08.18.2009  
 
Editor's Note

A hurricane descends on the Bahamas

Hurricane Season 2009

By paul motter

It sounds odd, but we normally do recommend booking cruises during hurricane season. Why? Because hurricane season is no secret, especially to the number one Florida cruise market, and so we often see bargain prices as incentives. Now, I realize price alone isn't a good reason to recommend taking a cruise during a major storm, but the point is that cruise ships are experts at avoiding these storms, so you should still have a great cruise.

This year I would have said you were especially prescient for booking a bargain hurricane season cruise. 2009 has so far been one of the mildest hurricane seasons on record. Unfortunately, cruise prices are already depressed for economic reasons so the hurricane price factor just isn't there this year.

Still, the good news is that there has been no significant impact to any cruise yet this year due to a hurricane… although tropical storm Bill could change that by threatening to hit Bermuda on Wednesday.

In any case, here is what a cruiser needs to know; hurricanes are very slow moving storms so cruises are rarely canceled or even delayed because of them. Rather, the cruise line will substitute different ports of call for the scheduled itinerary and avoid the storm entirely. For example, if a cruise is scheduled to leave from Miami and sail to the Eastern Caribbean a raging hurricane in the Atlantic may compel the cruise line to visit the Western Caribbean instead.

The worst consequence of any hurricane under normal conditions is a delayed departure or return to the home port at the beginning or end of a cruise. The only reason for this would be if the storm was in that home port the same day as the ship was scheduled to be there. But using Miami as an example, a hurricane only hits about once every decade or less, statistically.

People who are new to cruising need to understand that this choice to substitute different ports of call is completely at the discretion of the cruise line. The captain and the cruise line are ultimately responsible for your safety at sea, and they will not choose to sail into a hurricane.

Yes, we actually receive letters from people who are adamant they should receive a full refund because the ship did not sail to the scheduled ports. We do understand that people spend a lot of time pre-planning a cruise and may already know exactly what beach they want to snorkel months ahead of time. But if there is a hurricane it is not the cruise line's fault.

An actual letter said, "Our cruise did not go to the islands they promised us due to a force four hurricane the same week. I feel they broke our contract and we want a 100% refund of our cruise fare." This is after they spent a full week eating the ship's food, sleeping in their beds, watching the entertainment and visiting other ports where they probably did very similar activities to what they had planned anyway.

When I get these letters I just can't help myself. I write back to ask them, "Did you really want to go to an island experiencing 130 mph winds?"

I suppose another alternative would be to cancel the cruise at the last minute, but I doubt most people would want that either. In the end, substituting ports of call always makes the most sense.

In extreme cases a very large storm has meant a cruise line was not able to deliver any ports of call. In these situations they might offer an onboard credit during the cruise, or a discount on a future cruise. But this is also at the discretion of the cruise line and should not be expected.

We do understand that it is disconcerting to have your plans changed at the last minute, but ultimately the best you can do is adapt to the changes quickly and just make different plans for your ports of call. You don't want to be sitting on the ship thinking about what you would have been doing otherwise.

Remember, the cruise experience is usually better when the ship diverges from the proximity of a hurricane as much as possible. For the most part hurricanes are very contained storms - depending on your relative position. You can sail ahead of one and not even know there is a raging inferno just over the horizon. But you don't want to be trailing a hurricane because the winds are sure to have whipped up the seas and such conditions can last for days past the time the storm has passed.

Bottom line, when it comes to hurricanes it is a pretty good idea not to second guess the cruise line's or captain's decisions on where the ship should sail. The cruise lines want to give you best experience possible. Cruising is a competitive business and they want you coming back. You can be pretty sure they made the best decision under the circumstances.


We want your cruise reviews!

CruiseMates started publishing our readers' cruise reviews long before other web sites even thought of it. We already have thousands of reviews online, but there are never enough! CruiseMates and our sister site cruisereviews.com both want more of YOUR cruise reviews. So, please send them to us:

  • To submit a cruise review to CruiseReviews.com, please go here.

  • To submit a cruise review to CruiseMates, please go here .
 
 
hr blue bar
 
Carnival Caribbean from $429
7-night Western Caribbean on Carnival Liberty. Cozumel, Grand Cyman and Ocho Rios
•  America's Vacation Center (866) 501-7271
CM Note: Liberty is one of Carnival's best. Look for balcony bargains here from $619 pp
 
hr blue bar
 
Short Getaway Bahamas Cruises from $159!
Great deals & selection of Bahamas cruise vacations--our Web site makes it easy to compare and save!
•  www.VacationsToGo.com 800-338-4962
CM says: Royal Caribbean, Carnival and NCL all have great Bahamas deals!
 
hr blue bar
 
Celebrity Mercury - 9-NT Bahamas Cruise from Baltimore MD - Rates from $599pp!
5-Star Celebrity Mercury sails round-trip from Baltimore, MD. Offer includes FREE onboard credits up to $75 plus FREE travel insurance!
•  Direct Line Cruises 1-800-352-8088
CM says: Convenient departure port and a bargain for a 9-day cruise. Grab this one!.
 
