If you think it’s best to avoid booking a cruise vacation during hurricane season, there are certain factors to consider that may change your mind. In fact, cruising during hurricane season may actually be an advantageous time to cruise.
When is hurricane season for cruises?
Hurricane season in the Caribbean runs from June 1 to November 30. The peak of hurricane season occurs between mid-August and early November.
The Eastern Caribbean tends to see more hurricanes toward the beginning of the peak season, while peak season in the Western Caribbean islands stretches throughout the entire period. Some East Coast cruises might be affected by a hurricane in the Northern Atlantic.
Booking your Caribbean cruise vacation before peak time, say in June or July or at the end of November, is one way to cruise during hurricane season.
Hurricanes, or similar types of storms that go by different names, can affect cruises in other parts of the world, too. If cruising Australia or other areas of the South Pacific, for instance, be aware its peak cyclone season is from January to March. Parts of Asia are also susceptible to typhoons during monsoon season, lasting from May to October.
Is it dangerous to cruise during hurricane season?
Only a very small portion of cruises that sail to the Caribbean during a storm season are actually affected by these storms. Though you may encounter slightly rougher water on a cruise during hurricane season, there are many systems in place to detect any hurricane weather along your cruise route, ensuring your ship’s captain and crew will be able to chart a path around any bad weather or make modifications to the itinerary to keep you safe.
Can my cruise itinerary change if there’s a hurricane?
You may have heard or read that there were some cruises that were canceled in the wake of Hurricane Irma in 2017, but the fact is that it’s actually extremely rare for a cruise to be canceled during Caribbean hurricane season.
Typically, it’s still safe for cruise ships to depart the home port while a hurricane is occurring in the Caribbean, as long as the hurricane is not impacting the embarkation (home) port – and if the home port is impacted, a cruise departure may only be delayed by a day or two rather than being canceled.
So what happens when you do embark on time, but there’s a hurricane happening in the region? Most likely a hurricane will not impact your cruise, but you might incur an itinerary change if a hurricane is in the path of a port of call on your cruise itinerary.
Thanks to an incredible arsenal of weather equipment onboard the ship, including everything from weather maps and satellite images to computer-generated storm models from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), your captain and crew are always on top of where a hurricane is headed and have the experience and means to stay out of its path.
One of the ways your captain might avoid a hurricane’s path is to make a last-minute schedule change to your cruise itinerary. If, for example, your Caribbean cruise itinerary had a scheduled stop in the U.S. Virgin Islands, but the route there is impacted by a hurricane, your cruise ship will reroute, and you’ll skip that port of call.
This will result in an additional day at sea, during which you’ll continue to enjoy your ship’s many luxurious amenities. With an extra sea day, you can treat yourself to that herbal body wrap at the spa, spend some quality time with the kids, or participate in one of the many onboard classes offered during your cruise. Depending on your ship’s proximity to the storm and its severity, the captain may find it necessary to order the pool to close.
Another hurricane cruise scenario might involve a substitution of one port of call for a skipped one. There are a number of factors at play here, including weather patterns and cruising time to the substitute port that captain and crew will be constantly monitoring.
You may find yourself completely charmed by the opportunity to visit a different Caribbean port and think of those captivating stories you’ll have to tell about the time your cruise ship was diverted during a storm.
If you’re flexible about timing and open to itinerary changes, you should have no worries when booking a cruise during hurricane season. If you choose to cruise during hurricane season, the fact that you likely booked a luxury cruise at an excellent price should make any itinerary changes easier to handle.
Are there special offers during hurricane season?
Now that you know cruising during hurricane season is unlikely to ruin your vacation, you can begin to plan your cruise strategy. Since many people don’t realize it’s possible to cruise during hurricane season safely, fewer people book cruises during peak hurricane months. Cruise fares are often lower during this time as Caribbean hurricane season occurs just after the peak summer travel season ends.
Where can I cruise to avoid hurricane season?
To avoid cruising during hurricane season, choose a destination other than the Caribbean or other regions of the world that are prone to storms. Consider luxury cruises to Alaska from May to September or European cruises from August to November.
