Guests aboard Carnival Celebration will be enjoying a modified itinerary this week that will keep them out of the path of Tropical Storm Franklin, which has formed in the southern Caribbean and is turning north toward Hispaniola.
The Carnival flagship will still be visiting all the planned ports of call, but in the reverse order and with slightly modified port times to remain well away from the rough weather.
Carnival Celebration set sail on a 7-night Eastern Caribbean cruise on Sunday, August 20, 2023. Because of the track of Tropical Storm Franklin, however, the ship has modified its route to quickly pass by the projected path of the storm and more slowly work its way back to Miami.
“In partnership with our Fleet Operations Center, we continue to monitor Tropical Storm Franklin,” the letter to guests onboard began. “Due to the projected path of the storm, we have revised our itinerary in order to remain a safe distance from the storm.”
The original itinerary called for one day at sea before visiting Amber Cove in the Dominican Republic, San Juan in Puerto Rico, and Philipsburg in St. Maarten on the next three days – Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday. Two days at sea were to follow before the ship returned to Miami on Sunday, August 27.
Instead, the ship is reversing that itinerary, first spending two days at sea and then calling on the three planned ports in reverse order: Philipsburg first, then San Juan, then Amber Cove. A single day at sea will remain before the ship returns to Miami on time.
It should be noted that the times in port have also been slightly adjusted for two of the destinations, San Juan and Amber Cove. Carnival Celebration will be in Puerto Rico from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. (previously 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.), and in the Dominican Republic from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. (originally 7 a.m. to 4 p.m.).
The ship will be in St. Maarten as originally planned from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., but on Wednesday rather than Thursday. All pre-purchased Carnival shore tours are being automatically adjusted to the new dates and times as needed.
“We know this change impacts your plans and are sorry for any disappointment this may cause,” the letter reads. “However, we trust you understand this decision was made with everyone’s safety in mind.”
Because the ship is sailing somewhat near the storm’s impact region and more wave motion may be felt than typical, guests onboard are advised to be cautious when moving about the ship and to use handrails whenever possible.
In anticipation of Tropical Storm Franklin’s arrival and impact on the island, the Dominican Republic has closed both Amber Cove and Taino Bay cruise ports. The closure took effect at 2 p.m. local time on Tuesday, August 22, 2023.
At this time, there is no predicted time for when the ports will reopen. That decision will only be made after the storm has passed completely out of the area and any damage can be assessed and repaired as needed.
At the moment, both Carnival Celebration and MSC Cruises’ MSC Seascape have been diverted away from the Dominican Republic. The next ship scheduled to call on the island is Carnival Magic, which is planned to be in Amber Cove on Thursday, August 24, followed by Carnival Horizon on Friday, August 25.
Tropical Storm Franklin is predicted to pass directly over Hispaniola and the two cruise ports on Wednesday afternoon or early evening, August 23. Depending on the storm’s speed, which is currently just 7 miles per hour (11 kilometers per hour), there may still be too much rough weather in the area for Carnival Magic to make its scheduled visit on Thursday, but the storm should be well out of the area by Friday.
At this time, there have been no changes to Carnival Magic‘s schedule, but any alterations to the itinerary – the ship is currently sailing an 8-night Eastern Caribbean cruise that departed Norfolk, Virginia on Saturday, August 19 – may be announced shortly.
Franklin currently has maximum sustained winds of 40 mph (64 kph), just above the threshold of 39 mph (62 kph) to be officially classified as a tropical storm. The storm will likely weaken somewhat as it passes over Hispaniola, but is expected to strengthen again as it moves into the northern Caribbean, and may even reach hurricane strength by the weekend.
At that time the storm will be well away from most cruise ship traffic and unlikely to have further impacts on most itineraries.
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