Hurricane Dorian closes cruise lines' private islands

A file photo of Princess Cays.
A file photo of Princess Cays.

The cruise lines' private destinations in the Bahamas are closed because of poor weather or storm damage, but some lines are optimistic they may have escaped the brunt of Hurricane Dorian.

Royal Caribbean said it would land a team to survey CocoCay north of Nassau on Sept. 4. "Currently, our hope is to be up and running on Saturday, September 7, 2019, but we won't really know if it's ready for normal operation until the entire island is assessed," Royal Caribbean said in a statement.

Disney Cruise Line said sustained winds at Castaway Cay, which is closer to the storm path of Dorian, did not exceed tropical storm force magnitude of more than 73 miles an hour. Disney said that some employees remained on the island and have returned to their living quarters after spending a few hours in a storm shelter on Sept. 2.

"Our thoughts continue to be with the people in areas of the Bahamas that are being impacted by this storm and we stand ready to contribute to recovery efforts," a Disney Cruise Line statement said.

The most destructive winds around the eye wall of Hurricane Dorian went north of the cruise lines' private islands through the Abacos and Grand Bahama. 

Nevertheless, calls at Carnival's Half Moon Cay and Princess Cays were canceled over the past few days.

Norwegian Cruise Line said it has ended two Florida-based cruises in New Orleans on Sept. 3. The Norwegian Breakaway cruise from Miami scheduled for Sept. 1 and the Norwegian Sun cruise from Port Canaveral scheduled for Sept. 2 were canceled, with full refunds offered.

Because Port Canaveral remains closed, the Disney Dream is now scheduled to return from its current cruise one day late on Sept. 5. The scheduled Sept. 2 departure was canceled with guests offered a refund and a 20% credit towards a future cruise.

Royal Caribbean said the Allure of the Seas and Majesty of the Seas are scheduled to return to Port Everglades on Sept. 4. The Allure's Sept. 1 scheduled sailing was cut from seven to four days and the Majesty's Sept. 2 sailing from six to three days.

Also returning Sept. 4 will be Miami-based ships Empress of the Seas and Navigator of the Seas.  The Empress' Sept. 1 departure will be shortened from seven to four days and the Navigator's Sept. 2 sailing will be cut from five to two days. The Miami-based Symphony of the Seas, which was scheduled to depart Sept. 3, will depart Sept. 4 and is scheduled to return on Sept 7.

At Port Canaveral, the Aug. 25 sailing of the Harmony of the Seas has been extended to Sept. 5 and the Sept. 1 departure will operate as a shortened three-day cruise departing Sept. 5.  The Mariner of the Seas cruise that departed Aug. 30 was lengthened to return on Sept. 4, and the scheduled Sept. 2 departure will operate as a two-day cruise leaving Sept. 4.

Carnival Cruise Line, the only operator at Jacksonville, said it is still evaluating the scheduled Sept. 5 departure of the Carnival Ecstasy from that port.

At Port Canaveral, Carnival plans a two-day sailing from Sept. 5 to Sept. 7 of the Carnival Elation, with pro-rated refunds for missed days. Passengers can also cancel and get a 100% credit toward a future cruise.

From Miami, the Carnival Horizon will operate a three-day itinerary from Sept. 4 to Sept. 7, and the Carnival Victory a two-day itinerary from Sept. 4 to Sept. 6.

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