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TTC Special. Hurricanes: no problem for cruise liners or passengers

TTC Special. Hurricanes: no problem for cruise liners or passengers
By F. Martin

TTC Service.- The tenebrous sound of hurricane winds of Harvey, Irma and Maria have been rapidly replaced in the Caribbean by the much more pleasant purr for the regional tourism industry of the engines of large cruise ships.

In New York the Florida Caribbean Cruise Association launched a multimillion-dollar advertising campaign called “The Caribbean Is Open.”

The objective of this campaign has been to clarify that if some Caribbean ports were hit by these storms the majority of Caribbean destinations fared well in the storms. According to the Association many are open for tourists and the rest opened later.

However, the very true is that several lines including Royal Caribbean and Carnival Cruise Line have been forced to cancel holidays through the Caribbean islands due to Hurricanes. Furthermore, this latest period of tumultuous weather has also provoked large gulps of concern in cruise passengers.

But the terrible season of tropical storms in 2017 has already ended and the cruise companies are back in businesses… until next year at the same time.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) officially labels the Caribbean hurricane season as lasting from June 1 through November 30, with the worst storms usually occurring during September and October.

However, neither the tourism industry of the Caribbean nor any of those participating in it, including cruises, should forget some experiences left by the 2017 season. Perhaps the first of these experiences is that the growing consequences of global warming must be monitored more than ever before. One of the reasons is that Hurricanes have become more difficult to forecast. After Hurricane Sandy in 2012, the season of 2013 was predicted to be particularly nasty, but not a single major hurricane surfaced.

Today more and more experts warn that it’s tough to know when a hurricane will hit, but it’s easier to guess where. The dividing line between the Caribbean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean is the most common path for hurricanes. While there is no such thing as a hurricane-free island in the Caribbean, the Bahamas and the British Virgin Islands are often the hardest hit, whereas southern Caribbean ports like the ABC islands (Aruba, Bonaire, and Curacao) are usually out of the way of most major storms, the experts added.

The cruise lines already seem ready to dodge the eventualities of the climate. In 2017, Harvey closed the Port of Galveston for a full week, cancelling a number of cruises and “stranding” four ships and nearly 20,000 passengers at sea.

“If you’re cruising from the east coast or gulf coast of the US during hurricane season, you’ll want to stay in touch with your cruise line to make sure you’re aware of any impacts to your cruise. Keep in mind that conditions can change rapidly and final decisions about port operations or itinerary changes may not be made until very close in to the departure”, recommended an expert advice on Internet tips.

An “angel protector” of cruises is technology. Thanks to highly advanced storm-tracking radars, ships are alerted long before they encounter a storm. Cruise ships move about twice as fast as the storms themselves, so the vessels can either outrun the storms or simply go around storm cells.

If you buy a ticket for a cruise ship traveling through the Caribbean in the cyclone season you will have nothing to fear.

You will not face a shipwreck. Just maybe a refund of your money or a change of departure dates.