Skip to content

Cruise lines begin canceling, delaying Florida ship departures as Hurricane Ian bears down

Sept. 27, 2022
7 min read
Hurricane Ian. NOAA VIA GETTY
Cruise lines begin canceling, delaying Florida ship departures as Hurricane Ian bears down
This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.

Cruise lines on Tuesday began canceling and delaying close-in departures of ships out of Central Florida ports as a strengthening Hurricane Ian bore down on the region.

Norwegian Cruise Line was the first major line to announce the cancellation of an entire voyage, saying late in the day that it had called off Thursday's departure of the 3,963-passenger Norwegian Getaway out of Port Canaveral. The ship had been scheduled to sail a nine-night voyage to the Eastern Caribbean.

Soon after, Carnival Cruise Line canceled four-night sailings out of Tampa and Jacksonville scheduled for Thursday on the 2,502-passenger Carnival Paradise and 2,502-passenger Carnival Elation, respectively.

For more cruise news, guides and tips, sign up for TPG's cruise newsletter

In addition, Disney Cruise Line has told passengers on the 2,508-passenger Disney Wish that the ship could be delayed returning to Port Canaveral on Friday. If the ship is delayed returning, the subsequent departure of the vessel also could be delayed.

The cancellations and delay came as the cruise ports in Tampa, Port Canaveral and Jacksonville either had shut down or were preparing to shut down due to the approach of Ian.

As of 8 a.m. EDT Tuesday, Port Tampa Bay was closed to all marine traffic, including cruise ships, with the anticipation that gale force winds (34-47 knots) from Hurricane Ian would arrive soon. The ports of Port Canaveral and Jacksonville are expected to close to marine traffic by Wednesday for the same reason.

The closures could cause more delays and disruptions to cruise departures in the coming days. A dozen cruise ships, including some of the biggest in the world, are based at the three ports and have departures scheduled between now and Sunday.

Related: Cruising during hurricane season? Better read this first

Sign up for our daily newsletter

Among the ships that is likely to be the most affected in the coming days is Carnival Paradise — the only cruise vessel based out of Tampa. Port Tampa Bay — the port for the Tampa area — is expected to be the Florida cruise port hardest hit by Ian, based on the storm's current track. In addition to Thursday's now-canceled departure from Tampa, Carnival Paradise is scheduled to sail two additional voyages out of the city next week starting on Monday.

Carnival Paradise was in Cozumel on Tuesday and was due to start its return to Tampa early Wednesday. However, a spokesperson for Carnival on Tuesday afternoon told TPG the ship would extend its Tuesday stay in Cozumel into Wednesday due to the closure of Port Tampa Bay.

A shutdown of Port Canaveral in the coming days could cause a far bigger impact on cruisers than the closure of Port Tampa Bay, depending on how long it lasts. Port Canaveral is the second biggest cruise port in the world, currently home to 10 cruise vessels operated by such major cruise operators as Royal Caribbean, Carnival, Norwegian and Disney Cruise Line.

In a video update posted Tuesday, Royal Caribbean chief meteorologist James Van Fleet warned that Port Canaveral could shut down Wednesday as Ian approaches Central Florida.

“You will hear from [Royal Caribbean] if any adjustments are made, so this is just my thoughts, and nothing is official yet, but what I am anticipating is we might see the Port Canaveral closure starting on Wednesday, continuing into Thursday, and [the port reopening] on Friday,” Van Fleet said in the second of two Twitter videos offering his outlook on the storm and its effect on cruisers.

Royal Caribbean's 3,344-passenger Mariner of the Seas, which is based in Port Canaveral, is scheduled to return to the port early Thursday to disembark passengers from its current, five-night voyage to the Eastern Caribbean. It's scheduled to depart Port Canaveral later that same day on a new, four-night voyage to the Bahamas.

“There is a chance [that the return of] Mariner gets kicked back a day,” Van Fleet said in the video. “You will hear from the company if the decision is made, and the port is closed, and we need to kick that back.”

Closure of the port at Port Canaveral on Thursday would also affect the Thursday departure of MSC Cruises‘ 3,502-passenger MSC Divina. The line had yet to announce a delay to the departure as of Tuesday, but it had previously warned passengers on the current sailing of the ship that the vessel might not be able to get back to Port Canaveral by Thursday.

Van Fleet said he expected Port Canaveral to reopen by Friday, in time for the line’s Port Canaveral-based, 4,370-passenger Independence of the Seas to return to the port that day as scheduled. The ship is scheduled to depart Port Canaveral late Friday on a three-night voyage to the Bahamas.

In addition to Independence of the Seas, Disney’s Disney Wish and Carnival’s Carnival Liberty are scheduled to depart on sailings from Port Canaveral on Friday.

Van Fleet said a departure of the 5,479-passenger Harmony of the Seas from Port Canaveral on Sunday also is likely to continue without disruption.

Related: Hurricane Ian intensifies as it takes aim at Florida

A spokesperson for Royal Caribbean told TPG the company had no further updates on the line’s vessels sailing out of Port Canaveral.

On Tuesday, the U.S. Coast Guard set Port Condition Yankee for Port Canaveral. That means gale-force winds are expected within 24 hours. Ships are barred from entering a port under Port Condition Yankee but can still depart.