Read: Best Places to Visit in September
If you’re dreaming of a Caribbean cruise vacation and can only cruise during peak hurricane season, think about booking a cruise itinerary with ports of call on islands that are considered outside the hurricane zone. Islands in the Southern Caribbean are statistically less affected by hurricanes. These islands, nicknamed the ABC Islands (Aruba, Bonaire, and Curacao), generally lie outside of the path for most hurricanes.
Will a cruise be canceled because of a hurricane?
It is unlikely that your cruise during Caribbean hurricane season will be canceled, but it is not guaranteed. That’s why it’s a smart move to purchase travel insurance (for any cruise vacation), and most necessary if you choose to cruise during hurricane season.
When you’re looking for travel insurance, don’t pick one based solely on the lowest price. Read a policy’s fine print carefully before you purchase, as many travel insurance policies won’t cover trip cancellations or delays due to hurricanes.
Look for policies that include coverage for trip interruptions or cancellations due to severe weather or a hurricane. Travel insurance policies should also offer medical coverage and non-medical evacuation. Some will even cover delayed flights and travel delays in general. If a policy doesn’t include hurricane coverage, you may be able to add optional “cancel for any reason” coverage, but your best option is to purchase a policy that has specific hurricane coverage.
Just as important, you should purchase your travel insurance immediately after booking your cruise. Most insurance companies set time limits on purchasing policies that include hurricane coverage. Generally, you must have purchased a travel insurance policy before the hurricane is named in order to be covered. There are also travel insurance policies that require you to purchase within a certain timeframe (usually 14 to 21 days) of making your initial trip deposit. These conditions make it well worth your time to research and purchase a travel insurance policy not hastily, but certainly with haste.
For complete peace of mind about flights to and from your cruise, book your airfare with Flights by Celebrity. Flights by Celebrity offers cruise travelers a wealth of benefits and protection for your airfare investment with its points, price, and protection platform. First, you can use any applicable airline points to book your flight. Next, you’re guaranteed the lowest available price for the flights you book. Dedicated specialists are available 24/7 to work on your behalf should you experience a flight delay or 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.
What happens if there’s a storm during my cruise?
When cruising during hurricane season, you might encounter stormy weather, but it doesn’t necessarily follow that you’ll have to contend with rocking and rolling onboard your ship. Celebrity Cruises’ ships are conceived by master engineers, built exceptionally strong by the world’s most expert shipbuilders, and are equipped with advanced onboard technology that keeps them stabilized so you won’t typically feel even light rolling.
That built-for-strength stability and advanced on-board technology, coupled with the fact that Caribbean waters are quite calm in the summer and fall months, are another reason why it’s most likely that your Caribbean sailing, even during hurricane season, will be smooth and worry free.
Passenger safety in adverse weather (and in fair weather, as well) is so important that Celebrity Cruises’ parent company, Royal Caribbean International, employs a Chief Meteorologist who mans a Fleet Operations Center that monitors weather around the globe, wherever Celebrity Cruises’ ships travel.
It is the Chief Meteorologist’s job to keep a close eye on weather patterns and monitor any brewing storms that may affect a ship’s route. If a storm develops, the Chief and his team do everything in their power to avoid a ship being in harm’s way.
One advantage that cruise ships have in severe weather is that, unlike land destinations, ships are mobile. If a hurricane or other severe weather appears to be developing while you’re enjoying your cruise vacation, you can be sure the marine operations team is at work assessing when it might arrive, how severe the weather event may be, and how the ship’s captain can maneuver around it or change course.
How do I keep safe if there’s a hurricane while I’m on a cruise?
Now that you know how Celebrity Cruises works to ensure your safety with expert engineers, meteorologists, and experienced captains and crews, you should know what you can do to be safe if a hurricane situation occurs during your cruise vacation.
First, even the most seasoned cruisers might find themselves in need of stomach-calming assistance when cruising during hurricane season, so be sure to pack over-the-counter medication to prevent seasickness or, if necessary, a prescription for a patch that will prevent motion sickness.
It’s equally important that you stay calm and continue to enjoy as much cruise activity as you would like. Be sure to pay attention to the captain’s daily messages about sea conditions, and always heed crew members directions.
Book your cruise
Now that you understand the ins and outs of cruising during hurricane season, browse our cruise itineraries online and find the perfect cruise for you, or call one of our vacation specialists at 1-800-852-8086.