Carnival and Royal Caribbean altered several cruises to avoid Hurricane Irene, which hit the U.S. Virgin Islands Sunday and was pounding Puerto Rico Monday morning with high winds and torrential rains.

The Carnival Miracle, sailing an eight-day roundtrip cruise from New York, was diverted away from St. Thomas and San Juan, and instead was scheduled to visit Grand Turk and Half Moon Cay.

The Carnival Triumph, sailing from New Orleans, will forgo the Bahamas on Tuesday and Wednesday in favor of Cozumel, Progesso and a day at sea.

The Carnival Liberty, which left Miami Saturday, will avoid St. Thomas and San Juan this week and remain at sea before calling at Cozumel on Thursday.

The Carnival Destiny, which left Miami Monday, will visit Key West, Cozumel and Costa Maya rather than Grand Turk, Nassau and Half Moon Cay.

The Carnival Pride, which departed Baltimore on Sunday, will call at Port Canaveral on Tuesday and Freeport on Wednesday. The remainder of that itinerary will be evaluated based on the projected path of the storm.

The Carnival Victory, on a roundtrip cruise from San Juan, will substitute a call at St. Thomas on Saturday instead of St. Maarten.

The Carnival Miracle, which left New York on Aug. 18, will call at Half Moon Cay on Tuesday rather than Grand Turk. The ship on Wednesday is scheduled to begin its journey back to New York.

Royal Caribbeean ships Freedom of the Seas, Allure of the Seas and Oasis of the Seas will each visit their planned ports but in a different order.

The Freedom is sailing a seven-night Eastern Caribbean cruise from Port Canaveral, while the Oasis is operating a seven-night Eastern Caribbean cruise from Fort Lauderdale. The Allure is sailing a seven-night Western Caribbean cruise from Fort Lauderdale.

Irene reached hurricane strength Monday after it moved across Puerto Rico toward the Dominican Republic and Haiti, with Florida a distant target.

More than 150 tourists were evacuated from the islands of Culebra and Vieques off Puerto Rico’s east coast in advance of the storm.

Irene dumped torrential rain and wind in its wake, downed trees and caused power outages in the U.S. Virgin Islands and Antigua.

The Category One storm, packing 75 mph winds, is the first hurricane of the Atlantic hurricane season. It is expected to affect Florida and possibly Georgia and the Carolinas later in the week, according to the National Hurricane Center.  

Airlines serving Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic, Haiti, the Bahamas, Turks and Caicos, US Virgin Islands and British Virgin Islands have waived penalties and change fees for travel through Aug. 26.

Hurricane Irene, now skirting the Dominican Republic's north coast, remains on track to impact the Turks and Caicos and Bahamas by late Tuesday and could become a Category Three storm (115 mph winds) by Thursday.

San Juan's airport reopened at noon on Monday.

This report was updated Monday afternoon with additional changes in cruise itineraries and airline information. 


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