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Hurricane Ian stranded 20 travelers on cruise ships and unable to return home

Due to Hurricane Ian, thousands of cruise passengers this week are getting something they probably didn't expect when their cruises began a few days ago: extra days at sea, reports PointsGuy.

Photo: IStock

The closure of three major Florida cruise ports on September 27 and 28 due to the approach of Hurricane Ian - Port Tampa Bay, Jacksonville Port Authority (JAXPort) and Port Canaveral - means at least five cruise ships in Florida will not be able to return. to their home ports on 29 September as planned to disembark passengers.

Instead, ships spend more time at sea and cruising the Caribbean and the Bahamas.

Trips extended this week: Carnival Cruise Line with 2052 passengers Carnival Paradise and Carnival Elation with 2052 passengers. Both voyages, which began on September 25 and were scheduled to end on September 29 in the morning at Port Tampa Bay and JAXPort, are now being converted into cruises lasting at least five nights.

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Flights from Port Canaveral operated by Royal Caribbean's 3344-passenger Mariner of the Seas, Norwegian Cruise Line's 3967-passenger Norwegian Getaway and MSC Cruises' 3502-passenger MSC Divina are also being extended.
All three ships were supposed to return to port on September 29 in the morning, but will now remain at sea until the morning of September 30, if not longer.

Also likely to stay at sea longer than expected is Port Canaveral-based Disney Wish with 2508 passengers. The line told passengers on the current voyage that the ship may not return to port early on September 30 as scheduled and may remain at sea until the weekend.

The return delay means nearly 20 travelers are extending their holiday this week, whether they like it or not.

If Port Canaveral does not reopen to cruise traffic on September 30, two other ships based in the port - Royal Caribbean's Independence of the Seas and Carnival's Carnival Liberty - could also be stuck at sea for another day.

Port Tampa Bay closed to maritime traffic, including cruise ships, at 8:00 a.m. Sept. 27 when Hurricane Ian hit the west coast of Florida, and Port Canaveral has been closed to maritime traffic since 12:00 p.m. Sept. 28. JAXPort closed at 12 noon on September 28th.

All three ports are expected to remain closed until at least the morning of 30 September.

In a statement sent to TPG, Carnival said Tampa-based Carnival Paradise has extended its cruise until September 28, giving passengers an extra day in the port of Cozumel, Mexico. A date for the ship's return to Tampa has not yet been set.

Carnival Paradise "is currently scheduled to sail from Cozumel on September 28," Carnival said in a statement. "The ship will then begin to return to Tampa, but remain a safe distance from the storm as the company determines when Carnival Paradise will be able to return to the port of Tampa after the US Coast Guard assesses conditions."

A new date for Carnival Elation's return to Jacksonville has also not yet been set.

"It is likely that sailing will be extended until the port of Jacksonville reopens after the storm has passed," the report said.

In a statement posted online, Royal Caribbean said it expects Mariner of the Seas to return to Port Canaveral on September 30, a day later than scheduled.

Norwegian and MSC Cruises have not yet announced when Norwegian Getaway and MSC Divina will return to port.

As usual, when a cruise needs to be extended due to inclement weather, no passengers on board the ships will be charged for extra days spent on the ships.

Such flight extensions due to hurricanes and other weather events are relatively rare in the cruise world, although they do happen from time to time.

What's particularly noteworthy about this week's cruise extensions is that they're coming for ships plying from several Florida ports on both sides of the state - as a result of Hurricane Ian's large size.

The extension has mostly been received in good spirits by passengers on the ships, at least judging by their social media posts. “Oh no, Hurricane Yen is forcing us to stay on the cruise for another day,” one Royal Caribbean passenger tweeted early on September 28, adding a laughing emoji to show she wasn’t upset at all.

Disney Wish passengers posted a video on Twitter of cheers throughout the ship when they were told they could get an extra day or two at sea.

The cruise extensions are just the latest in a string of disruptions to cruises this week caused by the hurricane. More than a dozen cruise ships plying the Caribbean and the Bahamas have been forced to change course in recent days to avoid the storm that was hurtling toward Florida. In many cases, ships changed ports, moving into calmer waters.

The disruptions come as one of the region's busiest cruise ports, which often serves as an alternative stop for hurricane-avoiding cruise ships, Grand Turk is closed for the time being due to damage caused by Hurricane Fiona.

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As of 8 a.m. EST on September 28, Ian was about 90 miles west of Naples, Florida, moving north-northeast at 16 miles per hour. The hurricane had a maximum wind speed of 240 km per hour.

Ian could be a very powerful Category 4 hurricane with sustained winds of 240 km/h when it makes landfall on the west coast of Florida on September 28, according to current forecasts.

As ForumDaily wrote earlier:

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