Update (11/8/22 @ 6 p.m. Eastern): Carnival Cruise Line has updated the following itineraries based on the storm:
- Carnival Elation – The ship cancelled its call on Princess Cays today and is visiting Freeport instead. It will resume its course to Jacksonville and will remain safely behind the storm.
- Carnival Liberty – The ship cancelled its calls on Nassau and Princess Cays in The Bahamas and will be visiting Cozumel, Mexico, on Wednesday. It will resume its course to Port Canaveral and will remain safely behind the storm.
- Carnival Sunrise – The ship is visiting Grand Turk today. It will resume its course to Miami and will remain safely behind the storm.
The cruise line says other itineraries are being watched due to Nicole. You can see the latest Carnival updates here.
Royal Caribbean, Disney, and other cruise lines we’ve checked have yet to post any official updates to their schedules due to the storm. However, if you are on a trip that could be impacted then the cruise line will be in touch if anything does change.
Hurricane season officially runs from June through November, but you’d be forgiven if you stop giving it much thought once the season shifts from summer into fall.
But Mother Nature can have other plans. Case in point: A new tropical system has developed in the Atlantic, with its center located about 600 hundred miles due east of West Palm Beach, Florida. This system with 45 mile per hour sustained winds has been named Subtropical Storm Nicole.
And while the classic image of a hurricane or tropical storm is a tightly circulating storm barreling through the ocean, this system is much more disorganized. The latest satellite images show a wide-reaching spread of clouds and thunderstorms, meaning that its effects will likely be felt even far from the center of circulation.
The official forecasts show the storm continuing to strengthen, reaching hurricane status on Wednesday as it moves to the west and making landfall in Florida sometime on Wednesday night or Thursday morning. From there, it will cross the state into the Gulf of Mexico before making a sharp right turn and then tracking up the coast of Georgia and the Carolinas.
Judging from the forecasted path and the size of the storm, it appears nearly the entire state of Florida will feel at least some impact.
If there is good news, Nicole looks to be nowhere near the strength and intensity that was seen with Hurricane Ian when it hit Florida roughly six weeks ago.
Possible Impact of Nicole on Cruises
So how will Nicole impact cruises? As of now the specific impacts aren’t known, but it seems likely that some cruises will have to be adjusted in the coming days.
First, the storm covers a wide area meaning a number of ports will see its effects. It’s also heading right toward The Bahamas, which features a number of popular cruise ports including Nassau, NCL’s Great Stirrup Cay, and Royal Caribbean’s CocoCay. In fact, these areas are currently under a hurricane watch as of the latest forecast.
From there, it looks to have an impact on cruise ports ranging from Miami to Port Everglades to Port Canaveral. These three ports are the busiest cruise ports in the United States.
One piece of good news is that the timing of the storm shows it reaching the Florida coast during the middle of the week — a much slower time for cruise departures than the busier weekend times.
Still, those ships at sea during the time that Nicole arrives could have to change course or itineraries because of the storm. The biggest impact will likely be ocean swells created by the storm.
“It is going to churn up swell between Cape Hatteras, north of The Bahamas, the Gulf Stream east of Florida, and I think the worst part of that will be on Wednesday in the middle of the week,” said Royal Caribbean’s Chief Meteorologist James Van Fleet in a video update posted on YouTube.
He then went on to explain that the waves generated by the storm could be up to 28 feet in some cases and that the cruise line won’t sail through that sort of weather.
“So yes, if that’s an area you would voyage through, we’re going to need to make some changes this week,” Van Fleet added.
Your Cruise Line Will Have the Latest Updates
Again, as of now we know of no specific changes to sailings or itineraries that have been announced just yet. However, given the path of Nicole, it seems likely that some adjustments will need to be made in the coming day or two so stay tuned.
If you have a cruise from Florida this week or scheduled ports of call in The Bahamas, then your cruise line will let you know of any changes to the schedule. For now, however, it is a good idea to be prepared that some adjustments might be coming your way.