Cruise lines keep shuffling in effort to dodge storms
By Rebecca Tobin
MIAMI -- Cruise lines last week were in their third straight week of repositionings to try to avoid Caribbean hurricanes -- and they were expecting to issue still more changes as Hurricane Jeanne moved through the eastern Caribbean.
Ive been in the business since 1976, and Ive never seen a scenario like this, said Terry Thornton, Carnivals vice president of marketing planning.
Executives were trying to get a handle on damage reports from Grand Cayman, a popular port call on many western Caribbean itineraries.
Its been hard to piece that together, Thornton said.
For now, Thornton said Carnival could shift to an all-Mexico itinerary or, potentially, use La Romana in the Dominican Republic to temporarily take the place of Grand Cayman.
Royal Caribbean International, meanwhile, pointed to alternative calls such as Costa Maya and Labadee, its private beach in Haiti.
Its tough -- its such a key western Caribbean port, said Jamie Haller, Royal Caribbeans director, deployment and itinerary planning.
There was better news from Jamaica. The ports in Montego Bay and Ocho Rios suffered little damage, and the Caribbean Princess was able to call in Montego Bay last week. Carnival and Royal Caribbean planned to resume calls this week. The Grand Princess, meanwhile, replaced storm-torn Grenada with Dominica.
As Hurricane Ivan approached the U.S. last week, Carnival diverted the New Orleans-bound Holiday to Galveston, Texas, and gave passengers the option of taking a bus back to New Orleans or staying on the Holiday for two more days and sailing back to New Orleans for a delayed turnaround on Saturday.
To contact reporter Rebecca Tobin, send e-mail to [email protected].
MIAMI -- Hurricane
Ivans Caribbean rampage brought Grand Cayman and Grenada to their
knees, sideswiped Jamaica and clipped the western tip of Cuba
before drenching U.S. gulf coast states.
ambassador, Dennis Antoine, said the islands damage from Hurricane
Ivan, a storm that caused more than 60 deaths overall and prompted
urgent appeals for assistance is incalculable. Grenada has been
battered and shattered, but we will rebound.
Most resorts on
Grenada took major hits. The 32-room Blue Horizons Garden Resort
will close for four months for repairs. The 66-room Spice Island
Beach Resort will close for at least a year.
On Grand Cayman,
storm surges and wind gusts over 160 mph destroyed residences and
public buildings and damaged many resorts, although the Hyatt
Regency on Seven Mile Beach housed 82 guests after the
We had flooding but
no structural damage, said Victor Lopez, divisional vice president
of Hyatt Hotels Corp.
At press time,
there was no word on the new Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman, a $400
million project on Seven Mile Beach, which had been scheduled for a
December opening. The Marriott Grand Cayman expects to reopen by
the end of October.
Pilar Bush, acting
director of tourism for the Cayman Islands, said that resorts on
the sister islands of Cayman Brac, including the Divi Tiara Beach
Resort, and on Little Cayman are operational and will welcome
visitors once flights resume.
Airport on Grand Cayman is open for daytime operations for relief
assistance, and Cayman Airways still plans to launch its previously
announced 737 nonstop weekend service from Boston to Grand Cayman
Jamaica, which was
spared a direct hit by Ivan, rebounded quickly, although some
smaller hotels on the south and west coasts took a
Ivans impact was
not as bad as wed expected, said Godfrey Dyer, president of the
Jamaica Hotel & Tourism Association and managing director of
the Wexford Court Hotel in Montego Bay.
In Negril, several
small hotels -- including Tensing Pen, Mariners Inn, Idle a While
and Catch a Falling Star -- are closed, according to the Jamaica
resorts, SuperClubs Grand Lido Negril, Sandals Negril, Beaches
Negril and Beaches Sandy Bay will reopen Oct. 1. Some damage also
was reported at luxury Island Outpost property the Caves -- already
shut for renovations through October -- and at the cliffside Ricks
On the south coast
in Treasure Beach, Jakes, another Island Outpost resort, is closed;
guests are being sent instead to Goldeneye resort near Ocho Rios.
The nearby Treasure Beach Hotel, which reportedly lost its roof,
also is closed.
Most resorts on
Jamaicas north coast in Montego Bay, Ocho Rios and Port Antonio
weathered the storm well, although Montego Bays 69-villa Tryall
Club was closed until further notice. The 524-room Holiday Inn
Sunspree Resort reopens Sept. 28. Hotel Mocking Bird Hill in Port
Antonio is closed.
Cruise schedules in
Montego Bay and Ocho Rios resumed normal schedules. Although
airports in Montego Bay and Kingston were open, Air Jamaica
extended its penalty-free re-ticketing deadline through Sept.
The Mexican beach
destinations of Cancun, the Riviera Maya and Cozumel were spared
Ivans fury; no significant damage to resorts was
Kiesnoski and Jorge Sidron contributed to this
reporters Gay Nagle Myers, Kenneth Kiesnoski or Jorge Sidron, send
e-mail to[email protected],[email protected]or[email protected].