BAYONNE, N.J. – While the tropics aren’t as active as they usually are at this time of year, Hurricane Earl and Tropical Storm Kay are disrupting some cruises from the East and West coasts.
Many cruise ships are still leaving from Cape Liberty Cruise Port in Bayonne, New Jersey. The port expects about 3,000 people to board a German boat on Friday, they are heading to Portland, Maine with some northeast stops on the way.
The weather-related impacts are hitting cruises headed to Bermuda and the Mexican Riviera because of these named storms the FOX Forecast Center is following.
Carnival Magic and Royal Caribbean cruises shortened trips to Bermuda this week, according to Gene Sloan, the cruise team lead for the travel website and blog The Points Guy. Norwegian Cruise Line canceled a two-day visit to the island. The ship, which sailed out of New York, will go to Nassau and Miami instead.
Hurricane Earl skirted past Bermuda Thursday night. According to the National Hurricane Center, it was about 50 miles away from the island but still causing problems for ships headed there. A couple of boats have had to shorten their trips. One trip that was supposed to be there Friday has been canceled.
Tropical Storm Kay is starting to impact cruises from California to the Mexican Riviera.
This time of year, more ships are coming back from Europe and Alaska and more ships are heading to the Caribbean, Bahamas and Bermuda.
But while booking cruises in these areas during hurricane season means there is a chance it could be impacted, it’s still relatively rare, according to Sloan. And of the hundreds of cruises on the schedule – a few dozen of those may be affected by hurricanes.
"What they sometimes do is they'll just reroute the ship entirely," Sloan said. "You get on a ship on Saturday that's supposed to do a seven-day trip to the eastern Caribbean, but there's a big hurricane or tropical storm in that area, they can make a call that day or the day before or the day after to reroute that ship to the western Caribbean," Sloan said.
And if there’s going to be bad weather that’s going to be in the way of where the ship is supposed to go, they can move the ship, go early into a port or leave a port late. They can even flop a port.
Bottom line: You would end up with a bunch of different ports but still get a nice, sunny cruise.
"They are really looking at it 24 hours a day and making calls just like the airlines do up until hours before they are supposed to be somewhere," Sloan said.
Depending on the size of the hurricane, cruise ships can steer around the most intense part of the storm.
According to the National Weather Service, hurricane-force winds can have about 25-mile radius in a small hurricane, compared to about a 150-mile radius in a large hurricane.