Disney Cruise Line and Its Ports of Call LIVE! Guidebook
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Following historic hurricane seasons in recent years, we can’t blame you for thinking long and hard about whether a major storm will affect your vacation. However, we were at sea for three and a half weeks during the now-legendary 2005 season, and the impact was far less than you might expect. In the Eastern Pacific, a storm near Baja, California forced the Disney Magic to bypass Cabo San Lucas, and we visited Manzanillo instead. The rest of our two-week Panama Canal journey was smooth sailing, although in the Northern Gulf of Mexico, Hurricane Katrina was doing its worst. On a Western Caribbean cruise in June, our ship changed the order of its port visits and dashed to dodge a storm near Cuba. Other cruisers didn’t do as well. Port Canaveral closed for several days, with embarkation/debarkation delayed and relocated to Fort Lauderdale (Disney bused cruisers there and back). Another time, the Disney Magic and Wonder huddled together in Galveston, Texas, dodging a storm. Most important is that the passengers and ships were kept safe. In August 2017, the Fantasy skipped its Cozumel visit to avoid a potential tropical cyclone in the area, and later in the same month reversed the orders of its ports to avoid Hurricane Harvey. Disney is also donating $1 million dollars to relief for Hurricane Harvey recovery efforts. In early September 2017 during Hurricane Irma, Disney shortened the underway sailings for both the Disney Dream and the Disney Fantasy and cancelled three upcoming sailings. This allowed all passengers to return safely to Port Canaveral and meant the Captains could keep the ships a safe distance.
Modern mariners have plenty of warning about storms and are quite adept at keeping their passengers safe. We all hope for risk-free journeys, but it helps to prepare yourself mentally for the chance that all may not go as planned. When compared to the dangers of bygone eras, we’re way ahead of the game. One thing we won’t do is dissuade you from taking a hurricane-season cruise. After unexpectedly cold, icy, soggy, or scorching vacations on land, there’s something to be said for a trip where you can lift anchor and head for fair weather. We’d rather be “stuck” on a cruise ship with all its facilities than be holed up in a motel room playing endless hands of cards, even if the ship’s decks heave occasionally.
Unfortunately, we have more stormy weather in our future. Atlantic hurricanes follow roughly 25-year cycles of above- and below-average activity, and we’re about halfway through an up cycle. The National Weather Service releases its annual Atlantic storm outlook in May (see http://www.nhc.noaa.gov), in which they predict an above-normal hurricane season. Forecasters predict a weak or non-existent El Nino, near- or above-average sea-surface temperatures across the tropical Atlantic Ocean and Caribbean Sea, and average or weaker-than-average vertical wind shear in that same region
There’s not much you can do to prepare for a stormy voyage. Try out seasickness medication in advance if you’re susceptible and bring it with you (see page 564). Vacation insurance may add peace of mind, but insurance is typically more useful for your journey to and from the cruise ship than for the voyage itself. Disney Cruise Line has to put passenger safety first, and the company is not obligated to “make good” weather-related changes, but they have an admirable record of delivering passenger satisfaction, even in such difficult cases.
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You are viewing page 56, which is section 18 of chapter 2 of PassPorter's Disney Cruise Line guidebook.
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