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By: Erasmus Williams
BASSETERRE, ST. KITTS, SEPTEMBER 30TH 2017 – With the closure of nearby cruise ports in St. Thomas and St. Croix in the United States Virgin Islands, Tortola in the British Virgin Islands, Dominica and St. Maarten, devastated by the recent hurricanes, not many ships seem to be coming to St. Kitts’ Port Zante or Nevis’ Port Charlestown, looking at the new itineraries posted by Princess Cruises, Carnival and MSC Cruises, although further adjustments are possible.
Princess Cruises has announced cancellation of Caribbean Princess’ October 10 call at San Juan in the latest cruise change, as Puerto Rico continues to reel from the devastation inflicted by Hurricane Maria.
The call, which was scheduled to take place on the October 7 Caribbean cruise out of Fort Lauderdale, will be replaced with a day at sea, the cruise line said.
As a result of the change, the ship will now depart Princess Cays at 6 p.m. October 8, instead of 5 p.m., and the ship will arrive in St. Kitts at 8 a.m. Wednesday, instead of 9 a.m.
On Crown Princess’ November 8 cruise, the line will replace the planned call at Grand Turk on November 10 with a call at Princess Cays from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. November 9. The ship will be at anchor for this call and a ship-to-shore tender service will be available to go ashore, though wheelchair access may be limited.
The line has also modified a number of sailings on the Regal Princess. For the November 5 and 30 departures, the line will replace a call to Dominica with a call to Martinique from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. on the same date. As a result, the ship will now arrive in St. Thomas at 9 a.m. rather than 8 a.m. as previously scheduled. On the ship’s November 19 and 26, as well as its December 3 and 10, departures, the line will replace a call at St. Maarten with a call at Antigua from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on the same date.
On Royal Princess’ December 10 and December 30 departures, the line will replace a call at Dominica with a call to Martinique from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. on the same date. As a result, the ship will now arrive in St. Thomas at 5 p.m. rather than 7 p.m.
Carnival Cruise Line has cancelled Carnival Fascination’s San Juan departures on October 1st and 8th and its Barbados departures on October 4th and 11th.
Royal Caribbean has cancelled Adventure of the Seas’ September 30 cruise out of San Juan in order to use the ship for evacuation and humanitarian efforts. The ship arrived in San Juan on September 27 and will operate humanitarian calls in San Juan, St. Thomas and St. Croix to aid in the evacuation and donate critical supplies to each destination.
The ship will bring evacuees to Fort Lauderdale before returning to San Juan October 6 to prepare for the October 7 cruise.
Royal Caribbean is also continuing to modify some itineraries to incorporate alternative ports to St. Maarten, St. Thomas and San Juan:
Adventure of the Seas: will visit Martinique instead of St. Croix on 7th October and Antigua on October 14th instead of St. Croix.
Allure of the Seas will go to Cozumel and Costa Maya on October 1st and October 15th instead of St. Thomas and San Juan and St. Maarten and San Juan respectively.
Harmony of the Seas will visit Nassau, Cozumel and Costa Maya on 7th October cruise instead of St. Maarten, San Juan and Labadee.
On the 20th October cruise, Serenade of the Seas will visit St. Kitts and Antigua instead of St. Thomas and St. Maarten.
On the October 8th cruise, Oasis of the Seas will drop St. Maarten, San Juan and Labadee and go to Nassau, Cozumel and Costa Maya. The October 22nd cruise to St. Maarten and San Juan will go to Nassau, Bahamas and Falmouth, Jamaica.
MSC Cruises said that it will continue to operate four ships in the Caribbean over the next few months – including MSC Divina, MSC Fantasia and MSC Opera – with the introduction of a fifth, the new MSC Seaside, in December. The cruise line is working closely with officials in affected areas to continue destination assessments, but in the meantime, it is making the following itinerary updates:
On the three eastern Caribbean itineraries departing from Miami on September 30, October 14 and October 28 and that formerly included Philipsburg (St Maarten) and San Juan (Puerto Rico), MSC Divina will now cruise the following western itinerary with stops in Montego Bay (Jamaica); George Town (Cayman Islands); Costa Maya (Mexico) and Nassau (Bahamas).
Starting with the itinerary departing from Miami on November 11, on seven-night eastern Caribbean itineraries, MSC Divina will now call at St. John’s (Antigua and Barbuda), instead of Philipsburg (St. Maarten).
MSC Divina long cruises departing from Miami in January and February 2018 will depart January 3, 2018 and will call at Oranjestad (Aruba) and Willemstad (Curaçao) instead of at Road Town, Tortola (British Virgin Islands) and Basseterre, (St. Kitts & Nevis).
Departing January 25, 2018 the MSC Divina will go to San Juan (Puerto Rico) replacing Philipsburg (St. Maarten).
Departing February 15, 2018, the ship will call at San Juan (Puerto Rico), Bridgetown (Barbados) and Pointe-a-Pitre (Guadeloupe) instead of at Philipsburg (St. Maarten), Road Town/Tortola (British Virgin Islands) and St John’s (Antigua and Barbuda).
For the MSC Fantasia from November 25, 2017 to March 31, 2018, the seven-night itineraries from Forte de France (Martinique) and Pointe-a-Pitre (Guadeloupe) will now call at La Romana (Dominican Republic), instead of at Road Town/Tortola (British Virgin Islands), and at Basseterre (St. Kitts & Nevis), instead of at Roseau (Dominica), while spending an additional day at sea instead of calling at Philipsburg (St Maarten).
The MSC Seaside from December 23 2017 to March 17, 2018, eastern Caribbean itineraries will see the ship departing from Miami and will now call at St. John’s (Antigua and Barbuda), instead of at Philipsburg (St Maarten).
Due to the damage sustained by Tortola in the British Virgin Islands, St. Thomas in the U.S. Virgin Islands and St. Maarten, Norwegian Cruise Line has altered all of Norwegian Escape’s eastern Caribbean itineraries through the end of the year. The new ports of call are Cozumel, Mexico; Roatan, Bay Islands, Honduras; Costa Maya, Mexico; and Harvest Caye, Belize.