It looks like the cruise industry's run of good fortune in 2017 has continued into the hurricane season


Until now, it has been a Goldilocks-type year for cruise lines, which haven't been impacted by any of the sinkings, fires, illnesses or terrorism incidents of the past.

The economy is in its ninth year of recovery after the meltdown of 2008. Ships are full, at better prices than last year.

Hurricane Irma looked like it would put an end to the party. On Friday its predicted storm path took it through the upper Keys into Miami and on up the densely populated and developed East Coast.

In the crosshairs were the headquarters of the three big cruise companies  Carnival Corp., Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. and Norwegian Cruise Line, as well as the three biggest cruise ports in the world, PortMiami, Port Everglades and Port Canaveral.

It could have been quite a setback for the industry. But fortunately for cruising, if not for the west coast of Florida, the winds steered Irma further to the west, bringing it ashore first in the Florida Keys north of Key West and then again near Naples, Florida.

In Miami, the world headquarters of cruise, the strongest gusts were just 99 miles an hour, according to the acting director of the National Hurricane Center.

To be sure, two smaller cruise ports lay exposed, and time will tell how much damage was inflicted on Key West and Tampa. And while there are a dozen or so canceled cruises there are many more alterations that inconvenienced passengers. We don't know how long some battered Caribbean cruise ports will be out of commission.

Some of those ports, such as St. Thomas and St. Maarten, are getting help from the cruise lines who are using ships that were idled because of the storm to deliver relief supplies and pick up stranded tourists.

But if the financial cost to the cruise industry is a handful of canceled cruises and the likelihood that it will have to rearrange many Eastern Caribbean itineraries this winter, it could have been much worse, given the intensity and track of this storm, which struck at the very statistical peak of the hurricane season.

With luck, the rest of the season will be uneventful and the cruise industry's year of good fortune will continue into 2018.

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