Wondering if You Should Plan a Cruise During Hurricane Season? Read These Tips First
Taking a cruise during hurricane season doesn’t have to be something to avoid – in fact, it may even be a time you want to take a cruise. If you are thinking of cruising during hurricane season there are certain things you should know and be aware of when planning your trip. Here are the top tips you need to know so you can still have a fantastic cruise even if a hurricane is brewing during your scheduled cruise vacation.
When is Hurricane Season?
The first thing to know is when hurricane season occurs. Most cruises that are going to be affected by a hurricane are going to be taking place in the Caribbean and up the Atlantic coastline of the United States. The hurricane season for this region runs from June through October, though the peak time is mid-August through early November, with some variance depending on what part of the Caribbean you’re in. The Eastern Caribbean and northern Atlantic tend to see more hurricanes toward the beginning of the peak season while the Western Caribbean’s peak season stretches through the entire period.
Though Caribbean is what comes to mind for most cruising, it is important to know that hurricanes (though they go by different names) can affect cruises in other parts of the world, too. If cruising Australia or other areas of the South Pacific, be aware its peak cyclone season is from January to March. Parts of Asia are also susceptible to typhoons during monsoon season, which lasts from May to October.
Be Flexible with Itinerary Changes When Cruising During Hurricane Season
You may have heard of cruises getting canceled in the wake of Hurricane Irma, but that is actually extremely rare for a cruise to be canceled due to a hurricane. Typically, cruise ships are still safe to depart while a hurricane is occurring in the Caribbean as long as it is not affecting the embarkation port – and if it is, typically the cruise can be delayed a day or two instead of being completely cancelled.
So what happens when you do embark on time, but there is a hurricane happening in the region? Possibly nothing or possibly an itinerary change. Thanks to high-tech equipment on board, the ship’s captain and crew can tell where a hurricane is going to head and therefore has the means to stay out of its path. That might mean a schedule change to your cruise, however.
If your Caribbean cruise itinerary had a scheduled stop in Turks and Caicos, for example, but the route there is blocked by the hurricane, the cruise ship will have to reroute its path, which may mean having to skip a port of call in Grand Turk (the cruise port for Turks and Caicos). This will result in another day at sea during which you can enjoy all of the ship’s amenities.
Sometimes, the cruise may be able to substitute another port of call for the one that is being skipped instead of having an extra day at sea, but this depends on a number of factors.
So basically, be flexible if cruising during hurricane season and be open to itinerary changes. The fact that you likely got a great deal on your cruise during peak hurricane season should make any itinerary changes easier to handle. Which brings us to our next tip for cruising during hurricane season…
Be on the Lookout for Great Cruise Deals During Hurricane Season
Now that you know cruising during hurricane season probably won’t ruin your vacation, use that to your advantage. Since there are lots of people who DON’T realize it’s possible to safely cruise during a hurricane, fewer people are looking to book a cruise during peak hurricane months. That means cruise fares are often lower during that time, particularly since in the Caribbean the majority of the time peak hurricane season is occurring is also during shoulder season after the summer travel season ends. If you’re a budget traveler or looking for a great deal (and don’t mind being flexible as discussed earlier) hurricane season is actually a prime time to book your cruise.
This will give you more room in your budget for spa treatments, specialty restaurants, or exhilarating shore excursions, such as Celebrity Cruises’ Evenings Around the World shore excursions.
Choose an Itinerary Outside the Hurricane Belt
If you’re dreaming of a Caribbean cruise vacation and can only take it in November, look at booking an itinerary that has ports of call on islands that are located outside the hurricane belt and are statistically less affected by hurricanes. In the Caribbean, the ABC Islands (as they’re so nicknamed) generally lie outside of the path of destruction for most hurricanes. The ABC Islands refer to Aruba, Bonaire, and Curacao located in the Southern Caribbean.
Get the Right Kind of Travel Insurance Policy
You might think you’re being smart to buy travel insurance if you’re cruising during hurricane season – and you are! – but make sure to read the fine print and don’t just go with the lowest travel insurance quote you can find. Many travel insurance policies won’t cover trip cancellations or delays due to hurricanes if you’re cruising during hurricane season. You’ll need to make sure you find one that has coverage should your cruise or airfare be affected by a hurricane, both for cancellation policies and medical coverage.
Also, make sure you purchase your travel insurance soon after booking your cruise since insurance companies won’t let you purchase a policy for hurricane coverage if, for example, it’s two weeks before your cruise and a hurricane is being predicted in the forecast. You need to buy it well before the weather can be forecast for the time you’re traveling.
If you want to have complete peace of mind about flights to and from your cruise and not worry about what might happen if your flights are affected by a severe storm or hurricane, book your airfare with Flights by Celebrity.
Flights by Celebrity offers protection for your airfare investment by having dedicated specialists who are available 24/7 to work on your behalf should you experience a flight interruption. They will work to get you on the next available flight so you can still get to your cruise ship on time, or get back home as quickly as possible if your return flight is affected.
Don’t Worry About Rough Waters When Cruising During Hurricane Season
Hurricane season might mean more storms, but not necessarily rougher waters, meaning you don’t need to worry about feeling more rocking and rolling while on your cruise ship (plus, Celebrity Cruises’ ships are so advanced and big enough you won’t typically feel even light rocking and rolling!). Not only can cruise ships avoid rocky waters due to being able to outrun hurricanes since they’re able to travel at higher speeds than hurricanes typically do, but the water of the Caribbean is generally quite calm in summer and fall months – if you’re not in the middle of a hurricane, and thanks to cruise ship technology…you won’t be!
In fact, Celebrity Cruises' parent company, Royal Caribbean International, has even hired a Chief Meteorologist to be on staff.
The job of the Chief Meteorologist is to keep a close eye on weather patterns and monitor any storms brewing that may affect a ship's route. If a storm develops, the Chief Meteorologist and his team do everything in their power to never have a ship in harm’s way. Unlike luxury hotels or destinations, a ship can move. So if a hurricane or other severe weather hits while you’re on your cruise vacation, the marine operations team can assess when the storm will arrive, how severe it may be, how to maneuver the ship to avoid it – and, if necessary, whether they need to change course altogether. The safety of passengers on board the cruise is always the number one priority.
If you’re ready to start browsing Caribbean cruise itineraries for the last half of the year since you’re now armed with this information about cruising during hurricane season, visit the #BookItList platform that Celebrity Cruises put together to make it easy for you to book your cruise, airfare, and activities all in one convenient place.