A low-pressure system continues to affect cruises around the Caribbean. After a Carnival cruise ship hit the pier in Ocho Rios, Jamaica, on February 6, another ship cancelled a call to Princess Cays, and two Royal Caribbean ships were affected by bad weather at Perfect Day at Cococay, the US Virgin Port Authority has issued a bad weather warning.
For now, the weather system has not forced any of the ports in the US Virgin Islands to close down, however heavy wave activity at several ports such as St. Thomas, St. Croix, and St. John is making operations more difficult.
Hurricane season might be over, but that doesn’t mean that the weather in the Caribbean will always be blue skies and no wind. A low-pressure system rolled into the Caribbean basin on February 6 and continues to affect nearly all islands in the eastern Caribbean.
The low-pressure system stretches from Barbados all the way up to the Bahamas and has already prompted the Virgin Islands Port Authority to give out weather warnings.
Already, one cruise ship was forced to cancel its call to the US Virgin Islands on February 6. Royal Caribbean International’s Adventure of the Seas was scheduled to make a call at St. Croix but was forced to turn around. Luckily, the ship did manage to make its port call in San Juan, Puerto Rico, on February 7.
Two other ports in the US Virgin Islands, St. Thomas and St. John, are continuing to operate, despite experiencing high waves in the port areas. On February 7 Disney Fantasy, Nieuw Amsterdam, and Norwegian Encore‘s calls will be going ahead as scheduled at the WICO dock in St. Thomas, and Wonder of the Seas will be calling at Crown Bay.
Additionally, Evrima, the luxury cruise ship from The Ritz-Carlton Yacht Collection, will be making an unscheduled call at Crown Bay due to an itinerary change. For February 8, Holland America Line’s Zaandam will still call at the WICO dock, while Evrima will be in St. John for the day.
The large storm system has developed winds of up to 35 knots, or 40 miles per hour, and swells of 4 meters, or 12 feet. The forecast shows that the weather system will continue to affect the Bahamas, Turks and Caicos, the Virgin Islands, and the Leeward Islands for at least 24 hours more.
After that, the system will split in two, with one area moving into the Caribbean basin, and another part moving into the Atlantic Ocean.
Such weather conditions pose a considerable risk to low-lying ports and islands, which is evident from the disruptions observed across the Caribbean in recent days.
The Carnival Magic experienced significant challenges in Ocho Rios, Jamaica, where intense winds and waves led to the collapse of a pier fender, resulting in the vessel coming into contact with the pier.
Due to unfavorable weather conditions on Tuesday, February 6, 2024, Carnival Sunshine was forced to cancel its scheduled stop at the private island of Princess Cays.
Also on February 6, at Perfect Day at CocoCay, Royal Caribbean’s private island in the Bahamas, the arrival of high winds led to the early departure of two ships. Freedom of the Seas and Oasis of the Seas, both visiting the island, were impacted when the incoming weather system brought strong winds, forcing the vessels to recall guests.
Despite the best efforts from cruise lines and port authorities to maintain schedules and provide memorable experiences, the forces of nature can introduce unexpected changes to itineraries.
This week’s weather serves as a reminder of the unpredictability of cruising, even during the high season in the Caribbean, when the weather is usually calm and beautiful.
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