September 06, 2017

According to M&C's sister publication, Travel Weekly, Cruise lines have changed multiple itineraries to move cruises out of the projected path of Hurricane Irma, currently approaching the Lesser Antilles.

The most common change is to convert an eastern Caribbean itinerary into a western Caribbean cruise. On its sailing that departed Sunday, for example, Royal Caribbean's Allure of the Seas will call at Cozumel, Falmouth and Labadee instead of Nassau, San Juan and St Maarten as originally scheduled.

Royal Caribbean said it is monitoring a half dozen other scheduled cruises but hasn't yet made any changes.

MSC Divina and the Carnival Glory, Magic and Splendor are among the other ships swapping eastern for western Caribbean itineraries this week.

Norwegian Cruise Line said the Norwegian Escape voyage that departed Miami on Sept. 2 will be cut from seven to five days so that the ship can return to Miami early, ahead of Hurricane Irma.

Norwegian also changed the itinerary of the Sept. 4 cruise to Cuba on Norwegian Sky, cutting its length from four days to three.

The departures scheduled for Sept. 8 for the Sky and Sept. 9 for the Escape have been canceled. Guests will receive a full refund and a 50 percent future cruise credit.

On its current cruise, the Escape's scheduled port calls in Costa Maya on Wednesday and Cozumel on Thursday have been scrubbed.

The Escape is expected to arrive in Miami in the afternoon on Thursday, Sept. 7, and fly-in guests are urged to stay on the ship for a sailing out to sea on Thursday evening, away from the storm. The cruise line said it did not know how long the ship would be at sea.

Norwegian said South Florida residents who drove to Miami's port or those who have travel plans already confirmed that will return them safely home by Friday afternoon may disembark the ship on Thursday.

All guests will get a refund for the missed days of their cruise, along with a 25 percent future cruise credit of the cruise fare paid towards a future sailing. Guests who need to make changes to any flights will be reimbursed for any change fees up to $300 per person.

The Norwegian Sky's scheduled stop at Great Stirrup Cay on Sept. 7 has been canceled. The ship will sail for Miami following its departure from Havana on Sept. 6. The same compensation terms for the Escape apply to the Sky.

Carnival Pride is sailing from Baltimore to Charleston, S.C., Freeport and Nassau. The original Sept. 3 itinerary included Half Moon Cay and Grand Turk.

Celebrity Cruises said its 11-day cruise on Celebrity Equinox that departed on Labor Day will skip St. Thomas and Tortola and instead visit Curacao and have an extra sea day.