The Australian Government had a few warnings for any US travellers last week, and now there’s been some updates from Royal Caribbean on the cancelled and adjusted ship itineraries.
Royal Caribbean announced it has cancelled the September 13 sailing of Empress of the Seas sailing to Cuba due to Hurricane Irma.
Royal Caribbean decided to cancel this sailing, along with the September 15 Majesty of the Seas sailing, to utilise the ship for humanitarian efforts in areas of the Caribbean with urgent need. Empress of the Seas and Enchantment of the Seas are ready to assist Key West and Tampa once the impact of the storm is known.
— Travel – State Dept (@TravelGov) September 10, 2017
For both the Empress sailing on 13/9 and the Majesty sailing on 15/9, the cruise fare and fees will be 100 per cent refunded to the original form of payment, and Royal Caribbean is also offering a 25 per cent future cruise credit, based on the cruise fare, if a new cruise is booked in the next 30 days.
Hurricane Irma is a category 4 storm with sustained winds of 130 mph. The eye of the storm is currently moving through the Keys and is moving northwest. The storm should exit the Florida area late Monday, pre-dawn Tuesday.
Royal Caribbean also announced that Oasis of the Seas’ next sailing will be delayed by one additional day, and will now sail on Wednesday, September 13, US time.
Oasis of the Seas had been scheduled to sail on September 10, but Hurricane Irma has forced Royal Caribbean to keep the ship at sea to avoid the storm. As a result of the delay, Oasis will sail a 4-night itinerary to Cozumel instead.
Guests scheduled to sail on the shorted sailing will have an increased refund of 50 per cent of their cruise fare paid in the form of a refundable onboard credit, as well as an additional 50 per centfuture cruise credit.
In addition to customer adjustments, a Royal Caribbean rep revealed over the weekend that one of its unused ships has also been deployed to assist any employees and their families with nowhere to go to avoid the Hurricane.
They were being invited to come onboard so the ship could then sail out to calmer waters and help them avoid the storm safely.
In the meantime, more than 7000 flights in and out of Florida have been cancelled, including international flights from places like Doha and London, according to NBC.
Airlines have also cut around 3000 other flights as a result of the Hurricane Irma, which is battering the US as we speak.
— Bryan Bennett (@weatherbryan) September 10, 2017
According to Twitter, on Friday, a lone Delta Airlines flight from New York to Puerto Rico took on Irma, trying to race it to its destination, despite all other flights in the area being canned.
The flight made it safely, before turning around at lightening speed and heading back to New York. Brave!
You really want to fly into SJU during a category 5 hurricane, DL431?
Everyone else has turned around. pic.twitter.com/nHdChvYh2Y
— Jason Rabinowitz (@AirlineFlyer) September 6, 2017
The hurricane was downgraded to a Category 2 hurricane with winds of 177km/h as it approached Florida, after slamming across islands in the northern Caribbean region.