As Tropical Storm Tammy draws closer to the Eastern Caribbean, two Norwegian Cruise Line vessels are cancelling their visits to St. Maarten, both of which were originally scheduled for Friday, October 20, 2023.
While the storm is not forecast to reach St. Maarten until Saturday afternoon, these cancellations give the ships enough time to steer well clear of the roughest weather associated with the tropical system, which is likely to be a hurricane at that time.
Both Norwegian Sky and Norwegian Joy have cancelled their planned port visits to Philipsburg, St. Maarten on Friday, October 20, 2023. Confirmation of the cancellation comes directly from Port St. Maarten, noting that the cancellations are due to Tropical Storm Tammy.
At this time, the port remains open to cargo and shipping operations, but operational adjustments may be necessary depending on the overall weather and sea conditions.
The 77,104-gross-ton, Sun-class Norwegian Sky – the oldest, smallest ship in Norwegian’s fleet – was to have been in port from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. as the third port on the ship’s current 9-night sailing from Miami. The ship has already called on the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico, with Antigua, the US Virgin Islands, and Great Stirrup Cay still remaining on the itinerary.
The much larger, 167,725-gross-ton, Breakaway-Plus-class Norwegian Joy is on a 12-night repositioning cruise from New York to Miami, and was to have been in St. Maarten from 12-8 p.m. on Saturday. The ship has already visited Bermuda – having just left New York on October 16 – and has six ports of call remaining on the itinerary after St. Maarten.
There is no confirmation whether or not alternative ports of call are to be arranged for the missed visits to St. Maarten, but options may be limited due to the path of the storm and the itineraries of both ships.
No other cruise ships are scheduled to visit St. Maarten for several days. Royal Caribbean’s Mariner of the Seas and Harmony of the Seas are both in port on Wednesday, October 25, by which time the storm will be well past the region.
Tropical Storm Tammy is currently located approximately 290 miles (467 kilometers) east of St. Lucia, moving west-northwest at 13 miles per hour (21 kilometers per hour). As the storm has slowed significantly in the past 24 hours, it has also gained strength and now has maximum sustained winds of 60 mph (97 kph).
Tammy is likely to continue strengthening, and will reach Category 1 or Category 2 status by the time she reaches St. Maarten, though some more extreme predictions are forecasting an even stronger storm.
Hurricane watches, tropical storm warnings, and tropical storm watches are already in effect throughout the Lesser Antilles.
After passing St. Maarten and the rest of the Lesser Antilles, the storm is expected to curve east back into the open Atlantic, and is unlikely to impact other islands. It is possible that some ships making transatlantic crossings next week might experience some rough weather from the storm, depending on their exact routes and scheduling.
The Atlantic hurricane season runs through November 30, but storms do tend to wind down and be less violent in the last weeks of the season. Any individual storm, however, can still be dangerous both to cruise ships as well as ports of call and cruise homeports, and travelers should always stay alert to weather updates when cruising at this time of year.
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