines are practicing reasonable responses to the devastation and rescheduling or refunding as needed. Although many of the trips have been planned to depart this week, some passengers may find it difficult to reach their cruise, as Florida airports are not yet offering a full service of flights. That said, if passengers are able to reach the ships, they could get a few days of much-needed time away from the stress of daily life.
LMAW, PA Offers Calm After the Storm
Although this situation seems to be running according to plan, we know that this is not always the case. In the past, as with the Anthem of the Seas, cruise lines can make poor choices regarding hurricanes that put passengers and crewmembers at risk. So if you or someone you love has been injured aboard a cruise, and you believe that the cruise line is to blame, you can rest assured that we are here to help.
Speaking with a maritime lawyer on our team is the first step to putting the past behind you. So when you are ready to move forward with your life, know that we are here to help. Simply contact us to get started, today.