12:30 P.M. 8/30/17 Final Update
Royal Caribbean Statement:
“After departing from PortMiami last night, Liberty of the Seas is on her way back to Galveston, scheduled to arrive on Friday morning, pending port conditions. At this time, the Port of Galveston and the Galveston ship channel remains closed to all traffic per the U.S. Coast Guard. We are in close contact with these authorities to confirm the opening of the Port and Liberty’s final arrival into Galveston.
“For those guests booked on Liberty’s Sunday, September 3 sailing, we expect that we will sail as scheduled. Please continue to visit our website to get the latest information regarding the status of the Port of Galveston.
“For those guests travelling to Liberty, we suggest that you review the latest information on road conditions at the Texas Department of Transportation’s website – http://conditions.drivetexas.org/current.
“While George Bush International Airport and Hobby Airport are still closed, the FAA’s latest update states that both airports will reopen tomorrow, Thursday, August 31 at 12:00 p.m. CT. We encourage you to visit www.fly2houston.com for the latest updates.”
“Carnival Valor and Carnival Freedom will depart New Orleans this afternoon and will then resume course to Galveston. Carnival Breeze will overnight in New Orleans today and will start making her way to Galveston on Thursday evening.
“Assuming the port reopens later this week, Carnival Freedom will dock on Friday and debark guests from its previous cruise. Embarkation for the September 2 voyage will take place on Saturday as scheduled.
“Carnival Valor will arrive in Galveston on Saturday morning to disembark guests. As previously mentioned, the August 31 sailing of Carnival Valor has been cancelled. However, the September 4 sailing will operate as scheduled.
“Carnival Breeze is scheduled to arrive on Saturday evening to disembark guests from the previous cruise. Embarkation for the September 3 sailing will take place on Sunday as scheduled.
“We are in the process of finalizing check-in times for this weekend’s sailings and will update this page as soon as the port reopens and more information becomes available.”
9:30 A.M. 8/29/17 Update
Over the past 24 hours, both Carnival and Royal Caribbean have announced updates to their schedule. They are posted in full below. In addition, we have heard that some independent parking lots in Galveston have likely received flooding.
Unfortunately, extreme flooding conditions caused by the storm continue to impact the Galveston and greater Houston areas. As a result, officials from the Port of Galveston and United States Coast Guard cannot predict, with any certainty, when the port will re-open, but now expect it will remain closed until late this week.
All three ships will make a stop in New Orleans during the next two days to allow guests to disembark if they wish to make independent arrangements to return home, or another location. Alternatively, if their schedule allows, guests can elect to sail back to Galveston with us. Our ships will depart New Orleans Tuesday/Wednesday and expect to be in position to enter the Port of Galveston as soon as it re-opens, later in the week.
Based on the uncertainty of the port re-opening, the August 26th sailings of Carnival Valor and Carnival Freedom, and the August 27th departure of Carnival Breeze, have been cancelled.
Additionally, it has now become necessary to cancel the August 31st sailing of Carnival Valor, which was scheduled to depart this Thursday.
A full refund will be automatically processed, including any pre-purchased Carnival Adventures, Fun Shop purchases and beverage packages. The refund will be processed to the original form of payment within three weeks. Additionally, a 25% future cruise credit will be applied to their next reservation with Carnival, if booked within the next 60 days.
We sincerely apologize to all our Galveston guests for the disruption to their vacation plans and thank them for their patience and understanding. We look forward to welcoming them on a Carnival cruise in the future.
On behalf of Carnival Cruise Line, our thoughts and prayers remain with those in the affected communities.
Royal Caribbean Statement:
In light of recent events, including the closure of Port of Galveston, Royal Caribbean International is safely diverting Liberty of the Seas to PortMiami to arrive on Tuesday, Aug. 29. We anticipate Liberty can return to Galveston on Friday, Sept. 1, conditions permitting, in time for its next sailing departing on Sunday, Sept. 3. We are doing all we can to help our guests, and appreciate their patience as we carefully navigate the effects of Hurricane Harvey. Liberty’s sailing that was scheduled for Sunday, Aug. 27 has been cancelled. Each guest will have their fare fully refunded and be provided with a future cruise credit.
11:30 A.M. 8/28/17 Update
Here is a message from John Heald of Carnival:
“In our discussions with the Port of Galveston and USCG last night, the port is not expected to o re-open before the end of this week.
Road conditions in Houston and Galveston are very poor with most highways and the airport closed. Based on the current situation we have made the following plans for our Galveston ships.
• Breeze left Cozumel on Saturday night for Galveston and was diverted to New Orleans for a technical stop to re-provision but she will now remain in New Orleans until Tuesday before heading back toward Galveston in anticipation of the port reopening later in the week.
