Taking a Cruise: Hurricane Season in the Atlantic

Hurricane season can be a rather tricky time for summer travelers.  Kids are home from college, the younger kids are out of school, mom and dad are taking time off of work and the family wants to take a vacation.  Wait…what about hurricanes?  The official hurricane season in the Atlantic begins June 1 and extends until November 30, encompassing the entire summer season in the Caribbean.

In 1998 the Phantom, a ship on the Windjammer cruise line lost its ship and all of the crew members after it sailed off into sea to avoid a hurricane. In trying to avoid the hurricane, they ran straight into the storm. Thankfully, the passengers had all been dropped off safely on the shore, but the captain and crew of the ship were not so lucky. This is a wake up call to all of those out there who think that cruise liners are unsinkable–obviously, they are not.  A year later a Carnival cruise liner experienced some problems during a hurricane, but fortunately the ship, crew, and all the passengers made it out of the storm in one piece.

U.S. Customs & Border Protection Awaits Passenger Processing of First Cruise Ship into NYC post Hurricane Sandy
“U.S. Customs & Border Protection Awaits Passenger Processing of First Cruise Ship into NYC post Hurricane Sandy” by U.S. Customs and Border Protection
under CC BY-SA 2.0

Situations such as this can cause a lot of travelers to second guess their travel plans, thinking that cruises and hurricanes do not mix.  Of course, hurricane season and cruise liners do not go together well at all, but somehow the cruising industry has managed to stay above the hurricane season at least most of the time, making the summer one of the best times ever to take a cruise to the Caribbean.  From August to December, the prices of cruises and everything that goes along with it (dining, ship lodging, activities and such) are at an all time low.

Hurricane season can be a real bummer, and those of you who have had your summer vacation displaced by a pesky hurricane or have had your long-awaited and oh so well-deserved cruise vacation cancelled due to inclement weather know exactly why that is.  The good thing in all this is that as technology has advanced, so has the capabilities of the cruise liners and the liner companies themselves.  No, this does not mean that a cruise ship can take on a hurricane.  What this does mean is that shipping companies and weather services go to extra measures to insure that mishaps such as those that occurred with the Phantom never occur again. 

Of course, this means that nothing is promised.  Do not take any cruise reservations to be final ones, because any slight inkling or joke of a storm will cause the shipping company to yank their ship (their biggest investment) and their passengers (those who fund their biggest investment) off of the ocean in heart beat. 

A strong piece of advice is not to finalize anything! Don’t pay any hefty deposits for anything having to do with your cruise during the summer months, the peak of the hurricane season.




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