Change of plans: Tropical Storm Nicole disrupts major cruise line itineraries

Major cruise lines have changed their plans due to Tropical Storm Nicole.

Carnival Cruise Line’s Carnival Liberty ship, which departed Monday on a four-day sailing from Florida’s Port Canaveral, skipped a planned visit to Nassau in the Bahamas Tuesday, spending the day at sea instead, spokesperson Matt Lupoli said in an emailed statement. The ship also stopped in Cozumel, Mexico, Wednesday rather than private island Princess Cays. 

The line is asking guests sailing on the vessel’s next voyage Friday to come to the cruise terminal “one hour after their previously scheduled embarkation time.”

Carnival Sunshine, which left Monday on a five-day cruise from Charleston, South Carolina, also changed course. The ship spent Wednesday at sea instead of visiting Nassau, and will stop in Nassau on Thursday rather than Princess Cays. 

Carnival Paradise “will remain at sea until it is safe to dock at the Port of Tampa Bay,” Lupoli said. The ship left Tampa on Sunday for a five-day sailing. The vessel’s next cruise, which had been scheduled to leave Thursday, will now depart Friday. Passengers will receive a refund for half their original fare.

Carnival Elation also visited Freeport in the Bahamas on Tuesday instead of Princess Cays. The ship departed Saturday on a five-day voyage from Jacksonville.

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“Our Fleet Operations Center in Miami is actively monitoring the storm’s forecast for any potential impact,” Lupoli said. “As the safety of our guests and crew is our priority, we will continue to keep an eye on the storm and factor in guidance from the National Hurricane Center, U.S. Coast Guard and the local port authorities to provide timely updates as more information becomes available.”

Are cruises skipping Florida ports?

Port Canaveral is closed until further notice, and Port Everglades in Fort Lauderdale also ceased operations. The Jacksonville Port Authority said the port is closed with plans to begin reopening Friday after the storm passes, according to its website.

What other cruise lines have made changes?

► Disney Cruise Line also amended multiple itineraries because of the storm. Disney Dream, which left Monday on a six-day sailing from Miami, skipped a planned stop at Disney’s Bahamas private island Castaway Cay Tuesday and instead spent the day at sea, a Disney Cruise Line spokesperson said by email.

Disney Wish also opted for a sea day Tuesday in place of a planned stop in Nassau. The ship, which left on a five-day voyage from Port Canaveral Monday, also visited Cozumel on Wednesday rather than Castaway Cay.

“We will continue to closely monitor the storm and notify guests of any further impacts,” the spokesperson said.

► Norwegian Cruise Line made similar changes. Norwegian Getaway, which left for a 10-day sailing from Port Canaveral Tuesday, canceled plans to stop at the line’s private island, Great Stirrup Cay, in the Bahamas on Wednesday, according to a spokesperson for the line. The ship instead opted to spend the day at sea.

Norwegian Prima also canceled its Thursday visit to Great Stirrup Cay in favor of a sea day. The ship left from Galveston, Texas, on Oct. 31.

► Holland America Line’s Eurodam and Rotterdam ships each spent an extra day at sea to avoid the storm, a spokesperson for the line said in an emailed statement. Both ships had been scheduled to return to Port Everglades on Wednesday following 11-day and 10-day cruises, respectively, and their next voyages will be delayed by at least one day.

Where is Tropical Storm Nicole headed?

The east coast of Florida, Georgia and South Carolina will continue to see tropical storm conditions within warning areas Thursday, according to the National Hurricane Center.

“Tropical storm conditions will spread northward along the west coast of Florida to the coast of the Florida Panhandle through tonight,” the center added.

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