• Valor and Freedom left New Orleans on Saturday and will now return to New Orleans on Tuesday and will remain there overnight departing for Galveston on Wednesday.
We have been advised that, at least for now, the parking lot and cars at the port have not been damaged.
•Guests on all three ships have the option of debarking and making their own way home from New Orleans or to an alternative location, or staying onboard and sailing back with the ship to Galveston with the understanding the port may not reopen until the weekend.
All three ships report that guests are in good spirits and appreciate everything we are doing for them.
My thoughts are with everyone affected by the Hurricane and the disastrous flooding. I hope you and your loved ones are safe and out of harms way.”
5:00 P.M. 8/27/17 Update
Carnival made the following announcement, according to the Port of Galveston:
“While Hurricane Harvey was downgraded to a tropical storm yesterday, the storm continues to generate significant rainfall in Galveston and Houston, which has caused severe flooding. The heavy rains are impacting the roads leading in and out of Galveston. The port announced it will be closed for at least the next 24 hours, so our earliest potential opportunity to debark current guests is on Tuesday. As you can imagine, this is a fluid situation and we have no way of knowing if the port opening could be delayed further.
“We will continue to maintain close contact with port officials in Galveston monitoring conditions on Galveston Island, and within neighboring areas including Houston, and will provide ongoing updates as we receive additional information. At present, we intend to operate shortened itineraries on Carnival Freedom and Carnival Breeze once we are able to dock in Galveston, weather and local conditions permitting.
“Carnival Freedom– is currently in position to enter the Port of Galveston as soon as the port reopens.
“Carnival Breeze – is on its way to New Orleans to make a short technical stop to replenish water and provisions on Monday. She will then resume her course to Galveston.
“More information for guests who were scheduled to sail on Carnival Freedom and Carnival Breeze on 8/26 and 8/27 will be provided as soon as we have a more definitive estimate of the ships’ arrival into Galveston.
“Guests who opt to sail on the shortened itineraries will receive a pro-rated refund of their cruise fare as well as an onboard credit posted to their Sail & Sign account. Specific details on the itinerary and onboard credit amount will be determined once our plans for these voyages are finalized. Additionally, anyone who purchased our beverage packages will also receive a pro-rated adjustment. These refunds will be processed to the original form of payment within three weeks. Pre-purchased Carnival Adventures for cancelled ports, as well as any taxes, fees and port expenses will be refunded to your onboard Sail & Sign account. Gratuities will also be adjusted to reflect the shortened duration.
“Please do not proceed to the cruise terminal until you have received notification from us with additional details.
“We regret the impact the storm has had on your vacation plans. Should you wish to cancel and receive a future cruise credit*, please call 1-800-CARNIVAL, contact your Personal Vacation Planner at 1-800-819-3902, or your travel agent. A refund for any pre-purchased Carnival Adventures or Fun Shop purchases will be processed within three weeks to the original form of payment.
“Carnival Valor – Unfortunately, as a result of the delay caused by the weather and considering the short duration of this 5 day cruise, it will now be necessary to cancel this voyage. A full refund will be automatically processed, including any pre-purchased Carnival Adventures, Fun Shop purchases and beverage packages. The refund will be processed to the original form of payment within three weeks. We would love nothing more than to welcome you on a future Carnival cruise where we will apply a 25% future cruise credit*.
“We sincerely apologize to all our Galveston guests for the disruption to your vacation plans and are grateful for your patience and understanding. On behalf of Carnival Cruise Line, our thoughts and prayers remain with those in the affected communities.
“To stay up to date, please sign up for text alerts by texting the codes below to CRUISE (278473).
“Carnival Freedom 08/26/17 – CCL1
“Carnival Breeze 08/27/17 – CCL3”
2:30 P.M. 8/27/17 Update
Just received word from Royal Caribbean that Liberty of the Seas (currently sitting off the coast of Galveston) will head to Miami before returning to Galveston once the port reopens. Click here for the full story.
In the meantime, Houston airports and Interstate 45 headed to/from Galveston are now closed. We anticipate it will take several days at least before it is safe for cruise ships to dock.
7:00 A.M. 8/27/17 Update
Royal Caribbean has announced that Liberty of the Seas will arrive in Galveston late today (Sunday), with the next cruise departing on Monday:
“Due to Tropical Storm Harvey and weather conditions around the Galveston/Houston area, as well as the port’s current closure, Liberty of the Seas will arrive to the Port of Galveston tomorrow later than originally scheduled. Because of this, boarding for the next cruise will now take place on Monday, August 28 between noon and 3 p.m. We ask that guests not arrive to the port before noon.”
