A cruise vacation is usually a time for relaxation, but with hurricane season in full swing, it’s understandable if you’re feeling a bit anxious and stressed instead.
Hurricane Irma and Hurricane Maria wreaked havoc on many of the islands of the Caribbean – popular cruise destinations for a number of different cruise lines – which also means a number of cruise ports were affected.
If you have a Caribbean cruise planned in the near future, your cruise might have to be rerouted and your itinerary might have to be changed depending on the damage caused by the hurricanes. If you are worried, the best thing to do is to reach out to your cruise line for specific changes. However, here’s what we know so far about the Caribbean ports.
Caribbean Ports Closed Due to Hurricane Damage
Here is a list of ports closed in the Caribbean as of the time of this writing:
Turks & Caicos. The Grand Turk Port is not officially open at this time. After Hurricane Irma, Carnival Cruises and local authorizes were in the process of assessing the damage when Hurricane Maria passed over the islands on September 22. Some of Carnival’s ships will use their private port, Amber Cove, while another ship will call at Freeport instead.
Puerto Rico. When Hurricane Maria landed on Puerto Rico as a Category 4 hurricane, it devastated the American territory and the San Juan Port. Royal Caribbean and Carnival have canceled cruises sailing out of San Juan this week, and Carnival went ahead and canceled cruises from San Juan scheduled to depart October 1 and October 8 as well. Three ships based out of Florida have been rerouted to different ports.
St. Thomas. The St. Thomas Port in the U.S. Virgin Islands is closed to all cruise ships. Royal Caribbean has canceled their St. Thomas visits through late October and rerouted them to St. Kitts, Bonaire, and Labadee. Norwegian canceled St. Thomas visits through November and replaced them with Western Caribbean calls. Celebrity also canceled visits through November, replacing them with stops in St. Kitts and similar places. A large recovery effort is currently underway and St. Thomas is hopeful they can reopen in late October.
St. Croix. The St. Croix Port in the U.S. Virgin Islands wasn’t affected much by Irma, but they sustained significant damage from Maria. St. Croix doesn’t have a ship scheduled to stop there until November 5.
St. Barts. The Gustavia Port in St. Barts is closed due to damage from Irma, but they don’t have a cruise scheduled to stop there until late October.
St. Maarten/St. Martin. The Philipsburg Port on the Dutch side of St. Maarten and the Marigot Port on the French side of St. Martin was previously not expected to open for weeks or even months, but it could possibly be open as early as October 15. That, however, won’t be easy. St. Martin was hit hard during Irma, which is unfortunate because nearly 1.6 million cruisers travel there every year. Royal Caribbean canceled its calls through late October, while Windstar Cruises canceled visits for even longer – through March 2018.
Dominica. The Roseau Port in Dominica suffered widespread damage and isn’t expected to reopen any time soon. With that in mind, however, Dominica isn’t scheduled for a cruise stop until late October.
British Virgin Islands. The Tortola Port in the British Virgin Islands is closed and doesn’t expect to reopen for weeks or even months. Norwegian ships canceled their stops to Tortola for the rest of year and replaced them with stops in the Western Caribbean.
Caribbean Ports Open in the Aftermath of Hurricanes
Here is a list of ports that are currently open:
- Amber Cove in the Dominican Republic
- Basseterre in St. Kitts
- Belize City in Belize
- Bridgetown in Barbados
- Castries in St. Lucia
- Colon in Panama
- Costa Maya in Mexico
- Falmouth in Jamaica
- Fort-de-France in Martinique
- Freeport in the Bahamas
- Grand Cayman in the Cayman Islands
- Georges in Grenada
- Harvest Caye in Belize
- Havana in Cuba
- Key West in Florida
- Kralendijk in Bonaire
- La Romana in the Dominican Republic
- Montego Bay in Jamaica
- Nassau in the Bahamas
- Ocho Rios in Jamaica
- Orenjestad in Aruba
- Progreso in Mexico
- Puerto Limon in Costa Rica
- Road Bay in Anguilla
- Roatan Island in Honduras
- Samana in the Dominican Republic
- Santo Domingo in the Dominican Republic
- John’s in Antigua
- Willenstad in Curacao
The damage assessment from the hurricanes is ongoing, and the openings and closings of these Caribbean ports will continue to change. For the most up-to-date information, check with your cruise line to see how your cruise might be affected.
If you have an upcoming Caribbean cruise, hopefully you’ll have a chance to relax and put these hurricanes behind you. Just remember to stay safe both on and off the ship, and reach out to us if you have any trouble.
About the Author:
Andrew Winston is a partner at the personal injury law firm of Winston Law. For over 20 years, he has successfully represented cruise victims who have suffered all kinds of injuries and illnesses due to negligence. He has been recognized for excellence in the representation of injured clients by admission to the Million Dollar Advocates Forum, is AV Preeminent Rated by the Martindale-Hubbell Law Directory, enjoys a 10.0 rating by AVVO as a Top Personal Injury Attorney, has been selected as a Florida “SuperLawyer” from 2011-2017 – an honor reserved for the top 5% of lawyers in the state – and was voted to Florida Trend’s “Legal Elite” and as one of the Top 100 Lawyers in Florida and one of the Top 100 Lawyers in the Miami area for 2015, 2016, and 2017.