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Hurricane Irene Diverts Cruise Ships

Hurrican Irene (Weather.com)Hurricane Irene is the first for the 2011 Atlantic season but the ninth storm, and it’s causing some disruption to cruise itineraries. The National Hurricane Center (NHC) issued an advisory at around 11am EDT on Monday, warning that the storm is about 105 miles west-northwest of San Juan in Puerto Rico. Winds have reached 80 miles per hour and are expected to intensify in the next few days. Due to the weather conditions, Cruise Critic has reported that cruise lines Royal Caribbean and Carnival have been forced to alter journeys for over six ships.

Royal Caribbean has flipped the Oasis of the Seas‘ itinerary after it departed Fort Lauderdale on Saturday for a 7-day Western Caribbean journey. On Monday it was visiting Cozumel, and now the ship will spend a day at sea on Tuesday, call at Falmouth, Jamaica on Wednesday and visit the line’s private peninsula in Haiti (Labadee) on Thursday. On Friday, the vessel will spend the day at sea on its way to Fort Lauderdale, where it will arrive on Saturday as scheduled.

Freedom of the Seas is currently on a 7-day Western Caribbean cruise. It will now be calling at Cozumel on Tuesday, Grand Cayman on Wednesday, Falmouth on Thursday and Labadee on Friday before returning on Sunday. Allure of the Seas will visit all its originally planned ports but in a different order. On Saturday it will call at Nassau, Bahamas instead of on Monday, but its Wednesday visit to St Thomas and Thursday visit to St Maarten will go ahead as scheduled. Serenade of the Seas will have a completely rearranged itinerary. It will call at Aruba on Tuesday, Curacao on Wednesday, St Kitts on Friday and St Thomas on Saturday before returning on Sunday.

Carnival Cruise Lines has changed the itinerary for Carnival Conquest to calling at Costa Maya on Wednesday, Cozumel on Thursday and Progreso on Friday before returning on Sunday. Carnival Victory has cancelled its call at St Thomas on Monday but is proceeding to Barbados for a Wednesday visit. A spokesman says the line is still evaluating the rest of the ship’s itinerary. Carnival Liberty will stop at Grand Turk on Monday rather than spend a day at sea as scheduled, and the rest of the itinerary is still being evaluated. Carnival Miracle will visit Grand Turk on Monday and Half Moon Cay on Tuesday instead of calling at San Juan and St Thomas.

Cruise ships probably won’t be the only form of travel disrupted by Hurricane Irene, which is due to hit the south-east coast of the US. Due to the storm’s high winds, flights to areas where the hurricane is expected to impact are likely to be delayed, if not cancelled. Road travel will probably be out of the question as well.

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