As Hurricane Lee continues to swirl its way northward from the far-eastern Caribbean toward New England and the Canadian Maritimes, Princess Cruises has altered the itinerary of one ship sailing in the region.
The ship is operating a series of cruises roundtrip from New Jersey, with port calls in eastern Canada.
The captain of Princess Cruises’ Emerald Princess on September 12, 2023, informed guests sailing aboard the ship’s 7-day Canada/New England cruise that the ship will skip her port call at Halifax, Nova Scotia, planned for September 14, and instead spend a day at sea while the vessel hightails it back to the Cape Liberty Cruise Port in Bayonne, New Jersey.
Emerald Princess on September 13, called at St. John, New Brunswick, and ship’s Captain Giuseppe Castellano wrote in a letter to guests that the vessel will extend its stay at that port until 7 p.m., giving passengers extra time for sightseeing. The ship had been scheduled to depart St. John at 3 p.m.
“As you are aware Hurricane Lee continues to move on a northerly course toward the Gulf of Maine and the Canadian Maritimes. As the safety of our guests and crew is always our highest priority and in order to stay well clear of the approaching storm we will no longer call at Halifax on Thursday, Sept. 14 and will instead spend a day at sea,” Captain Castellano wrote.
“While we still may experience some rough seas, these changes will enable us to avoid the worst of the weather and provide you with a comfortable cruise,” the captain added.
The captain’s letter also stated that the ship will return to Bayonne a day earlier than scheduled, on September 15 rather than September 16, and will remain in port overnight.
Guests will be able to come and go from the ship, and while Emerald Princess’s casino and retail shops must close, all dining venues and lounges will be open. Guests will disembark the ship as scheduled on September 16.
The cruise began on September 9 and called at Newport, Rhode Island; Boston; Rockland, Maine; and St. John. The captain assured guests that any shore excursions booked for Halifax would be automatically refunded.
Emerald Princess, a 113,500-gross ton ship that carries 3,080 guests, is sailing a series of weeklong Canada/New England cruises from the Bayonne port through October.
On November 4, the ship operates a repositioning cruise to Fort Lauderdale. While based in Fort Lauderdale, Emerald Princess will sail 10- to 15-day Panama Canal and Caribbean cruises roundtrip from the Florida port.
The ship, on December 23, begins a series of Panama Canal cruises between Fort Lauderdale and Los Angeles. Emerald Princess is a Crown-class ship that entered service in 2007.
Hurricane Lee is expected to churn north and make headway toward the New England region on Thursday, September 14, with impacts to the Boston area, the Maine coast, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, New Brunswick, and Newfoundland through September 17.
Although it is expected to weaken to a Category 1 hurricane and then into a tropical storm as it reaches land, rough seas, high winds, and torrential rain are anticipated for the entire region.
The hurricane has prompted other cruise lines to change itineraries of ships sailing in the Northeast region, including Royal Caribbean’s Vision of the Seas and Jewel of the Seas.
Vision of the Seas was due to depart Baltimore, Maryland, on September 14 for a 9-night Canada and New England sailing, but instead will sail south, operating a Florida-Bahamas itinerary. Its departure is also delayed by one day.
Jewel of the Seas, also set to depart on September 14, but from New York, on a 14-night Greenland itinerary, will instead overnight at the New York port that day, skipping a planned call at Halifax.
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