Carnival Luminosa is unable to set sail on her planned itinerary on Sunday, October 22, 2023, due to Cyclone Lola north of Vanuatu.

Instead, the ship will be following an alternative itinerary that is still being confirmed, with ports of call in Queensland and Willis Island to stay well away from the rough weather.

The October 22 sailing of Carnival Luminosa is departing from Brisbane, Australia as scheduled at 4 p.m. on Sunday and will enjoy the first two days of the 7-night cruise at sea as planned, but the remainder of the ship’s itinerary is being dramatically altered.

Originally, Carnival Luminosa was scheduled to visit Lifou, New Caledonia on Wednesday, October 25, followed by Mystery Island, Vanuatu on Thursday, and Noumea, New Caledonia on Friday. After one more day at sea, the ship should return to Brisbane on Sunday, October 29.

Due to Cyclone Lola, however, the ship will now have a completely different itinerary. Guests boarding the ship were notified of the changes with letters handed out at embarkation.

Carnival Luminosa Cruise Ship (Photo Courtesy: Carnival Cruise Line)

“Our Fleet Operations Center is actively monitoring a tropical storm, now located north of Vanuatu. Due to the projected path of the storm, we will not be able to keep our original itinerary,” the letter explained. “We trust you understand this decision was made with everyone’s safety in mind.”

Now, Carnival Luminosa will first have two days at sea, followed by port visits to Cairns and Port Douglass, and an “onboard guest experience” at Willis Island. The visit to Cairns has been confirmed, but Port Douglass was still awaiting confirmation at the time guests were notified of the change.

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Another day at sea will follow, and the ship will return to Brisbane as scheduled by 8 a.m. on Sunday, October 29.

Because of the dramatic itinerary change and in acknowledgement of the severity of the change, Carnival Cruise Line is giving a $200 AUD (approximately $125 USD) onboard credit per stateroom.

Furthermore, all pre-purchased shore tours for the now-cancelled visits to Lifou, Mystery Island, and Noumea are being automatically cancelled and will be refunded to guests’ onboard accounts. Shore excursions for the new destinations are still being arranged and can be reserved onboard once confirmed.

Of special note is that guests who are not interested in sailing this new itinerary have been offered the option of a full refund of the cruise, if desired.

“We recognize that these changes may no longer suite your holiday needs. If you prefer not to sail, please let one of our embarkation representatives know, or call our Guest Services Department immediately,” the letter conceded. “We will provide a full refund of your cruise fare and any pre-purchased items.”

Carnival Luminosa (Photo Credit: Ian Dewar Photography / Shutterstock)

While cruise lines are not typically obligated to offer the option of a cancellation and refund for weather-related changes, the terms and conditions of cruise ticket contracts can vary depending on a ship’s homeport and the nationalities of guests aboard.

Furthermore, offering refunds is a good customer service gesture by Carnival Cruise Line, especially when an itinerary is so dramatically changed.

The 92,600-gross-ton, Spirit-class Carnival Luminosa only recently completed her epic 30-night transpacific cruise from Seattle to Brisbane after the Alaska sailing season.

The ship will remain down under for the Australian summer season, welcoming 2,260 guests (double occupancy) for each cruise, before departing on April 1, 2024 to return to Seattle.

Cyclone Lola is located north of Vanuatu, with a projected southwestern track that will cross the archipelago over the next three days while the storm strengthens somewhat.

Lola is only the seventh South Pacific cyclone named in October since 1970, making this storm very much an anomaly in the region. The South Pacific cyclone season runs annually from November 1 through April 30, though storms can – and obviously do – form outside those official dates.

Poor weather can impact any cruise on any date, anywhere in the world. Travelers should always be flexible with their travel expectations in case of storms, strong winds, or other weather that may cause adjustments to their sailing.

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