Tropical Storm Forces Icon of the Seas to Change Itinerary (2024)

With a tropical depression brewing and moving toward the Caribbean, cruise lines are likely to need to make itinerary changes in the coming week to stay clear of rough waves and strong winds.

Royal Caribbean International is now the first to make such changes, switching Icon of the Seas‘ complete itinerary to keep out of the storm’s path.

Icon of the Seas was scheduled to depart from Miami, Florida on Saturday, June 29, 2024 on an Eastern Caribbean sailing that would bring the 248,663-gross-ton vessel uncomfortably close to the storm’s projected track. Instead, the cruise line has reached out to guests the evening before embarkation to inform them of a complete itinerary change.

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“Our Chief Meteorologist, Craig Setzer, along with the National Hurricane Center, are tracking a system expected to become Tropical Storm Beryl heading into the Caribbean early next week,” the notification email explained. “As we’re monitoring the inclement weather around our intended path and are expecting high waves and strong winds, we’ve modified our itinerary to provide you with the most enjoyable sailing.”

Instead of visiting St. Maarten and St. Thomas as planned, the ship will now visit Cozumel and Costa Maya in Mexico. The call to Royal Caribbean’s private island destination in the Bahamas, Perfect Day at CocoCay, remains the same and even on the same day – Friday, July 5, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. By that time, the storm is projected to be well past the area.

The new itinerary features a full day at sea on Sunday, visiting Cozumel from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Monday, another day at sea on Tuesday, Costa Maya from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Wednesday, a sea day on Thursday, CocoCay on Friday, and an on-time return to Miami on Saturday, July 6.

Pre-booked shore tours through Royal Caribbean International for St. Maarten and St. Thomas will be automatically cancelled and refunded, and guests can book excursions for Cozumel and Costa Maya onboard.

“We’re terribly sorry for the last-minute change caused by the weather – your safety is our top priority. Please know, being onboard is one of the safest places because we are faster and can move out of the way of any inclement weather,” the notification reads.

The area of tropical development only formed into a tropical depression on Friday, but the National Hurricane Center (NHC) predicts that further development will lead to a hurricane by the early hours of Monday morning, likely east of the Lesser Antilles. Of course, the storm’s impact could be felt some distance away from its center.

As of Friday evening, the storm’s center is located roughly 1,300 miles east of Barbados, moving west at 17 miles per hour. The maximum sustained winds are 35 miles per hour, but the storm is expected to continue strengthening in the coming days. Once the system becomes an official tropical storm, she will be named Beryl.

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The first official tropical storm of the season, Alberto, affected Galveston earlier this month, but never developed into a hurricane and did not cause any significant impact to cruise ships in the region.

It is interesting to note that this storm has formed further east than is typical at this time of year, which may give the storm more time to strengthen before it reaches land.

“Development this far east in late June is unusual, in fact, there have only been a few storms in history that have formed over the central or eastern tropical Atlantic this early in the year,” the discussion from NHC Forecaster Cangialosi explains.

“Typically, the atmospheric environment is unfavorable for intensification in this portion of the Atlantic basin in late June. However, the overall atmospheric and oceanic conditions appear conducive for steady strengthening during the next few days.”

These conditions are in line with the busier-than-usual hurricane season predicted for 2024.

Other Cruises May Be Impacted

Undoubtedly, other sailings in the eastern or southern Caribbean will also see itinerary changes over the next few days. Next week, destinations like Jamaica and the Cayman Islands are also likely to be impacted, and by the end of the week, Cozumel, Belize, and other nearby ports may also see the storm’s effects.

Read Also: How a Hurricane Could Affect Your Cruise

Any cruisers with sailings over the next week should stay in close communication with their cruise line about potential itinerary changes, delays, or other adjustments, and remain flexible with their plans to enjoy their cruise vacation, no matter where it sails during hurricane season.

Tropical Storm Forces Icon of the Seas to Change Itinerary (2024)
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