There are alot of things that go into determining what a cruise line will do when a storm causes them to arrive late in port or return to port earlier. Depends on where the storm is coming from, where it's going to, where the ship is headed, where can it divert to, etc, etc.
Normally, a ship that is out to sea will not come back to port early. It's usually safer for them to remain at sea out of the path of the storm and come in a day later.
But this is one of the major reasons why it's so very important to purchase travel insurance. Any out-of-pocket expense you incur will be reimbursed by the insurance company.
As for what the cruise line will provide, again, it really depends on the circumstances - each case is different and each cruise handles things differently.
For example, we had a client who was on a ship that was out to sea and came in two days late, so they got to cruise for 2 more days for free. The cruise line, RCCL, provided them some onboard credit and paid the fee to rebook their airfare.
We had another client who was going out on that same ship the next week. So they had to stay in a hotel for two nights, which RCCL would not pay for, but luckily they had purchased the travel insurance so that took care of their food and lodging for two days. When they got on the ship, RCCL refunded them two days of cruise fare, plus gave them onboard credit, and a 50% discount towards another cruise.
In other words, there are no simple answers to your questions because there are too many variables involved.
__________________ Travel Agent/Cruise Specialist w/12 yrs exp and 47 Cruises on 11 cruise lines! Favorites: Paul Gauguin - Tahiti: Uniworld River Cruises - Europe; Celebrity Solstice-class ships; Holland America - 12-nights Baltics & Russia; RCCL - 14-nights Greek Isles, Turkey, & Croatia; Holland America - 14-day Alaskan cruisetour; 10-night Canada/New England cruise; 21 days Hawaii w/7-night NCL cruise; Oceania - 25 days in Asia; more than 3 months touring Europe by train. And many all-inclusive resorts!
All good questions and I am sure the ships are just going to sail where it is safe and no storms. I bet they already have a game plan in place. Not sure how they provide any credits to passengers?? Lets hope everyone traveling and cruising are out of harms way.
Due to high winds caused by Hurricane Sandy, Monarch of the Seas' departure from Port Canaveral, Florida, continues to be delayed. Unfortunately, due to the delayed departure, and the time and speed needed, the ship will be unable to call on Freeport, Bahamas. Also, because of our need to prepare CocoCay, Bahamas, for the weather impact, Monarch of the Seas will not call on CocoCay. Once the ship is able to depart Port Canaveral, it will head out to calm waters.
It's the ship I got off yesterday, looks like they will get no ports of call. Got very lucky we just missed one port.