Cruise Ship in Rough Seas

11 Mistakes People Make When Cruising During Hurricane Season

Cruising during hurricane season can be risky since the weather can be unpredictable. But that doesn’t mean that you should avoid cruising during this time. In fact, you might even snag some great deals and enjoy perfect weather! That said, be aware of the risks and take extra precautions. Here are some mistakes that people often make when cruising during hurricane season. I’m also sharing my travel loyalty program tracker as a free printable below.

When is Hurricane Season?

The hurricane season is from June 1 to November 30 and peaks in August and September when tropical storms and hurricanes hit the Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico. The number of hurricanes and tropical storms varies each year, but on average, 12 tropical storms, 6 of which become hurricanes, form over the Atlantic Ocean, Caribbean Sea, or Gulf of Mexico during the hurricane season. 

Unfortunately, last year was an exception as the El Niño caused 20 named storms, out of which 7 were hurricanes and 3 were major hurricanes. Typically, the U.S. coastline experiences an average of 3 hurricanes, 1 of which falls in the category of a major hurricane over a period of 2 years.

Pacific Ocean cruises are also vulnerable to hurricanes. The Central Pacific Ocean sees around 3 tropical storms, 2 of which graduate to hurricanes, during the hurricane season that runs from June 1 to November 30 each year. Guam, the Northern Marianas, and Micronesia experience typhoons all year round. However, the peak season for typhoons is from July through November with the highest frequency from mid-August to mid-September.

Cruise during hurricane season

Mistakes People Make When Cruising During Hurrican Season

1. Not Buying Travel Insurance

Not buying travel insurance is a big mistake when you’re cruising during the hurricane season. You’re taking a risk and a lot can go wrong if you cruise during hurricane season.

Even if there is a hurricane, cruises rarely get canceled. They’ll usually reroute the itinerary, so the ship sails in calmer waters, or there might be a delay. This means you can’t just cancel your cruise because you’re afraid of a big hurricane and expect reimbursement. 

The best thing to do is to upgrade to travel insurance policies with “Cancel for Any Reason” coverage (CFAR). This means you can cancel your cruise and get reimbursement for any reason before going on your cruise. If you get scared of a potential hurricane and decide not to go on your cruise, you can cancel it! 

But do note that CFAR coverage is typically 40% more expensive than the base travel insurance premium. I always get the CFAR coverage because the peace of mind it provides is worth the additional cost.

Do know that you have to buy your travel insurance early, usually within two weeks of booking, since you can’t just buy it when you hear the news of an approaching hurricane. By that time, it’ll be too late to buy travel insurance.

2. Setting Your Heart on a Cruise Port

When you’re planning a cruise during Hurricane season, it’s important not to pin your hopes on visiting a particular port. You’re setting yourself up for disappointment. 

Suppose you’re looking forward to seeing a specific cruise port. It’s not a good idea to do so during Hurricane season because cruise ships often have to change their routes or even cancel ports if it’s not safe. 

I’ve been on several Caribbean cruises where they canceled the visit to Coco Cay, Norwegian Cruise Line’s private island, because of high winds. When this happens, cruise ships usually reroute to calmer waters and sail to an alternate port. If that’s not possible, they may just skip a port and add an extra sea day. 

And don’t expect compensation for the missed ports. Most cruise lines have the right to change the itinerary without any obligation to compensate passengers.

3. Not Researching 

Before booking your cruise, you should do some research on the hurricane forecast for the year so you can best choose your itinerary based on the forecast. 

For now, NOAA predicts a La Niña for 2024. Last year was an El Niño year, if a La Niña does develop, history indicates that the western Caribbean Sea and Gulf of Mexico will be at a higher risk this year than last year. Based on current forecast, I’d avoid Western Caribbean and Mexico cruises for the 2024 hurricane season but again, things can change!