Carnival has announced it hope to have ships come into the Port of Galveston either Sunday or Monday:
“We continue to closely monitor Tropical Storm Harvey and our thoughts and prayers are with the communities affected by the storm.
“The Port of Galveston remains closed to all marine traffic. It is expected to stay closed until the storm has passed and a port assessment has been completed. Please do not proceed to the cruise terminal until you hear from us again.
“Carnival Freedom and Carnival Valor are in New Orleans today for a short technical stop to replenish provisions before resuming course to Galveston this evening. Carnival Breeze is currently docked in Cozumel and will depart for Galveston at 6:00 PM. Our intention is to be in position to take advantage of any docking opportunity that may become available in Galveston on Sunday or Monday.
“The duration of your cruise will have to be shortened and the itinerary modified. Cruise details will be finalized once we have confirmed our arrival into Galveston.
“Guests who sail will receive a pro-rated refund of their cruise fare for missed days and refund of any pre-purchased Carnival Adventures for canceled ports. Additionally, guests who pre-purchased any of our beverage packages will receive a pro-rated refund. Gratuities will also be adjusted to reflect the shortened duration.
“We certainly understand the impact Tropical Storm Harvey is having on your cruise plans. Should you wish to cancel and receive a future cruise credit, please call 1-800-CARNIVAL, contact your Personal Vacation Planner at 1-800-819-3902, or your travel agent.
Carnival Freedom 08/26/17 – CCL1
Carnival Valor 08/26/17 – CCL2
Carnival Breeze 08/27/17 – CCL3
“We apologize for the disruption to your vacation plans and look forward to welcoming you on board.”
Unfortunately, we think both cruise lines are being optimistic. Even if they are able to dock in Galveston today or tomorrow, torrential flooding will make it difficult — if not impossible — to safely let passengers get home.
The Houston/Galveston area has taken the brunt of the rain, with many areas receiving more than a foot of rain in the past three days.
Meanwhile, there is no sign of a let-up in the rain at this time.
3:30 P.M. 8/26/17 Update
According to an article from a Houston news website, the earliest that the Port of Galveston will re-open is Tuesday. From the article:
“Four Galveston-bound cruise ships with a combined 20,000 passengers on board are forced to remain in the Gulf of Mexico as they await Harvey’s passage, according to port officials.
“The ships likely won’t be able to make their next attempt to enter the port, which is completely closed to ship traffic, until Tuesday, according to Roger R. Quiroga with the port authority.”
Royal Caribbean has released the following statement:
“Liberty of the Seas is keeping a safe distance behind the storm and is currently making her way back to Galveston. Our intention is to keep with our original schedule return to Galveston on Sunday. However, because of the path and progression of Hurricane Harvey, the situation remains uncertain and the Port of Galveston remains closed. We ask that guests scheduled to sail on Liberty of the Seas tomorrow not proceed to the port until we let you know it is okay to do so.“
Obviously the Royal Caribbean statement and the port’s statement seem to conflict. Given the rain in the area, we are more apt to believe that it will be next week before the port reopens.
11:15 A.M. 8/26/17 Update
The following note is from the Port of Galveston:
“PARKING UPDATE: The Port of Galveston Parking Lots are NOT flooded. However, access roads to the parking lots are flooded thus it is not possible to retrieve vehicles from the lots at this time. For additional information please call 409-766-6169.”
8:15 A.M. 8/26/17 Update
Hurricane Harvey has now made landfall and decreased in intensity. Still, rain continues to be a large threat. Current tracks show the storm lingering over Texas for days to come. Most tracks show it staying well away from Galveston, but still dropping tremendous amounts of rain on the island:
The Port of Galveston remains closed to traffic.
According to the Miami Herald, both the Carnival Freedom and Carnival Valor are skipping Saturday’s return to Galveston, instead heading to New Orleans to re-supply. Passengers will be allowed to disembark in New Orleans, or stay on the ship and return to Galveston once the port re-opens.
Freedom and Valor will shorten their next trips and offer a refund for the missed days.
The Carnival Breeze and Liberty of the Seas are both hoping to return to Galveston on Sunday (their regularly scheduled itinerary). If this is the case, then it seems the Freedom and Valor won’t return until at least Sunday evening at the earliest as the ports will be full until then.
3:00 P.M. 8/25/17 Update
The following is from John Heald from Carnival:
Here is the latest news on Galveston.
Weather Update #3 – 08/25/17 – 1:00 PM (EST)
Carnival Valor and Carnival Freedom are currently keeping a safe distance from the storm as they make their way back to Galveston.
Carnival Breeze is currently docked in Cozumel depart for Galveston to be in position to debark guests when the port reopens.
