Jump to content
Cruise Critic Community
tce40

Any misgivings about cruising the Caribbean in October, November re: hurricanes?

Recommended Posts

I'm eyeing a cruise the last week of October, first of November this year leaving Ft. Lauderdale and heading down to the ABC islands.  Does anyone worry about the weather or do you just take out travel insurance that covers cancellations?  I'd love to hear from folks that book at that time of year and hopefully it can help me make up my mind!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
27 minutes ago, tce40 said:

I'm eyeing a cruise the last week of October, first of November this year leaving Ft. Lauderdale and heading down to the ABC islands.  Does anyone worry about the weather or do you just take out travel insurance that covers cancellations?  I'd love to hear from folks that book at that time of year and hopefully it can help me make up my mind!

We have regularly and am actually contemplating a cruise next year over Halloween.

 

First off, we can drive to Ft Lauderdale from our home town also located in Florida

 

Second off we have been on the Eastern and Western Caribbean runs so many times that we are flexible and can adjust if a booked Eastern Caribbean run turns into a Western Caribbean run.  For these type of cruises we don't in general book excursions either through the cruise line or on our own.  We have found local restaurants and bars that we like to relax  at, or perhaps hire a taxi to take us to a beach.

 

Now if you have your heart set to visit a particular island to check off a bucket list item, then you perhaps should consider a different time of year.

 

Also, if you are flying in, and perhaps doing a pre or post cruise stay, then you may want to buy insurance.  This gets tricky, though, about cost/benefit.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)

Our first cruise was a 7 day eastern Caribbean, during October. We took a chance and ended up sailing during an active hurricane season. Our itinerary was rerouted due to Hurricane Otto, a minor hurricane. San Juan was unbearably muggy. In St. Thomas, we were allowed to get off the ship, but told to stay in the port area because we might have to leave early. All excursions were cancelled and there were few taxis in port. Our last stop, St. Maaarten, the dock was under water, so we ended up in Jamaica. There were lots of pouty faces on that cruise. The seas were moderately rough, but we didn't really know any better.  

 

Two years ago, we had to cancel our spring cruise and rescheduled for Thanksgiving week. It was an extremely active hurricane season with Irma and Maria. By the time we left on our cruise, our itinerary had been revised 4 or 5 times. Out of 5 ports, only 1, Barbados, remained on our itinerary. 

 

Travel insurance doesn't usually cover cancellations due to weather. And final payment is 3 months out now. The ABC islands are south of the hurricane belt, but you still have to get there from Port Everglades. How upset would you be if your itinerary was revised? Will you fly into FLL a day or two early, just in case foul weather messes with your flight schedule? 

 

Edited by Marelaine

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)

I would fly in earlier but I'm thinking....maybe not the best idea!  I wanted to take a cruise this fall but it looks like I may be back on a ship in the spring.  Shoot!  😞  Thank you both for answering!

Edited by tce40

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have cruised during hurricane season in the Caribbean more times than I can count including one during Sandy, where we only missed one port, and another time where we were allowed to change our flights because Ft Lauderdale was closed several days before our sailing.  All other cruises have not been impacted at all.  Just about any time of the year flights can be impacted by the weather in some way and as we have to fly to 95% of cruise ports, we are always in risk of something happening.

I always plan on arriving one or two days prior to departure, so I just don't worry and travel when I want.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We have cruised for many years late October/pre-Thanksgiving and never have had any issues.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We are cruising for 10 days on Equinox in September.   Fingers crossed.

 

We've cruised early November without and probs 🌴😎

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

ABC islands are beautiful, and below hurricane belt.  Stop worrying.  Have done fall Caribbean sailings for 25 years.  Never had a weather problem.  More concerned about snow risk in winter.  Cruise lines know how to steer around storms.  As has been suggested start your vacation early and get to embarkation port a day ahead.  Treat the hotel bill as travel insurance.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
43 minutes ago, tce40 said:

I would fly in earlier but I'm thinking....maybe not the best idea!  I wanted to take a cruise this fall but it looks like I may be back on a ship in the spring.  Shoot!  😞  Thank you both for answering!

Maybe you have answered the basic question which is can you roll with the punches?

 I have lived in hurricane territory for 30 years now, chances are you will cruise during hurricane season with no problems. The most likely occurrence is that a port gets changed because it has too much damage or the ship needs to reroute for some other reason. Next most likely would be some rough water, because a hurricane can affect the water in the entire Caribbean or Gulf. Finally, your trip could be cancelled or rescheduled because the storm is coming to Fll or Miami. I would think if that was the case the cruise line would have to cancel and reschedule everyone. 

