Two Royal Caribbean International ships, Vision of the Seas and Jewel of the Seas, are changing itineraries due to the influence of Hurricane Lee as the storm approaches Nova Scotia.
One ship will be delaying its departure from its homeport for a full day, while the other is dropping a port of call and creating an overnight stay in another port instead.
While Royal Caribbean has already made itinerary changes for four ships due to Hurricane Lee, the storm’s strength and track are creating additional concerns for more cruises and causing even more adjustments to ensure safe sailing.
Now impacted are the September 14, 2023 departures for both Vision of the Seas and Jewel of the Seas. One ship’s itinerary is dramatically changing to a completely new region, while the other ship is able to preserve much of the original itinerary with some adjustments early in the sailing.
The 78,717-gross ton Vision of the Seas is unable to sail the 9-night “Canada & New England” itinerary as planned, as Hurricane Lee is likely to have a strong impact on the entire sailing region for the next few days.
Royal Caribbean has reached out to guests to notify them of the alteration and to provide options if desired. While the ship will still embark in Baltimore, Maryland, on Thursday, September 14, the vessel will now overnight in Baltimore until Friday.
All guests must embark on Thursday as planned, though the cruise line is asking guests not to arrive before 12:30 p.m., as the ship is already delayed three hours on the previous sailing due to earlier hurricane-related changes. All guests must be onboard by 3:30 p.m.
When Vision of the Seas sets sail on Friday afternoon, the ship will head south – rather than north – for a Florida and Bahamas cruise, visiting Port Canaveral, Nassau, and Perfect Day at CocoCay. Vision of the Seas will return to Baltimore as scheduled on Friday, September 23.
“While these circumstances are beyond our control, we understand that this change impacts your vacation,” the notification said.
Royal Caribbean is permitting guests to cancel for a 100% refund if desired, which will be returned to the original form of payment within 14 business days after the end of the sailing. The exact processing time will depend on guests’ financial institutions. If the cruise was booked using a future cruise credit (FCC), that credit will be reinstated.
If guests do want to continue with the cruise, they will receive a 1-day refund of their cruise fare posted as a credit to their onboard account. Furthermore, any pre-paid Royal Caribbean shore excursions will also be refunded as onboard credit. Any unused credit at the end of the sailing will be returned to the credit card on file.
The 90,090-gross ton, Radiance class Jewel of the Seas is scheduled to depart on a 14-night Greenland itinerary on Thursday, September 14. Because of the length of the sailing and the timing of Hurricane Lee’s approach to the area, adjustments to the beginning of the itinerary are necessary.
“To ensure a safe and smooth journey, we’ll now overnight in Manhattan, New York instead of visiting Halifax, Nova Scotia,” the notification read.
Jewel of the Seas will remain in Manhattan from 6:30 p.m. on Thursday until 8 p.m. on Friday, before setting sail toward Greenland.
“The situation does remain fluid, but we are currently looking good for travel to Greenland,” the notification continued. “We continue to closely monitor the weather conditions to ensure a comfortable cruise.”
At this time, there are no further itinerary adjustments for the sailing, which is scheduled to visit Nuuk, Qaqortoq, and Nanortalik in Greenland, as well as a stop in St. John’s, Newfoundland, before returning to Cape Liberty, New Jersey on Thursday, September 28.
Pre-paid Royal Caribbean shore tours for Halifax are being automatically refunded to guests’ original form of payment.
Hurricane Lee is currently a major Category 3 storm with maximum sustained winds of 115 miles per hour (185 kilometers per hour). The center of the storm is located approximately 805 miles (1,295 km) east of Miami, moving north-northwest at 6 mph (10 kph).
The storm is forecast to continue traveling north, and while it is likely to weaken slightly as it moves into cooler waters, it will still be a hurricane or a strong tropical storm as it approaches Maine, Nova Scotia, and New Brunswick on Saturday and Sunday.
As the storm encounters land, it will likely shift to the east, bringing further rough weather over Nova Scotia and Newfoundland early next week.
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