Storm impacts port facilities, cruise itineraries in Florida

Service on rails starts to come back

WASHINGTON -- Amtrak began restoring limited train service to Florida Sept. 7 as it continued to assess the impact Hurricane Frances had on its system.

Amtrak said the Palmetto would run between New York and Jacksonville, Fla., with no alternate transportation available south of Jacksonville. Continuation of the train south of Jacksonville to Tampa and Miami is not yet possible, Amtrak said.

In addition, Amtrak made the following changes:

" Service on the Silver Star (Train 91) and the Silver Meteor (Train 97), traveling from New York to Miami, Sept. 8 is canceled, traveling from New York to Miami. No alternate transportation is available.

" The Auto Train (Train 53), which travels between Lorton, Va., to Sanford, Fla., is canceled.

" The Sunset Limited (Train 1), which is scheduled to depart Sept. 7 and 9 from Orlando, will instead originate in New Orleans.

" Also, Amtrak said it added capacity to its Carolinian trains to and from New York and Charlotte trains in order to accommodate passengers unable to travel to and from the Carolinas on the Florida services.

To contact the reporter who wrote this article, send e-mail to Michael Milligan at [email protected].

MIAMI -- Frances may have left Florida, but the cruise industry here will feel the hurricanes aftereffects throughout the week -- particularly for those ships departing from Port Canaveral.

The port remained closed to vessel traffic until further notice, according to a message posted on its Web site (www.portcanaveral.org); a message from the port said administrative offices were expected to reopen Sept. 8.

Carnival Cruise Lines, however, said in a statement Sept. 7 that the port would not be ready to receive ships on Sept. 9. The line said it would keep the Fantasy in Miami and embark its Sept. 9 three-day Bahamas cruise from there.  

The Fantasy, which offers three- and four-day cruises to the Bahamas from Port Canaveral, disembarked passengers in Miami on Sept. 7, after spending two extra days at sea riding out the storm. The Sept. 5 cruise from Miami was canceled.

Carnival also canceled the two-day Fantasy voyage that was to depart Miami Sept. 7 and return to Port Canaveral on Sept. 9. The Carnival Miracle, meanwhile, came into Miami three days late. The seven-day cruise originally scheduled to depart Port Canaveral on Sept. 5 was modified to a four-day cruise from Miami departing Sept. 7.

Royal Caribbean International also ended the Mariner of the Seas cruise in Miami; the ships voyage had been extended two days. The Mariner is to depart Miami on a modified five-day cruise and will return to Miami on Sept. 12. The Sovereign of the Seas four-day sailing on Sept. 6 was canceled.

Disney Cruise Line, which homeports both its ships at Port Canaveral, diverted disembarkations on the Disney Magic and the Disney Wonder to Fort Lauderdale. Both ships arrived Sept. 7; the Magic, which normally operates seven-day sailings, was to sail back out on a modified four-day itinerary.

The Disney Wonder's Sept. 5 cruise was canceled; the ship's three-day cruise scheduled to depart from Port Canaveral on Sept. 9 will instead depart from Fort Lauderdale. Disney Cruise Line said it is inspecting its navigation channel and docking facilities in Castaway Cay, its private Bahamian island, including its navigation channel and docking facilities.  

Each cruise line said it was providing transportation to and from the ships to the parking garages in Port Canaveral and to Orlando International Airport while Port Canaveral is closed.

To contact the reporter who wrote this article, send e-mail to Rebecca Tobin at [email protected].

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