Cruise travelers boarding Princess Cruises’ Emerald Princess in New York City on Saturday, September 23, 2023 will not be visiting the first port of call nor leaving the harbor as scheduled, due to Tropical Storm Ophelia.
Instead, the ship will safely anchor to wait out the roughest weather before moving forward with the remainder of the planned itinerary.
Emerald Princess is setting sail on a 7-night Canada & New England cruise on Saturday, September 23, but right away, the ship has itinerary changes as Tropical Storm Ophelia works her way up the eastern seaboard. As guests boarded the ship, they were greeted with a notification letter about their necessary itinerary changes.
“Tropical Storm Ophelia, a large tropical weather system, is tracking on a northeasterly path up the east coast of the United States, bringing high winds and heavy seas along our planned route out of New York,” the letter read.
Because of the rough weather, the ship’s first port of call – Newport, Rhode Island – is cancelled. That call was to have been from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday, September 24, exactly when the tropical storm’s influence may be strongest in the area.
Instead, the ship left the Brooklyn Cruise Terminal as scheduled, but is planning to anchor overnight while waiting out the worst of the weather. This will permit the ship to avoid navigating in hazardous conditions, as well as allow the ship to be aligned to minimize swells and winds as much as possible.
“While we may still experience some rough seas, this should enable us to avoid the worst of the weather and provide you with the most comfortable cruise,” the letter explained.
The ship will proceed directly to Boston, Massachusetts for the scheduled visit on Monday, September 25, but with an anticipated arrival of 9 a.m. instead of 11 a.m. as originally planned. This will give guests even more time to enjoy the amazing city and its rich revolutionary and maritime history.
During the anchorage evening, onboard boutiques and the ship’s casino must remain closed as per port regulations, but the ship’s bars, spa, and entertainment venues are operating fully. Furthermore, there are no additional itinerary adjustments planned at this time.
All shore tours booked for Newport through Princess Cruises are being refunded to guests’ onboard accounts.
The 113,561-gross ton, Crown class Emerald Princess can welcome 3,114 guests per sailing, with approximately 1,200 international crew members to provide Princess Cruises’ signature service. The ship is currently homeported from New York for the fall sailing season, but will reposition to Fort Lauderdale in early November to offer Caribbean and Panama Canal sailings through the winter and spring months.
Tropical Storm Ophelia made landfall in North Carolina on Saturday morning. As of early Saturday evening, the center of the storm is located in southern Virginia, and is moving north at 12 miles per hour (19 kilometers per hour).
The storm’s tropical wind field extends to central New Jersey, though rain bands and rough weather are noted as far north as New Hampshire and southern Maine.
Where Emerald Princess is anchoring for the evening, wind speeds are currently 17-19 knots (20-22 mph / 31-35 kph). This can make navigation exceptionally challenging, and it is best for the ship to remain anchored to wait out the poor weather.
Several different ships from different cruise lines have been impacted by the storm, including the cancellation of an entire sailing for Royal Caribbean International’s Vision of the Seas, as well as delays for Carnival Cruise Line’s Carnival Legend.
The Atlantic hurricane season extends through November 30, and any travelers with cruises booked for the next few weeks should stay alert for possible itinerary changes, delays, or other adjustments to ensure safe and comfortable sailing even when storms may be active.
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