from a 1995 U. S. Navy Press Release:
"The approach of Hurricane Felix caused 66 Navy ships to
depart Norfolk Naval Base and the Norfolk, Virginia area on 15 and
Port in a Storm? Not So Fast!
Savvy cruisers know... storms
happen. They're a fact of life. And, quite frankly, Mother
Nature isn't interested in whether or not she spoils your vacation.
An independent lady, she does what she wants and when
she wants to do it. She is what she is... kind of like your mother-in-law
when she comes to visit. Mother Nature is somewhat more
unpredictable, though. Unlike some of her other tricks, such as
violent, out-of-nowhere tornadoes and sneaky earthquakes, hurricanes
build slowly and pick up speed. Using modern technology, forecasters
are able to predict and track them to a certain degree but even the
most up-to-the-minute devices aren't perfect. Impossible as it is to
say with one hundred percent certainty exactly where they will hit,
at least the National Hurricane Center is able to issue advance
warning to those in harms way.
So, what's with the above press
release quote from the Navy? You see, they send their ships
out to sea to ride out hurricanes. This is a comforting thought.
Being ON a ship is not necessarily a bad thing when a
hurricane is imminent, provided you can get to the ship to embark.
Modern cruise ships are equipped with sophisticated communications
gear and receive regular weather bulletins and storm advisories.
Although you won't be on a destroyer, your ship will have the
equipment necessary to insure your safety. I recall a cruise ship
captain who defied the Mexican government and left port against
their directive. He saved his ship, while others remaining in port
official hurricane season consumes a full six months of the
year, from June 1st until November 30th
As luck will have it, your major
concern should be your embarkation port. While a hurricane barrels
down on your destination city, flights in and out are certain to be
delayed or, worst case scenario, cancelled by an airport closing.
But, let's not worry about that. Assume you made it to the ship and
have sailed. What can you expect? Course alterations are made as
necessary to avoid storms. If a hurricane has a tryst with one of
your Caribbean port stops, you might alter course to a different
(and possibly more interesting) port. In the extreme, you could end
up in New England when your itinerary includes only idyllic Bermuda.
The ship will go where the Captain and crew feel is safest. Your
very life depends on them and they take that responsibility
The Eye of the Storm
Thankfully, I can't relate any
horrifying personal exposure to tropical storms. On one
hurricane-baiting voyage to Bermuda, we were tossed about a bit our
first night out and advised to stash high heels in our closets.
Little white "seasickness" bags appeared before we needed
them and things got rather rocky.
However, here's a scenario no one
wants to consider. A young couple I know planned their dream
honeymoon. They were married on a perfect summer afternoon and flew
to Miami the next day where they boarded their vessel for
bliss-filled newlywed days of cruising. Just over the horizon lurked
Hurricane Andrew. Foiling the dastardly villain, they arrived with
time to spare and got to the ship, which sailed early!
Their itinerary was somewhat jumbled, but the skies were sunny, and
they reported that they didn't notice any untoward motion. Well...
they were on their honeymoon, after all.
a big ocean out there with plenty of room for you, your
ship, & Mother Nature
Passengers numbering in the
hundreds of thousands embark on cruises during the
"official" hurricane season without a thought about storms
on land or at sea. For some, it's the only time of year they can
schedule a family vacation. For others, it's just not a
consideration. After all, the official hurricane season consumes a
full six months of the year, from June 1st until November 30th.
While it is something to ponder in terms of comfort and convenience,
I wouldn't let it stand in my way of scheduling a cruise during that
time frame. Chances are, you'll never have a problem. It's a big
ocean out there and there's room for you, your ship, and Mother
Consider what can happen on a land
vacation; I once had to evacuate a
hotel on the Hawaiian island of Kauai because of a tsunami warning.
I'd rather be drinking coffee on a pitching cruise ship than in a
Red Cross Evacuation Center any day.
Voyage and Smooth Sailing!
Bad weather, mechanical problems, and political unrest can set your
itinerary and plans adrift.
& Advice — More info from
Cruise Diva and contributors.
National Weather Service your source of information for
everything you ever wanted to know about hurricanes and weather.
Find the right
cruise insurance policy for you.