Cruise ship during Hurricane season

I Took a Cruise During Hurricane Season, This is What It’s Really Like

Are you going on a cruise during hurricane season? If so, you need to read this! I just came back from a Bahamas cruise during hurricane season—here’s my experience of what it was really like. 

When Is Hurricane Season?

Hurricane season is officially from June 1 to November 30 every year. It primarily affects Caribbean, Mexico, and the Bahamas cruises. It also affects New England/Canada cruises since the cruise ships sail in the Atlantic Ocean. 

Expect Rainy Weather

When you go on a cruise during hurricane season, be ready for rainy weather. For example, during my recent MSC Bahamas cruise, while we were in Nassau, we encountered a heavy downpour!  

Luckily, I had anticipated bad weather, so we hadn’t booked any shore excursions. Instead, we took it easy, did some shopping downtown, and then got rained out.  

We were prepared and had packed umbrellas! To avoid disappointment, adjust your expectations and anticipate encountering rainy weather during your cruise.

My cruise only had three ports of call: Port Canaveral (Florida), Nassau (Bahamas), and Ocean Cay (private island). We were rained out at one of the ports, so I experienced a 33% chance of bad weather during our cruise! It could have been worse- I’d call myself lucky with these statistics!

What It’s like to Cruise During Hurricane Season

Cruise Ship Will Skip Ports of Call

Don’t be surprised if your cruise ship skips a port. Itinerary changes during hurricane season are common. The captain will divert your cruise ship’s route to keep you safe. Typically you will be onboard the ship when the captain announces this change! So don’t be surprised if this is a last-minute change.  

Luckily when I went on my Bahamas cruise, we didn’t encounter any storms, so we were able to visit all our planned ports of call. However, not all cruises are as lucky. There have been many cruise itinerary changes recently due to Hurricane Beryl, which is looking like an intense category 4 storm. 

For example, Norwegian Jade changed its itinerary. Instead of sailing the original western Caribbean route, it’s diverting to the Eastern Caribbean. It will skip Jamaica, Grand Cayman, and Cozumel and instead change course and visit San Juan, Tortola, and Puerto Plata (Dominican Republic).

The same thing has happened with the Norwegian Breakaway. Due to Hurricane Beryl, it has changed its route. Every port of call has changed, instead of sailing to Roatan (Honduras), Harvest Caye (Belize), Costa Maya (Mexico), and Cozumel (Mexico), it will visit Puerto Plata (Dominican Republic), St. Thomas, Tortola, and Great Stirrup Cay instead.

Sometimes, you get lucky, and the cruise line will change the route to avoid the hurricane and still stop at all the planned ports of call, but in a different order. That’s exactly what’s happening to Carnival Liberty, and Celebrity Beyond where they have changed their route to circumvent the hurricane. Lucky for the passengers, they are still planning to sail to all ports of call but in reverse order. 

What It’s like to Cruise During Hurricane Season

Get Ready for Rough Seas

If you are cruising during hurricane season, be prepared for rough seas! If you happen to be going on a cruise when there is a storm brewing or a storm approaching, you should expect the cruise ship to encounter rough seas. This can happen not only in the Caribbean and Mexico but also while sailing on the Atlantic Ocean toward the Caribbean.  

During my Bahamas cruise, we departed from my homeport in New York. I was bracing myself for rough seas since it was hurricane season.

Of course, it’s hit or miss. You can get lucky sometimes. In my case, on the first day of the cruise, when we were sailing on the Atlantic Ocean, I was expecting rough seas, but luckily, it was smooth sailing the entire time.

My advice to you is to always be prepared. Book a mid-ship cabin location for the most stable experience in case of rough seas. If you’re prone to seasickness, have anti-seasick medication on hand.

I was very prepared during my recent Bahamas cruise- I stayed in a mid-ship balcony cabin and took anti-seasick medication on our first day sailing from New York to the Bahamas (the medication takes time to kick in, I took one just in case the sea got rough). Luckily, we didn’t encounter rough seas!

I haven’t always been this lucky. I once went on a New England/Canada cruise out of New York during Hurricane season, and it was traumatic! I was late in taking anti-seasickness medication, so my seasickness spiraled out of control. I got so sick that I couldn’t even get out of bed! Check out: Cruise without Seasickness: Genius Tricks You Need to Know

Be Thankful for Sunny Weather

When cruising during hurricane season, it’s common for rainy weather and overcast days. So, if you encounter sunny weather, appreciate it and make the most of it while it lasts!

If it’s a sunny day at sea, head to the pool to take advantage of the good weather since you never know how long it will last!

The same goes for when you’re at port—if it’s sunny, make it a beach day. Don’t take it for granted! But do be prepared because the weather can turn rainy at any moment! Bring umbrellas, ponchos and manage everyone’s expectations to avoid disappointment! Check out: It’s Hurricane Season, How to Keep Bad Weather from Ruining Your Cruise Vacation

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