Ah, Summer cruising. A great time to get away with the family. To lay out on deck and soak in the sun. To run into… hurricanes?
That’s right. If you’re considering taking a cruise during this time, you can’t forget that it’s also hurricane season in the Atlantic. The season runs from June to November, and peaks between mid-August and early November.
Should you be worried? Should you postpone your trip? What happens if a hurricane pops up while a cruise is in the vicinity?
If you want to take a summer cruise in the Atlantic and you’re concerned about safety, you’re not alone. Fortunately, it is complete safe to cruise then. Cruising during hurricane season doesn’t need to be avoided – in fact, it may actually be the best time to take a cruise.
That said, there are some things to know before you go if you plan on cruising this time of year. Below, we discuss why cruising is, as a rule, safe during hurricane season, and what you need to know before embarking.
Why Cruise Ships are Safe During Hurricane Season
Here is the number one thing that you need to know if you are thinking about cruising during this season: cruise ships are build to be able to safely avoid a hurricane. Literally, if for some reason the captain discovers that the ship is in the path of one, the ship has the ability to outrun it.
However, that shouldn’t even be an issue. Why?
Because cruise lines are experienced in navigating hurricane season, and they have a long-standing strategy to avoid storms completely. Additionally, your ships will have excellent technology and support which, coupled with advanced forecasting, makes avoiding storms routine for the crew.
The only tricky part may be finding an alternative port to dock in if the ship is re-routed due to inclement weather. This isn’t a small issue, since many cruise ships are likely to be rerouted by the same storm at the same time, so things can get a bit crowded at port. Moreover, ports of call may also remain closed for a while after being hit by a hurricane.
Still, despite the complicated logistics and the frustration of being rerouted to a different port, this is rarely something that ends up causing a serious problem.
Things to Know Before Cruising During Hurricane Season
Although cruising during hurricane season is generally not a safety concern, being re-routed due to weather can sometimes put a damper on your cruise. However, by planning ahead, you can minimize this risk.
Choose an Itinerary Outside the Hurricane Belt
While all of the Caribbean sees hurricanes on occasion, some islands are more likely to be hit than others. The ABC Islands (Aruba, Bonaire and Curacao), located in the Southern Caribbean, generally fall outside the path of most hurricanes.
These islands may be your safest bet which cruising the Caribbean.
Look for Deals During Hurricane Season
Another piece of good news about cruising during hurricane season? It usually costs less! Some people aren’t aware that it’s possible to safely cruise this time of year, so fares are often lower during peak hurricane months.
If you’re looking for a good deal and want to make room in your budget for shore excursions or dining, this could be a great option.
Be Flexible with Itinerary Changes
It’s extremely rare for cruises to be cancelled due to a hurricane, but itinerary changes are common. If a hurricane is affecting the embarkation point, this could result in a schedule change for your cruise dates.
Be aware of this, and keep your schedule flexible around your embarkation date. If the hurricane is affecting a port of call, the ship will skip it.
Get the Right Kind of Travel Insurance
It’s smart to purchase travel insurance if you’re cruising during hurricane season. Just be sure to read the fine print – the lowest quote isn’t always the best option.
Many travel insurance companies don’t cover cancellations or delays due to hurricanes if you’re embarking during hurricane season.
You’ll also need to purchase insurance right after booking your cruise, before the weather is forecast. Insurance companies won’t allow you to purchase insurance if a hurricane is already being predicted.
Cruising during hurricane season is safe, and can actually be a great time to book one so long as you’re flexible with itinerary changes, and plan ahead. Book ports of call that are less likely to be hit, purchase good travel insurance, and you’re set.
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 countless people in all kinds of personal injury cases, with a particular focus on child injury, legal malpractice, and premises liability. 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.