We go to the beach during hurricane season every year now because that is the best time to go, while that isn’t completely true for the Caribbean, I wouldn’t let hurricanes stop me.

 

Now if you have a long way to travel, can’t come in a day ahead or have a very inflexible work schedule so if the worst comes... maybe go at another time.

I did think though you could get trip cancellation insurance that would cover hurricanes at least if the cruise had to be completely cancelled - not just a port change

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm not ruling it out yet.  The cruise works for my fall schedule and yes, if something changes, I'll roll with it!  :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, tce40 said:

I'm not ruling it out yet.  The cruise works for my fall schedule and yes, if something changes, I'll roll with it!  🙂

We have cruised the caribbean 21 times between October and November and have not, knock knock, had major issues.  That said, we always come in a day or two in advance (more for peace of mind than anything else) and have purchased trip insurance on at least the last 10 cruises (flying from New Jersey).  Not to say we haven't had some deviations.  Mitch in 1998 moved our west caribbean to the east caribbean; Wilma in 2005 hung over Cozumel for a week giving us time to get out of FLL on time, but then we had to dodge Alpha and Beta out at sea (really no big deal), but returned to FLL in shambles; Tomas in 2010 which we actually followed from Aruba north (yes they can appear below the "hurricane belt"); and Irma in 2017 which diverted us away from St. Thomas, St. Maarten and Tortola.  There is a reason the prices are lower during this time period. 

 

Our anniversary (first cruise was for our honeymoon) is in October and we are booked for October 14 on the Equinox this year and I'm looking at the Reflection on November 2 for 2020.

 

Travel insurance definitely protects you for weather related issues, whether not being able to fly out of your home airport or into the port location.  Different policies also have different lengths of time that travel must be unavailable.  We happen to have a United Explorer card that has built in coverage (but they reduced the total coverage this year and will have to rethink that for next year's cruise).  We purchase medical/evacuation coverage separately.

 

My experience, your decision.  Enjoy whenever you decide to cruise!

Edited by pd7277

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Our anniversary and my birthday are both in September so we normally celebrate both with a cruise, oftentimes down in the Caribbean.  For my 50th birthday, I was deciding on a cruise up in Canada / New England vs the Southern Caribbean and was concerned as it was a rather active year for storms. 

Well, I decided that really wanted to go to the ABC islands and so threw caution to the wind and booked that sailing.  I knew that the Southern Caribbean is mostly outside the hurricane belt so chances were, if we could get into and then out of Fort Lauderdale, we'd probably be fine!!  Well, it just so happens that we were more than fine ... and as a matter of fact, a hurricane hit up in the northeast at the very same time I was sailing.  What are the odds of us having perfect weather in the Caribbean while those on the Canada / New England itinerary were getting pummeled?   Boy, did I ever make the right choice!  

BTW, we never cruise without travel insurance, just in case something goes wrong ... including the weather.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We’ve been on multiple “fall” cruises over the past 25 years. All were fine. Did the western Caribbean during hurricane Sandy. The entire week was beautiful. While heading back to Miami, from midnight til docking, seas got pretty rough. Hasn’t stoped us from “hurricane season” cruising. Agree with everyone,go at least a day early to the port city.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Insurance will cover you if it is purchased before the storm is named.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We have also cruised during hurricane season multiple times with an occasional port change, a couple of wet afternoon and evenings and some really fantastic sunny days...

 

As we come from over the pond we do always arrive a couple of days early.

 

