I get asked often if it’s worth taking the chance on a Caribbean cruise during hurricane season. It’s not a simple yes or no answer, as you have to take a few factors into consideration.
|Cruise ships anchored at St. Maarten|
Do you know how hurricanes impact cruises? Every year there are hurricanes and every year thousands of people safely cruise the Caribbean…around them. Cruise lines and their captains have contingency routes for every storm scenario, and that contingency is to stay as far away from the storm as humanly possible. The result for you can be anything from shuffled schedules (this island today, instead of that island) to completely altered itineraries (you booked eastern Caribbean but see the western half instead). In the worst case scenario, the cruise could be cancelled altogether.
Do you get seasick easily? In the event your ship runs anywhere near a tropical storm or worse, it could be subjected to some massive waves. Our trip on the Disney Cruise Line in December 2007 was impacted by tropical storm Olga for the first two days of the voyage. Thirty foot swells kept everyone walking like they were in a funhouse and the dining rooms virtually empty. I’ve got a stomach of steel and didn’t get queasy once – but I was one of the few.
Does the ship have enough to do if going outside isn’t an option? When choosing a ship for hurricane season, this factor is especially important for families traveling with kids. If the cruise line you’ve selected is light on activities and features, an indoors restriction due to a storm can leave you with few options. Royal Caribbean’s biggest ships have everything from casinos to ice skating arenas, and Disney offers all-day kid’s activities with the Disney characters. No one wants to spend their cruise watching TV, so choose wisely in the event the pool is temporarily unavailable.
Do you have insurance? Travel insurance is a necessity, especially with the uncertainty of hurricane season. The iTravel Insured line of policies are affordable and comprehensive. If your trip is impacted by a hurricane, you could be at the mercy of the cruise line’s generosity (not to be depended upon, just ask the folks who escaped the Costa Concordia). Better safe than sorry at such a small price to pay - check here for some trip cancellation insurance quotes.
There you have it – the things you must consider if you want to cruise during hurricane season. Regardless of when you set sail, nature can still act up. The above factors should be considered for all cruise vacations.