The Coast Guard on Tuesday set Port Condition X-Ray for the Port of Jacksonville. The Coast Guard plans to set Port Condition Yankee for the port at 12 a.m. EDT on Wednesday.

Nearly a dozen cruise ships operating in the Caribbean and the Bahamas have already switched course in recent days to avoid Ian as it barreled toward Florida.

Related: See which cruise ships have been affected by Ian

The disruptions come as one of the busier cruise ports in the region that often serves as an alternate stop for cruise ships avoiding hurricanes, Grand Turk, remains closed for now due to damage from Hurricane Fiona.

As of 8 p.m. EDT Tuesday, Ian was 180 miles south-southwest of Punta Gorda, Florida, and moving north-northeast at 10 miles per hour. The hurricane had maximum sustained winds of 120 miles per hour.

The storm is expected to strengthen over the next 12 hours as it moves toward the west coast of Florida.

According to current projections, it could be a very powerful Category 4 hurricane with sustained winds of 130 miles per hour as it nears the coast of Florida late Wednesday.

Planning a cruise? Start with these stories:

Featured image by GETTY IMAGES
Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Top offers from our partners

How we chose these cards

Our points-obsessed staff uses a plethora of credit cards on a daily basis. If anyone on our team wouldn’t recommend it to a friend or a family member, we wouldn’t recommend it on The Points Guy either. Our opinions are our own, and have not been reviewed, approved, or endorsed by our advertising partners.
See all best card offers

TPG featured card

Best card for premium perks while traveling
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards

2 - 10X points
10XEarn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel
5X5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel.
2X2 Miles per dollar on every purchase, every day

Intro offer

75,000 bonus miles
Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel

Annual Fee

$395

Recommended Credit

740-850
Excellent
Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

Why We Chose It

The Capital One Venture X card is one of the best all-round travel credit cards ever launched. Not only is it offering a tremendous welcome bonus, but cardholders can earn tons of miles on everyday spending and receive a 10,000-mile anniversary bonus to boot. Its annual fee is $395, but cardholders can count on up to $300 in statement credits toward travel booked through Capital One Travel each year and other valuable benefits like access to Priority Pass lounges and Capital One’s own growing family of airport lounges.

Pros

  • Excellent welcome offer worth 75,000 miles after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months.
  • Up to $300 in annual travel statement credits toward bookings make through Capital One Travel.
  • 10,000 bonus miles (worth $100 toward travel) each account anniversary.

Cons

  • The $395 annual fee might be expensive for some, but this card’s benefits provide much more value than that.
  • If you don’t travel frequently, this might not be the best card for you.
  • Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel
  • Receive up to $300 back annually as statement credits for bookings through Capital One Travel, where you'll get Capital One's best prices on thousands of options
  • Get 10,000 bonus miles (equal to $100 towards travel) every year, starting on your first anniversary
  • Earn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel and 5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel
  • Earn unlimited 2X miles on all other purchases
  • Unlimited complimentary access for you and two guests to 1,400+ lounges, including Capital One Lounges and our Partner Lounge Network
  • Receive up to a $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck®
  • Use your Venture X miles to easily cover travel expenses, including flights, hotels, rental cars and more—you can even transfer your miles to your choice of 15+ travel loyalty programs
  • Named editors' choice for "Best New Credit Card of 2021" by The Points Guy
  • Earn 10 miles per dollar when you book on Turo, the world's largest car sharing marketplace, through May 16, 2023
Best card for premium perks while traveling
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards Rate

10XEarn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel
5X5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel.
2X2 Miles per dollar on every purchase, every day
  • Intro Offer
    Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel

    75,000 bonus miles
  • Annual Fee

    $395
  • Recommended Credit
    Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

    740-850
    Excellent

Why We Chose It

The Capital One Venture X card is one of the best all-round travel credit cards ever launched. Not only is it offering a tremendous welcome bonus, but cardholders can earn tons of miles on everyday spending and receive a 10,000-mile anniversary bonus to boot. Its annual fee is $395, but cardholders can count on up to $300 in statement credits toward travel booked through Capital One Travel each year and other valuable benefits like access to Priority Pass lounges and Capital One’s own growing family of airport lounges.

Pros

  • Excellent welcome offer worth 75,000 miles after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months.
  • Up to $300 in annual travel statement credits toward bookings make through Capital One Travel.
  • 10,000 bonus miles (worth $100 toward travel) each account anniversary.

Cons

  • The $395 annual fee might be expensive for some, but this card’s benefits provide much more value than that.
  • If you don’t travel frequently, this might not be the best card for you.
  • Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel
  • Receive up to $300 back annually as statement credits for bookings through Capital One Travel, where you'll get Capital One's best prices on thousands of options
  • Get 10,000 bonus miles (equal to $100 towards travel) every year, starting on your first anniversary
  • Earn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel and 5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel
  • Earn unlimited 2X miles on all other purchases
  • Unlimited complimentary access for you and two guests to 1,400+ lounges, including Capital One Lounges and our Partner Lounge Network
  • Receive up to a $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck®
  • Use your Venture X miles to easily cover travel expenses, including flights, hotels, rental cars and more—you can even transfer your miles to your choice of 15+ travel loyalty programs
  • Named editors' choice for "Best New Credit Card of 2021" by The Points Guy
  • Earn 10 miles per dollar when you book on Turo, the world's largest car sharing marketplace, through May 16, 2023