You can get some great fares on cruises in the Caribbean between July and November but there is a very good reason. This is prime time for hurricanes coming across the Atlantic and heading through the islands, toward the United States. While there are some risks with booking during this time, you can still have an enjoyable vacation. You just have to have a better understanding of how the cruising industry works through these storms.
1.) Be flexible. If a storm is heading into the path of your cruise itinerary, your ports may change, the length of the cruise may differ, or ultimately the cruise may be cancelled. Each cruise ship has their own team of meteorologists, who monitor approaching storms and provide recommendations for affected itineraries. As they get updated storm information, the cruise lines push out information to the guests and their travel advisors, sometimes every few hours. Royal Caribbean has made changes to ports, substituting Nassau, Bahamas for their private Coco Cay island. Carnival bumped up an embarkation on one of their cruises to the evening before it was scheduled to leave, turning it from a 7-night to an 8-night cruise. Cancellations may occur if the cruise lines believe it would be too dangerous for the guests and crew members to leave from a particular port or during a particular day.
2.) Be patient. There are a lot of people working hard to make sure you can make it to your cruise vacation. For cruises that have changed embarkation times or cancellations, many cruise lines will provide compensation to their guests, in the form of future cruise credits or refunds. They also may provide credits for any flight change fees that may be necessary due to the changes. Just remember, they want to keep you happy as a customer and your safety is the primary objective.
3.) Be prepared. When I say I strongly recommend travel insurance for international or cruise travel, I almost insist upon it during the hurricane season. Travel insurance will help reimburse you for expenses due to schedule adjustments or cancellations or fees from change to flights to or from your embarkation/debarkation port. It will give you peace of mind knowing that if something unexpected does happen, you’ll have your travel insurance to protect you.
4.) Let someone else do the work. This is a prime example of when to work with a travel agent really pays off. We get information directly from the cruise lines and keep track of any changes, to get a jump start on any adjustments that may need to be made with flights or other parts of your vacation. Changes can happen numerous times before your scheduled embarkation time and it’s important to stay on top of them. You’ll also have the peace of mind of having someone to call, when you need assistance.
Keeping an open mind about your travel always helps but even more so, when you are dealing with uncontrollable forces. Thousands of people still safely travel during this time and have enjoyable, relaxing vacations. Just keep a cool head, stay flexible, protect your invest, and call your travel advisor. We’re here to help plan your next cruise vacation, regardless of the weather.