Worst change to plans we have ever had was last March when ‘unseasonable’ weather resulted in most East Coast airports closing (including Philadelphia, our transit airport)...We did make our cruise but our ‘comfortable cushion’ of a couple of lazy days in Fort Lauderdale took a hammering! Only goes to show weather can be a problem whatever time of year you cruise...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We cruised on the Equinox September 2017 and September 2018. We thought our 2017 cruise would be cancelled due to a hurricane ripping through Florida that same week. I was a basket case right up until the time we got on the ship. We did fly in the night before,  but our flight was delayed and our hotel was closed due to the hurricane...which we weren’t made aware of ahead of time. We had to rent a car and drive to Miami and fortunately found an available hotel. The cruise was nice, but due to the hurricane it sucked the winds out of the ABC islands and it was unbearably hot. I swore I would never sail during hurricane season again. Fast forward to 2018. We had some issues on our 2017 cruise and ended up getting a decent amount of credit so we decided to do the same exact cruise as the year before. Again, there were hurricanes and although not as bad as 2017 we still wondered what would happen. We sailed and there was one around Grand Cayman,  but fortunately it broke up. While I was still nervous, this cruise was much better.........but that’s it. After 2 years in a row I will never do it again. Too stressful!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We were booked on Adventure of the Seas in late October 2017 out of San Juan. We’ve been on a handful of ABC cruises during hurricane season and this was the only one that was a bit concerning. It was just after Irmaria and everything was devastated. Royal was waiting until the week of each cruise to make the decision to cancel or not. We had trip insurance but they couldn’t help us until our trip was cancelled. We ended up being the first cruise out of San Juan post hurricane. We had to change our flight to the day of the cruise Bc there were no hotels. Delta was awesome with that especially considering the airport/flight situation too. When we landed at SJU the place was packed with people taking shelter there. It was sad and scary. I felt like as a tourist I shouldn’t be there. But everything turned out fine and royal gave everyone free transfer to the pier. There were lots of delays and no AC or electric. It was very surreal. BUT the actual cruise was awesome and we are booked to cruise again this October. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

All our cruises are in the Caribbean and during hurricane season. Never had a problem. On one cruise there was a hurricane and did not know it till we returned home.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

There was a very bad hurricane in sept of 2017 which gave us pause since we were scheduled to sail a couple weeks after. We had no issues, but half of our hotel rooms appeared to have  sustained damage two weeks earlier in Miami, and the roads were in shambles in certain regions.  Key West was canceled due to severe damage, and the waters all over the Caribbean were murky due to churned up water, so very bad snorkeling everywhere we went.   It was very hot and muggy, but I didn’t attribute that to the hurricanes two to three weeks previously.  Maybe it is always hot and  muggy like that in October in the ABCs.  We’d only been there in April previously, when it was perfect.  

 

We are booked again for this October.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We had a really difficult time in 2017 when we were booked for a Summit cruise out of San Juan.  This was after the devastation of Hurricane Maria.   First, we booked a hotel of on Hotwire in San Juan and they did not even acknowledge the hurricane and didn't know that the hotel cancelled all reservations . . .we had to go back and forth with the hotel and hotwire so that hotwire was aware of the cancellation and we got our money back.  Then since there were no hotels available in San Juan because they were either a) shut down because of damage, or b) booked out because of FEMA workers, we had to change our plans.  Originally we were going to stay 3 days in San Juan, but instead, we booked a trip to Orlando 3 days before and then booked a flight to San Juan the morning of the cruise.  It turned out to be a great trip anyway but it was very stressful before hand.  We didn't have trip insurance and I'm not sure if it insurance would have helped us because the cruise was in November, well after Hurricane Maria.  I'm really not sure if I would ever consider booking a cruise during or a little after hurricane season.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Fourth generation coastal Floridian here- We never gave hurricane season much thought in vacation planning until the last few years. But things have changed and lately we've been through Irma, Michael, Maria and several storms that were not hurricanes that packed a considerable wallop.  Keep in mind that these storms have been so big as to engulf our entire peninsula. So it doesn't matter which port you are coming or going from here it has the potential to impact it. Also consider high tides, storm surge, flight cancellations and evacuations in that scenario. November is the end of our season and usually less volatile, but there have been some some nasty seas and weather in the Bahamas and Caribbean corridor then as well.  IMHO, it is based on what you think you can endure as far as disruptions, rough sea conditions, re-routing and travel issues. Maybe you're cool with those kinds of things and maybe that scares the hooey out of you. Hurricanes are no joke so make sure you're OK with the possibility of things changing very quickly during hurricane season. Travel insurance protects your wallet but not your peace of mind. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 minutes ago, FLbeachbaby said:

Fourth generation coastal Floridian here- We never gave hurricane season much thought in vacation planning until the last few years. But things have changed and lately we've been through Irma, Michael, Maria and several storms that were not hurricanes that packed a considerable wallop.  Keep in mind that these storms have been so big as to engulf our entire peninsula. So it doesn't matter which port you are coming or going from here it has the potential to impact it. Also consider high tides, storm surge, flight cancellations and evacuations in that scenario. November is the end of our season and usually less volatile, but there have been some some nasty seas and weather in the Bahamas and Caribbean corridor then as well.  IMHO, it is based on what you think you can endure as far as disruptions, rough sea conditions, re-routing and travel issues. Maybe you're cool with those kinds of things and maybe that scares the hooey out of you. Hurricanes are no joke so make sure you're OK with the possibility of things changing very quickly during hurricane season. Travel insurance protects your wallet but not your peace of mind. 

