A number of cruise ship itineraries, as well as US ports, have been affected by Hurricane Irma, which is forecast to remain a powerful Category 4 or 5 hurricane during the next couple of days.
Miami-based cruise line operator Royal Caribbean canceled the Cuba and Bahamas sailings on Empress of the Seas, Enchantment of the Seas and Majesty of the Seas, which were scheduled for September 8 and 9.
Additionally, the cruise line modified the sailings of Oasis, Harmony and Allure of the Seas, delaying the return of these ships until the storm passes.
The company also modified the sailings of Allure of the Seas, Harmony of the Seas and Oasis of the Seas, scheduled for September 9 and 10.
“Due to the unpredictability of the storm, we plan to keep all of our guests currently sailing on these ships safely out of harm’s way,” Royal Caribbean said, adding that they are “closely monitoring Hurricane Irma’s path and its potential impact to our current and upcoming sailings.”
Local media informed that Carnival Cruise Line diverted its cruise ship Carnival Pride, which was scheduled to sail closer to the hurricane’s path, to Union Pier as part of its itinerary changes.
As of the evening hours of September 5, Hurricane Irma is a category 5 hurricane with sustained winds around the center at 185 mph and was located about 210 miles east of Antigua. The storm continued its westerly track at 15 mph, and is likely that Irma will impact Florida at some point this weekend.
Due to the possibility of sustained gale force winds greater than 39 mph from Hurricane Irma that may arrive within 24 hours in Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands, the United States Coast Guard set port condition ZULU for these ports effective 8 pm local time, September 5.
While port condition ZULU is in place no vessels may enter or transit within these ports without permission. All vessel movements are prohibited at this time, and all ship-to-shore operations must cease until further notice, the Coast Guard informed.