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Tropical Storm Tomas causes cruise ship itinerary changes

November 5, 2010

As Tomas moves towards Jamaica and Haiti, and threatens other islands in the Carribean, cruise ships are changing their itineraries in order to avoid threats to passenger safety. Jamaica is still under hurricane watch, and watches and warnings have now been issued in Haiti, Cuba, the Dominican Republic and the Bahamas.

The National Hurricane Center is reporting that T.S. Tomas is now located 125 miles south-southeast of Kingston Jamaica, and 295 miles west- southwest of Port-au-Prince, Haiti. Winds are now at 45 miles per hour moving north at eight miles per hour, with a north-northeast turn expected over the next 48 hours. The storm could eventually regain strength and become a hurricane once again. The National Hurricane center has also reported that water levels will raise and the storm will cause large and destructive winds. Furthermore, 5 to 10 inches of rain are expected along with possible flash floods and mudslides.

The storm has already caused injuries, fatalities, downed power lines, and damages in Barbados, St. Vincent, and St. Lucia. In St. Lucia, there have been 14 fatalities, seven people are missing and there is an estimated $37 million in damage on the island.

The U.S. Department of State issued a travel alert for Haiti, which houses Royal Caribbean’s private island of Labadee, since storms have caused widespread damages and loss in the past.

Rough seas can result in cruise ship passenger injuries. Several cruise lines have altered their ship itineraries:

Princess Cruises’ Caribbean Princess, which was scheduled to visit St. Lucia on Thursday, will no longer be able to call there.

Grand Princess’ scheduled calls to the Dominican Republic on Friday, November 5 and to Grand Turk on Saturday, November 6 have both been cancelled. A visit to San Juan on Friday has been added to the ships itinerary.

Ruby Princess will no longer call in Grand Turk on Friday, November 5. Th ship will take a longer southerly route in order to avoid Tomas, but is expected to arrive in Fort Lauderdale on time.

Silversea Cruises’ Silver Spirit, which was scheduled to visit St. Lucia on Friday, will call in Roseau, Dominica.

Carnival Miracle, which was scheduled to dock in St. Lucia on Saturday and St. Kitts on Sunday, instead spent the weekend at sea. To compensate, it stopped in Grand Turk on Monday and Nassau on Tuesday.

Carnival Victory, which was scheduled to stop in St. Lucia on Thursday, November 4, will now spend the day at sea.

Carnival Freedom’s scheduled call to Ocho Rios on Thursday, November 4, is being replaced with a visit to Cozumel.

Freedom of the Seas replaced yesterday’s sea day with a visit to CocoCay, and instead of calling in Labadee today the ship will remain at sea.

Serenade of the Seas departed from San Juan for a Southern Caribbean cruise on Sunday, and rather than calling on Curacao, Aruba and Dominica, the ship will now visit Barbados, Antigua, St. Maarten and St. Thomas.

P&O’s Ventura will skip its scheduled call in St. Lucia tomorrow, and will instead call in Dominica.

Celebrity Millenium will no longer call on St. Lucia on Friday, November 5, but will instead visit Martinique.

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