I’ve suggested that booking a cruise to the Caribbean during hurricane season is a great way to grab a cheap cruise and have a fun time. So I put together this guide to cruising during hurricane season for those who are skeptical of doing so. Hurricanes are pretty scary, after all. But with a little planning, there shouldn’t be much to worry about.
Hurricane season lasts from June 1 to November 30th. But that doesn’t mean that the odds that your cruise is affected by a hurricane are the same the entire time. The Eastern Caribbean and East Coast is most likely to be affected by hurricanes between mid-August to mid-September. The Western Caribbean is more likely to be impacted by hurricanes from mid-September to mid-November. So start by planning your eastern Caribbean cruise during Funtober.
But that doesn’t mean that you have to plan an eastern Caribbean cruise this October. The chances are low that you will be impacted by a hurricane. It is rare for storms to cause cruise ships to re-route. When cruises are affected, they usually will just change a port call to avoid it. Cruise companies have been operating in the Caribbean for many years and have experience dealing with the situation. Advanced satellite systems give them the latest forecasts and their employees monitor the situation. The cruise ships don’t operate close to the storms and can outrun hurricanes. So you have shouldn’t worry. Just carry something for motion sickness for the rare case in which the seas end up a bit rougher than usual.
Flexibility for your trip is key, however. Port calls may be changed, and you won’t get a refund for this. At worst, a cruise will simply change from an eastern Caribbean to western Caribbean cruise (or vice versa) to avoid a storm. But, one year, a Royal Caribbean cruise that was supposed to sail from New Jersey to Bermuda became a New England and Canada cruise at the last minute because of a storm. So be prepared and careful booking shore excursions through outside tour providers.
If the hurricane hits the home port where you embark/depart, it may disrupt your flight or the departure time of the cruise. Plan to arrive a day or two early so there’s no risk your travel plans are delayed and enjoy the departing port. Don’t schedule any important meetings at work the day after your cruise ends. If you have problems getting to the ship, cruises will generally try to do everything in their power to get you to the ship even though they aren’t obligated to do so.
Finally, buy travel insurance that protects against disruption due to weather. So, now that you have all of the facts, won’t you be booking one of those cruise deals?