Skip to content

At least 5 cruise ships stuck at sea as Hurricane Ian closes Florida ports

Sept. 28, 2022
6 min read
Hurricane Ian. NOAA VIA GETTY
At least 5 cruise ships stuck at sea as Hurricane Ian closes Florida ports
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.

Thousands of passengers on cruise ships this week are getting something they probably didn't expect when their cruises began a few days ago: extra days at sea.

The closure of three major Florida cruise ports Tuesday and Wednesday due to the approach of Hurricane Ian — Port Tampa Bay, Jacksonville Port Authority (JAXPort) and Port Canaveral — means that at least five Florida-based cruise vessels won't be able to return to their home ports on Thursday as scheduled to disembark the passengers.

Instead, the ships are spending extra time at sea and at cruise destinations in the Caribbean and the Bahamas.

The voyages that are being extended include this week's four-night sailings of Carnival Cruise Line's 2,052-passenger Carnival Paradise and 2,052-passenger Carnival Elation out of Port Tampa Bay and JAXPort, respectively. Both of the sailings, which began on Sunday and had been scheduled to end Thursday morning, are now morphing into cruises that will last at least five nights.

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

Also being extended are sailings out of Port Canaveral operated by Royal Caribbean's 3,344-passenger Mariner of the Seas, Norwegian Cruise Line's 3,967-passenger Norwegian Getaway and MSC Cruises' 3,502-passenger MSC Divina.

All three of the ships had been due back at Port Canaveral on Thursday morning but will now stay at sea until Friday morning if not longer.

Also likely to remain at sea longer than expected is Disney Cruise Line's 2,508-passenger, Port Canaveral-based Disney Wish. The line told passengers on the current sailing that the vessel might not return to Port Canaveral early Friday as scheduled and could remain at sea into the weekend.

The delayed returns mean that nearly 20,000 cruisers this week are getting an extension of their vacations — whether they want one or not.

Sign up for our daily newsletter

If Port Canaveral doesn't reopen to cruise traffic by Friday, two other ships that are based at the port — Royal Caribbean's Independence of the Seas and Carnival's Carnival Liberty — could also find themselves stuck at sea for an extra day.

Port Tampa Bay closed to marine traffic, including cruise ships, at 8 a.m. on Tuesday as Hurricane Ian bore down the west coast of Florida, and Port Canaveral closed to marine traffic at 12 a.m. on Wednesday. JAXPort is scheduled to shut down at 12 p.m. on Wednesday.

Related: Cruise lines cancel, delay Florida sailings as Hurricane Ian approaches

All three of the ports are expected to remain closed through at least Friday morning.

In a statement sent to TPG, Carnival said the Tampa-based Carnival Paradise had extended its Tuesday visit to Cozumel, Mexico, into Wednesday — giving passengers an extra day at the port. The timing of the ship's return to Tampa has yet to be set.

Carnival Paradise "is now scheduled to depart from Cozumel on Wednesday," Carnival said in the statement. "The ship will then begin heading back to Tampa, but remaining a safe distance from the storm as the company determines when Carnival Paradise can return to the Port of Tampa after the U.S. Coast Guard assesses conditions."

A new return date for Carnival Elation to Jacksonville also has not yet been set. The ship replaced a scheduled visit to Princess Cay in the Bahamas on Tuesday with a day at sea and will be visiting Freeport in the Bahamas on Wednesday instead of a scheduled sea day.

"It is likely the sailing will be extended until the port [of Jacksonville] reopens after the storm has passed," the line said.

In a statement posted online, Royal Caribbean said it expected Mariner of the Seas to be back in Port Canaveral on Friday, a day later than scheduled.

Related: Don't cruise during hurricane season without reading this

Norwegian and MSC Cruises have not yet said when Norwegian Getaway and MSC Divina might return to Port Canaveral.

As is customary when cruises need to be extended due to inclement weather, none of the passengers on board the vessels will be charged for the extra days they spend on the ships.

Such voyage extensions due to hurricanes and other weather events are relatively rare in the cruise world, though they do happen from time to time.

What's particularly notable about this week's cruise extensions is that they are taking place for ships operating out of multiple Florida ports on both sides of the state — a result of Hurricane Ian's large size and Florida-crossing track.

The extensions have mostly been met with good humor by passengers on the ships, at least judging from their posts on social media. "Oh noooo hurricane Ian is forcing us to stay on our cruise an extra day," one cruiser on a Royal Caribbean ship wrote early Wednesday on Twitter, adding a laughing emoji that suggested she wasn't upset at all.

Passengers on Disney Wish posted video on Twitter of cheers erupting through the ship when they were told they might be getting an extra day or two at sea.

The extended sailings are just the latest in a string of disruptions to cruises this week caused by Hurricane Ian. More than a dozen cruise ships operating in the Caribbean and the Bahamas have had to switch course in recent days to steer clear of the storm as it barreled toward Florida. In many cases, the ships dropped or switched ports as they moved to calmer waters.

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 a.m. EDT Wednesday, Ian was about 55 miles west of Naples, Florida, and moving north-northeast at 10 miles per hour. The hurricane had maximum sustained winds of 155 miles per hour.

According to current projections, Ian could be a very powerful Category 4 hurricane with sustained winds of 155 miles per hour as it hits the west coast of Florida 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