Summer is here, and many readers of this blog (and its writer) are considering a summer cruise vacation. The arrival of June also means the arrival of hurricane season here in the USA. While the peak of the hurricane season comes later – think late August, September, and October, if you’re cruising to the Bahamas and the Caribbean in the summer, you need to consider the possibility of a storm. If you’re cruising to Canada and New England, it may be a little less likely that a storm will make it that far north, but it can happen.
I’ve taken several cruises during hurricane season, and they’ve all been great. I have missed a few ports of call because of storms, but that’s about the worst thing that’s happened to me. Nonetheless, when cruising during hurricane season, I follow a few basic principals to make sure I enjoy my trip.
Travel insurance – If you turn on the television and find the talking heads preaching about a storm that’s already on the way, it’s too late to buy trip insurance. While some inexpensive short cruises tend to not reach my personal threshold for buying insurance, the math changes a bit with hurricane season. Travel insurance is personal decision as is financial tolerance, but I buy it for the majority of cruises that I define as “expensive.”
Get to port early – I’ve often called arriving at your embarkation port the day before your cruise “the cheapest travel insurance money can buy.” The investment in a hotel room for one night is worth the price of not stressing if you run into any weather or operational issues with your airline flight.
Keep an eye on the weather – During the week before departure day, I start looking at the National Hurricane Center’s website for any possible storms that could impact the trip.
Unless your embarkation port is bullseye for the storm, your cruise is going to depart on time. If you are sailing to affected islands the cruise line will adjust your itinerary accordingly. If a storm is in the western Caribbean, your western Caribbean itinerary may turn into an eastern Caribbean itinerary. They are going to do everything they can to find good weather for your cruise. Be flexible and keep an open mind if you’re cruising during hurricane season. It’s not likely you’ll be impacted at all, but if you are, try to roll with it and enjoy the good weather the cruise line finds. Most of all, enjoy your summer cruise vacation!
-MJ, June 3, 2014