4. Not Flexible

You have to be flexible when you are going on a cruise during hurricane season. Do know that it’s risky; there could be delays, you might leave later than planned. Your cruise can get cut short and you might end up coming back early. Even if there is no hurricane, the weather can be unpredictable. Rainy days are a reality, and it’s important to be prepared for them. 

5. Not Checking the Weather Forecast

If you are planning to go on a cruise during hurricane season, it’s important to keep yourself updated with the weather forecast. Keep a close watch on the weather updates as small storms can escalate into hurricanes in a matter of days. 

Plus, make sure to check with your cruise line for the latest information on any delays before boarding. It’s smart to sign up for text alerts from your cruise ship so that you can receive timely updates about your cruise.

Cruise during hurricane season

6. Fly in the Night Before

It’s always a good idea to arrive at the cruise port the night before a cruise. If you fly on the day of cruise ship embarkation, you run the risk of missing your ship due to flight delays and cancellations. 

This is especially important during hurricane season when the likelihood of delays and cancellations is much higher. To avoid any potential issues, it’s best to plan ahead and arrive the night before your cruise.

7. Wrong Expectations

If you’re cruising during hurricane season, you’ve got to adjust your expectations. There is a chance that your expectation of a sunny, beach vacation might not come true. 

It might be raining and dreary weather throughout your cruise. You might not be able to spend that relaxing day by the beach or be lounging pool side by the pool. Instead, there is a chance that day at the beach is cancelled, you are stuck indoors instead. 

8. Shore Excursions

One common mistake that people make when cruising during the hurricane season is that they don’t check their shore excursion cancellation policy. There is a high chance that your ship’s itinerary will change abruptly, and you may not be able to visit a planned cruise port as scheduled. 

When that happens, you may end up losing your booked shore excursion because you cannot cancel it for a no-show. Plus, there may be instances where you may not want to go to the beach to do your shore excursion even if it’s not canceled. For example, I once booked a shore excursion to go snorkeling but I ended not wanting to go because it was a dreary, rainy day but it wasn’t canceled so I lost my shore excursion.

It’s best not to reserve shore excursions when cruising during the hurricane season. Instead, play things by ear so that you are not commited to any shore excursions.

9. Booking the Wrong Cabin

If you’re planning to cruise during hurricane season, it’s important to keep in mind that you may encounter strong winds and rough seas. To avoid excessive swaying, it’s important to choose your cabin location wisely. 

Cabins located at the front or back of the ship are more prone to rocking, so it’s best to avoid them. Instead, choose mid-ship cabins, which are less susceptible to the effects of choppy waters. Booking a mid-ship cabin will ensure that you have a more comfortable and stable experience on your cruise. Check out my article on the worst cabins to book on a cruise that you’ll regret. 

10. Buying a Drink Package

When cruising during hurricane season, one common mistake is to buy the drink package. But if you are prone to seasickness, it’s best to avoid buying the cruise beverage package. 

Drinking alcohol can worsen your seasick symptoms, and caffeine also has the potential to make things worse. You might end up wasting your money if you’re feeling sick and not drinking enough to make the beverage package worthwhile. Check out my article on Reasons Why Cruise ship beverage packages are a waste of money. 

11. Not Being Ready for Seasickness

You should be prepared for the worst when you are cruising during hurricane season. Even if there is no hurricane, you might be sailing in high winds, bad weather and choppy waters. Weather can be unpredictable. Just know it might not be smooth sailing. 

Even if you’re not prone to seasickness you should still be prepared. Make sure you bring anti-seasickness medicine and take extra precautions to prepare for seasickness. For more tips on how to cruise without feeling seasick, check out my article.

Free Loyalty Program Tracker

Get Your Free Travel Loyalty Program Tracker

Sign up once and you will get access to ALL exclusive content on this website. After unlocking the printable, just save the printable image and then print it. Use it to keep track of all the loyalty numbers and passwords of various cruise, airline and hotel loyalty programs. I hope you like it!

Cruise Loyalty Program Tracker

Check out these cruise packing lists with free printables

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