The Port of Galveston is closed to all marine traffic. It is expected to remain closed until the storm has passed and a port assessment has been completed. Please do not proceed to the cruise terminal until you have heard from us.
Our intention is to dock in Galveston as soon as port officials have reopened the port. The duration of your cruise will have to be shortened and the itinerary modified. Cruise details will be finalized once we have confirmed our arrival into Galveston. Guests who sail will receive a pro-rated refund of their cruise fare for missed days and refund of any pre-purchased Carnival Adventures for canceled ports. Additionally, guests who pre-purchased any of our beverage packages will receive a pro-rated refund. Gratuities will also be adjusted to reflect the shortened duration.
We certainly understand the impact Hurricane Harvey is having on your cruise plans. Should you wish to cancel and receive a future cruise credit, please call 1-800-CARNIVAL, contact your Personal Vacation Planner at 1-800-819-3902, or your travel agent,
We continue to actively monitor the storm and will update you tomorrow at 3:00PM CDT. To stay up to date, please sign up for text alerts by texting the codes below to CRUISE (278473).
Carnival Freedom 08/26/17 – CCL1
Carnival Valor 08/26/17 – CCL2
Carnival Breeze 08/27/17 – CCL3
If you have any questions or concerns please post below and I will make sure the right people see them. Let’s hope everyone is safe and we can get the ships into port and on the way to another fun cruise soon. Stay safe everybody
2:30 P.M. 8/25/17 Update
Though not official word, some Facebook conversation says that the Carnival Valor is reportedly headed to New Orleans for supplies and will stay in the area until it’s safe to return to Galveston:
1:30 P.M. 8/25/17 Update
The Port of Galveston has now set port condition Zulu, meaning it expects gale force winds in the next 12 hours. The port is still closed to traffic.
Hurricane Harvey now has max sustained winds of 110 mph. Forecasted tracks show the storm lingering on the Texas coast for several days.
Royal Caribbean has issued the following statement:
“We are still actively monitoring path and progression of Hurricane Harvey. At this time, Liberty of the Seas will keep her original schedule for Sunday’s turnaround in Galveston, Texas. Should we make any changes to Liberty of the Sea’s itinerary, we will make sure to inform our guests.
“We will post another update on Saturday, August 26, 2017 by 12:00 PM CT.”
Carnival has yet to make any changes, however, you can monitor any updates here.
6 P.M. 8/24/17 Update
Passengers returning to Galveston or departing this weekend are being impacted by Hurricane Harvey.
The storm, which just days ago was a cluster of thunderstorms, has quickly blown up into a hurricane. It is anticipated to continue strengthening, with predictions of it turning into a major (Category 3+) in the days ahead.
Right now Hurricane Harvey is taking aim at the lower Texas coast, anticipated to make landfall near Corpus Christi. However, its rain bands will spread all the way from Mexico to Louisiana.
Once it makes landfall, the storm is also expected to stall and eventually move toward the Houston/Galveston area. During that time, there are rainfall forecasts of more than 20 inches of rain in Southeast Texas.
And even though the storm is not predicted to make landfall near Galveston, it’s already making an impact on the cruise port.
Earlier today, the Port of Galveston closed to all traffic. Here is their statement:
“On Thursday, Aug. 24 at 11:30 AM the Captain of the Port set port condition Yankee for the Port of Galveston and surrounding area, meaning that gale force winds are expected to reach Galveston within 24 hours.
“The Port remains closed to all vessel traffic and commercial activities, however all mariners are advised to take prudent actions in preparation of the approaching storm. All facility and vessel operators should continue to make heavy weather preparations to include ensuring all loose cargo, cargo equipment, and other loose items are safely secured. In addition, all vessel moorings should be reinforced.
“We urge you to stay alert and stay tuned to local weather for updates.”
This closure means that cruise ships cannot enter the port at this time. Since cruise ships return and depart the port on the weekend, it’s very likely that the schedules will be adjusted according to the storm.
On Royal Caribbean’s website, they have made the following statement:
“Liberty of the Seas is keeping a safe distance behind the storm as she making her way back to Galveston. We are actively monitoring path and progression of Hurricane Harvey and will make sure to inform our guests of any itinerary changes.”
Cruzely has not seen any official word of a change from a cruise line, just the Port of Galveston statement on the port closing.
If you are cruising on one of the ships scheduled for this weekend, you can sign up for text alerts from Carnival by texting the codes below to CRUISE (278473).
- Carnival Freedom 08/26/17 – CCL1
- Carnival Valor 08/26/17 – CCL2
- Carnival Breeze 08/27/17 – CCL3
If you are sailing on Royal Caribbean’s Liberty of the Seas, you can monitor itinerary updates here.