Breaking- Blizzard bearing down on cruise ports, delay announced

Strong winds and heavy snow closing in on the United States East coast promise to alter the travel plans of guests booked on sailings the first part of the week. Already, one delay has been reported and cruise lines are keeping a close eye on the storm and it’s effect on ships and airline schedules.

Carnival Fantasy’s arrival in Charleston, South Carolina, normally at 8 a.m. EST, “will be delayed by several hours due to inclement offshore weather” reports WCSC- TV news in Charleston. Embarking guests have been advised to arrive at the cruise port after 1:30 p.m. EST.

While no other ship delays have been announced so far, several other ships are scheduled to sail today. Norwegian Jewel sailing from New York should sail at 4 p.m. EST and Carnival Pride from Baltimore is scheduled to sail at 4:30 p.m. EST. No delays on those ships have been reported yet.

Delays to airline schedules for passengers both arriving and departing U.S. East coast airports servicing cruise passengers could cause modification of itineraries later in the day. During a major weather event, cruise lines sometimes hold sail-away, departing later than normal, to allow extra time for embarking guests to get to the ship.

This weather event prompts review of some important tips about cruise vacations:

  • Always arrive early to the city where your embarkation port is located, a day early in the Winter is a good idea just for this reason.
  • This weather event, which could cause cruise passengers to miss flights or the departure of a ship is also a really good reason to buy travel insurance that includes coverage for disruption of travel plans to or from the port.
  • Should travel plans be disrupted, those who booked using a travel agent may have an advantage over those who booked online.

Flickr photo by nesnet

Cruises from Baltimore sailing year-round

Royal Caribbean, the cruise line that brought us the largest cruise ships in the world is sailing from Baltimore sailing year-round.

Offering a series of five and nine-night sailings, 2,252 passenger Enchantment of the Seas replaced 1,950-passenger Grandeur of the Seas. Initial five-night sailings to Bermuda will featured an overnight stay at Kings Wharf. Nine-night sailings to the Eastern Caribbean will call in San Juan, Puerto Rico; Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas; Samana, Dominican Republic and Labadee, Haiti; the line’s private beach destination.

Sailing year-round from Baltimore since 2009, Carnival Cruise Line’s Carnival Pride offers a seven-night itinerary to Florida and the Bahamas with stops at Port Canaveral, Florida then Nassau and Freeport in the Bahamas with three days at sea.

That’s more good news for the Port of Baltimore who recently set a new cruise passenger record for the port for the second year in a row. The future looks bright too with an anticipated 112 sailings scheduled in 2011, up from 91 in 2010.

Flickr photo by timmenzies