With the bevy of hurricanes rumbling through, it’s been a tough few weeks for cruise lines operating in the Caribbean.
It’s been a tough few weeks for cruise lines operating in the Caribbean. The one-two punch of hurricanes Irma and Maria already has forced Royal Caribbean, Carnival and several other big players in the region to re-route dozens of sailings, and more itinerary changes are in the works. The storms knocked two of the region’s busiest cruise ports — Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas and Philipsburg, St. Maarten — off cruise schedules for weeks and maybe months. Several other popular cruise destinations including Tortola in the British Virgin Islands also are closed to ships for now.
Still, as big as they were, Irma and Maria only affected a small slice of the vast Caribbean Sea. While they left a trail of destruction across a string of Eastern Caribbean islands, the storms didn’t touch the Western Caribbean — home to more than a dozen cruise ports including Cozumel, Mexico; Falmouth, Jamaica; and Harvest Caye, Belize. Nor did they affect Southern Caribbean cruise destinations such as Aruba, Bonaire, Curacao, St. Lucia and Barbados.
Also relatively unaffected were the big ports of The Bahamas, which are among the biggest destinations for cruise ships sailing from Florida.
Which destinations in the Caribbean and The Bahamas are closed to ships for the coming weeks and months? Which remain open? Here, a port-by-port look at the status of significant stops in the region in the wake of Irma and Maria:
► Amber Cove, Dominican Republic. Closed.
The Carnival Corp.-operated port along the north coast of the Dominican Republic was relatively unaffected by Irma, but it’s now in the crosshair of Maria. As of Thursday morning, the storm was passing just to the north of Hispaniola — the island the Dominican Republic shares with Haiti. Carnival on Wednesday re-routed several ships that had been scheduled to visit Amber Cove in the coming days to the Western Caribbean.
► Bridgetown, Barbados. Open.
Barbados was relatively unaffected by the storms and has been receiving cruise ships…