hr blue bar
 
Coming Soon - Carnival Dream!
Carnivals biggest Fun ShipTM starts at $649, Balcony Bargains from $999. Best Dream bargains anywhere! Book 5 cabins for $100 ship credit.
•  Cruise Planners 1-800-561-0802
CM says: This deal is only available through Cruise Planners!
 
hr blue bar
 
Celebrity Solstice 10-nt European Cruise $1199
RT Rome to Messina, Athens, Mykonos, Kusudasi, Rhodes, Santorini and Naples.
•  America's Vacation Center (866) 501-7271
CM says: great antiquity cruise; the Parthenon, Ephesus, Pompeii, Epirotiki & Greek Isles
 
hr blue bar
 
Princess Fleetwide Cruise Sale
Reduced Deposits to $200 per stateroom, Onboard Booklet valued at $325. Offer is combinable with regional and past passenger fares.
•  CRUISE MARKETPLACE 1-800-826-4333
CM says: New bookings only made before Aug 31st.
 
hr blue bar
 
Carnival Caribbean from $429
7-night Western Caribbean on Carnival Liberty. Cozumel, Grand Cyman and Ocho Rios
•  America's Vacation Center (866) 501-7271
CM Note: Liberty is one of Carnival's best. Look for balcony bargains here from $619 pp
 
hr blue bar
 
Short Getaway Bahamas Cruises from $159!
Great deals & selection of Bahamas cruise vacations--our Web site makes it easy to compare and save!
•  www.VacationsToGo.com 800-338-4962
CM says: Royal Caribbean, Carnival and NCL all have great Bahamas deals!
 
hr blue bar
 
Celebrity Mercury - 9-NT Bahamas Cruise from Baltimore MD - Rates from $599pp!
5-Star Celebrity Mercury sails round-trip from Baltimore, MD. Offer includes FREE onboard credits up to $75 plus FREE travel insurance!
•  Direct Line Cruises 1-800-352-8088
CM says: Convenient departure port and a bargain for a 9-day cruise. Grab this one!.
 
hr blue bar
 
Coming Soon - Carnival Dream!
Carnivals biggest Fun ShipTM starts at $649, Balcony Bargains from $999. Best Dream bargains anywhere! Book 5 cabins for $100 ship credit.
•  Cruise Planners 1-800-561-0802
CM says: This deal is only available through Cruise Planners!
 
hr blue bar
 
Celebrity Solstice 10-nt European Cruise $1199
RT Rome to Messina, Athens, Mykonos, Kusudasi, Rhodes, Santorini and Naples.
•  America's Vacation Center (866) 501-7271
CM says: great antiquity cruise; the Parthenon, Ephesus, Pompeii, Epirotiki & Greek Isles
 
hr blue bar
 
Princess Fleetwide Cruise Sale
Reduced Deposits to $200 per stateroom, Onboard Booklet valued at $325. Offer is combinable with regional and past passenger fares.
•  CRUISE MARKETPLACE 1-800-826-4333
CM says: New bookings only made before Aug 31st.
 
hr blue bar
hr blue bar
hr blue bar
You can access all of these specials above - or go to CruiseMates' Cruise Bargains for even more!
 
hr blue bar
 
more about

CruiseMates, a popular online resource for unbiased and authoritative cruise information, features ship reviews and articles, cruise news, polls, message boards and more.

NEW YORK TIMES: "Many sites that offer reviews are selling cruises, which raises questions about impartiality. An exception is CruiseMates."

FORTUNE MAGAZINE: "The Web's best site for articles, advice, or chatting with Cruise People. Self-financed and run independently of the industry, so their opinions are impartial."

http://www.cruisemates.com

 
NEW ISSUE ONLINE NOW!
"CruiseMates Best of the Web
Cruise Bargains Newsletter"

The ONLY travel newsletter containing cruise bargains we verify to be the Best Cruise Bargains on the Web. For each listing, you will not find a better price for that ship, sail date and cabin category on the Internet. If it isn't the best of the Web, we won't print it!

 

 
  hr blue bar  
 

We are an online, interactive CRUISE SHIP GUIDE with ship reviews, features articles, message boards and more. Recommended by: New York Times, Wall Street Journal, CNN Television, a Forbes Magazine "Best of the Web" site.

Prices listed are cruise only, per person, double occupancy and include port charges (also called non-commissionable cruise fare).

Fuel surcharges and government taxes & fees are additional unless otherwise noted. Prices are in US dollars, airfare is extra unless otherwise noted. Limited availability and restrictions may apply. Prices are subject to change without prior notice. Typographical errors may occur. Offers apply to new bookings only.

© 2008 — CruiseMates.com is an Internet Brands, Inc. website. Internet Brands is located at 909 North Sepulveda Blvd., 11th Floor, El Segundo, CA 90245 — This email was sent to %%#EMAIL%%. If you no longer wish to receive our emails please click here.

YES - Please continue to send me CruiseMates.com's Specials and Exclusive Offers!

No thanks - Please opt me out of CruiseMates!

 
         
  © 2008 Internet Brands