Following the aftermath of Hurricane Idalia, Carnival Cruise Line has provided guests with an update on the situation with the ports affected over the last week. With Charleston and Tampa open for ships, cruises are sailing again. 

However, it’s not all good news. Due to the delays that affected Tampa in particular, guests booked onboard Carnival Paradise due to sail yesterday, August 31, will be offered an alternative itinerary.

Carnival Cruise Line has updated guests who booked cruises onboard Carnival Paradise and Carnival Sunshine sailing from Port Tampa Bay and Charleston, respectively. Both ports have now reopened following the aftermath of Hurricane Idalia. 

Following US Coast Guard and Port Authority inspections, Port Tampa Bay reopened for business on August 31. It means the cruise due to sail onboard the 70,367 gross tons Carnival Paradise can depart, although a day later than scheduled, sailing today, September 1.

Photo Credit: fitzcrittle / Shutterstock

Carnival Paradise will sail a 3-day cruise, with the call to Cozumel removed from the itinerary. The cruise will not be sailing to any ports. Instead, the voyage will consist of three days at sea before returning to port. 

Although Carnival Cruise Line has offered guests 100% future cruise credit and a full refund of any pre-paid amenities, the cancellation deadline passed at 10 PM on August 31.

Those who did decide to sail today, September 1, will receive a refund of the cruise fare for the one day they will miss from their cruise, a 50% future cruise credit, a $200 onboard credit, and a prorated refund of any pre-purchased beverage or Wi-Fi packages. All shore excursions booked for Cozumel and port fees will also be refunded.

Guests are expected to board Carnival Paradise at their pre-arranged boarding times, with the final boarding time at 3 PM today, September 1.

Carnival Sunshine Cruise Ship (Photo Credit: Vincent Doyle / Shutterstock)

The Port of Charleston reopened a little earlier than Port Tampa Bay, with authorities giving clearance at 10:30 AM on August 31. Carnival Sunshine’s cruise scheduled for September 2 will be able to operate as scheduled, sailing to Half Moon Cay on September 4 and Nassau on September 5.

With several ports closed for a day or more, Carnival Cruise Line has managed to keep disruptions to a minimum. Besides Carnival Paradise, Carnival Elation did experience a few hours of delay; however, this only affected boarding times. 

Idalia has now been downgraded to a post-tropical cyclone by the National Hurricane Center. The storm already started affecting cruises on August 26, when Disney Fantasy was forced to change her itinerary due to what was then only a tropical depression. 

Instead of the western Caribbean, the 129,750 gross tons Dream-class cruise ship sailed to Tortola and St. Thomas.

By August 28, Idalia had already become a tropical storm with sustained winds of 70 miles per hour (113 kilometers per hour) and would soon become a category 2 hurricane.

Post-Tropical Cyclone Idalia

With the storm’s track showing a landfall near Tampa Bay and possibly affecting Port Canaveral, Jaxport, and Charleston, it is surprising that very few cruises have been impacted besides itinerary changes. 

However, Idalia can still cause some discomfort for cruise passengers. The storm is near Bermuda, where the 3,883-guest Breakaway-plus class Norwegian Joy is berthed. Besides heavy rain, wave heights are still expected to reach up to 20 feet when the ship is scheduled to sail tomorrow, September 2.

Other ships that could experience discomfort include Mariner of the Seas and Liberty of the Seas, both due to arrive in Bermuda on September 4.

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