Royal Caribbean cruise ship changes port due to Tropical Storm Fiona

Cruise lines scramble to find suitable alternate ports as Tropical Storm Fiona looks poised to turn into a full-fledged hurricane as it passes over the Caribbean islands of Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic.

Following the arrival of Tropical Storm Fiona, Royal Caribbean has announced several changes to the Harmony of the Seas itinerary for departure tomorrow, September 18. While the call for Perfect Day at Cococay will continue, the rest of the original itinerary has been completely changed.

Fiona forces a change Harmony of the Seas Itinerary

With safety at the forefront of any decision made by cruise lines, Royal Caribbean has decided to make several changes to the itinerary to Harmony of the Seas sailing tomorrow September 18th.

Originally planned to sail from Port Canaveral to the Eastern Caribbean, Harmony of the Seas will shift to the Western Caribbean instead. The choice was made due to the imminent approach of Tropical Storm Fiona in the Eastern Caribbean, where Harmony of the Seas should be operational in the next few days.

Guests will be disappointed that their cruise does not sail to Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas and Philipsburg, St. Maarten. But, the ship will sail to Costa Maya and Cozumel in Mexico, two ports that have always proven themselves.

Photo credit: Jillian Cain Photography / Shutterstock

The itinerary changes are not surprising, as Royal Caribbean’s chief meteorologist, James Van Fleet, released a statement that route changes should be expected with the arrival of Fiona.

Royal Caribbean has issued a statement to customers who booked on September 18 that clarifies the need for itinerary changes to Harmony of the Seas:

“With our Chief Meteorologist, James Van Fleet, we have been monitoring adverse weather conditions along our planned route due to Tropical Storm Fiona. As a result, we have replaced our visits to Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas and Philipsburg, St. Maarten.”

“Instead, we will visit two beautiful Mexican ports, Costa Maya and Cozumel. We apologize for the impact of the weather on our itinerary. Although these aren’t the ports originally planned, we know you’ll have a wonderful time. And know that being on a ship is one of the safest places because we are faster and can get away from any bad weather.

Harmony of the Seas by Royal Caribbean
Photo credit: byvalet / Shutterstock

Harmony of the Seas Itinerary a CocoCay in the Bahamas on September 19, St Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands on September 21 was changed to a day at sea. The following day, September 22, would have been a call to St. Maarten, but this was replaced by Costa Maya.

Instead of a day at sea, the 226,963 gross ton Oasis class Harmony of the Seas will be in Cozumel on September 23, followed by a day at sea and back in Port Canaveral, Florida on September 25.

Customers who have pre-booked shore excursions for St. Thomas and St. Maarten will be automatically refunded.

Fiona is expected to become a hurricane force but misses Florida

Currently tracking over the eastern outer Leeward Islands of St. Maarten, Barbuda, Antigua and Guadeloupe, Fiona will strengthen as she moves near the US and British Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, and the Dominican Republic later this weekend. The storm will likely upgrade to a Category 1 hurricane as it approaches.

Tropical Storm Fiona
Tropical Storm Fiona (NOAA Image)

“Fiona could be near hurricane strength as it moves near Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic this weekend, and it could reach hurricane status on its own before reaching the Dominican Republic. early Monday, said the National Hurricane Center (NOAA).

Although the storm is developing into a hurricane, its track has also changed from expectations yesterday, September 16. Forecasts now indicate that the storm will continue over Puerto Rico, the eastern part of Hispaniola and the Turks and Caicos Islands, but is expected to return to the Atlantic Ocean later next week.

If that happens, it would be good news for cruise ships sailing to and from Florida and the Bahamas, as the effects are likely to be relatively minor compared to what people in the Eastern Caribbean are currently experiencing. As always, Cruise Hive will be monitoring the situation closely, while you can also help those affected.

Royal Caribbean Harmony of the Seas cruise ship

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