I just remembered one more thing- it's not just Florida obviously. We had a connecting flight through Houston at the time Harvey was going though. Flights were cancelled, airport shut down and not automatically re-routed. It was impossible to get through to the airlines to make changes. So just keep in mind those Gulf state airports can be affected as well when making your flight arrangements.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

How do you handle rough seas?  Yes, the ship may sail and not take a direct hit from a hurricane, but the seas can still be very rough on your itinerary.  No sense going on a cruise if you can't leave your cabin.  I once lost 6 lbs. on a cruise when the captain tried to evade a "rogue" storm in early December in the Caribbean.  Couldn't manage more than a a green apple (great to alleviate motion sickness) and  tea for days.  

 

I personally avoid cruising  the entire East Coast of the U.S. all the way up to the Canadian Maritimes as well as the Caribbean during hurricane season,  August through November.  But that's me.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I like cruising in the fall not a lot of kids and thank God no biggies with the weather. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We have sailed in Sept and Oct many times. Never had an issue on the cruise... other than a change in itinerary. The captain will try to make the trip as comfortable as possible so you may not go to places you were hoping to go to... The real question is the departure port and whether or not it is impacted. Back when Irma hit... we were planning on driving down from ATL... as the storm got closer...Floridians headed to ATL. It occurred to me that if we drove we might be on the road with 6 million Floridians heading home... Oh and a week before another hurricane hit Houston...impacting gas supplied in the ATL area... I had visions of gas shortages... a few days before the storm hit...I was checking air flights and located a reasonable flight... so we ended up flying. We lucked out with a hotel with power. Now I have watched the cruise lines... they really really don't like cancelling flights and as I recall travel insurance really wouldn't help if the cruise is not cancelled and you only purchased insurance for the cruise... Now if we had purchased it with the cost of flying included...I am not sure but then it might have covered it... In any event... I knew we had to make every effort. We made it.. and the cruise was great... but several stops were cancelled due to damage from Irma.... Marie was hitting as we traveled to the southern ABCs... but as we headed back north we ended up in Martinique instead of Antiqua (as I recall)... the ABCs had fabulous weather....

 

I have no hesitation sailing this time of year...but you really have to have a back up plan..the key is being able to get to the port...because ..odds are the ship will sail. This trip our plan A was to drive to Orlando spend a few days at Epcot... then drive down a day before... as time went on we dropped a day off the trip, then two days... then thought of driving down the day before... then decided to fly. It can get a bit stressful. We did have insurance but not sure what good it would have done. Ironically... when we returned we scheduled another cruise just after Thanksgiving... weather great... except for one small problem.... we had an ice storm in ATL. After our flight was cancelled, we rescheduled for the next morning and found a rather pricey 2 star hotel. That night we got a text that our Saturday flight was cancelled and the earliest we could fly home would be Monday... well our 2 star hotel went up another $100/night and we were out of clean cloths... so we ended up renting a car and driving home. Later I recalled that we had insurance and they covered the cost of renting a car, a night in a hotel and meals... so it all worked out. So even though it was not a hurricane... things happen. To be honest... it becomes part of the trip memory.. and I seem to recall the trips with challenges more than the ones that were pulled off without a hitch.... Just have to be able to roll with it....   We currently have a cruise planned in late Sept just shy of peak hurricane season.... the adventure begins again

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

  • Forum Jump
    • Categories
      • Q&A: Cruise Insurance with Steve Dasseos of TripInsuranceStore.com
      • Forum Assistance
      • New Cruisers
      • Cruise Lines “A – O”
      • Cruise Lines “P – Z”
      • River Cruising
      • ROLL CALLS
      • Digital Photography & Cruise Technology
      • Member Cruise Reviews
      • Special Interest Cruising
      • Cruise Discussion Topics
      • UK Cruising
      • Australia & New Zealand Cruisers
      • North American Homeports
      • Ports of Call
      • Cruise Conversations
×
×
  • Create New...