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cynalan

Meraviglia Cancels Ocean Cay

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i am currently sailing on the MSC Meraviglia. This evening, around 6:00, we received notification from the Cruise Director that Ocean Cay (a day and a half away) was being cancelled due to bad weather and is being replaced by a stop at Costa Maya. Frankly, I find this hard to believe. The weather on our cruise has been perfect... the seas have been as smooth as glass and there has barely been a cloud in the sky for the whole cruise. I recognize that weather can change so I will report back in a couple of days to see if bad weather actually does materialize. My wife and I are very disappointed as we were really looking forward to the stop. 

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It's all over the news here that a severe storm front will be impacting Miami this weekend (Super Bowl weekend).

 

200130152110-weather-severe-storms-saturday-exlarge-169.jpg

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People need to realize that OC is just a short distance from Miami,FL and will have very similar weather. Cold fronts, although weaken considerably from up north, pass through FL all winter. Most are an annoyance (and refreshing to many), but some are strong with cold temperatures and winds from the north/northwest. OC will be subject to all these and I expect that OC being dropped from a cruise visit will not be unusual during the winter months. Even if a ship can get in that does not mean that the temperatures or wind conditions will make the visit comfortable.  For example, the last time we visited Key West the high temperature was in the mid-fifties and windy, and KW is much far south than OC. Most people just stayed on the ship.

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I live in s. Florida and often they predict 80% chance of rain 24 hours in advance and then change it last min to 0% and we dont see a drop. Happens all the time. Although wind predictions seem much more accurate. .

 

Sorry you are missing the stop. Like others said ...this time of the year it is actually very common, has happened to us on other cruise lines several times. And with a new island i guess they dont want to chance it.

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11 minutes ago, floridian1 said:

Sorry you are missing the stop. Like others said ...this time of the year it is actually very common, has happened to us on other cruise lines several times. And with a new island i guess they dont want to chance it.

 

I thought Ocean Cay would have a smaller chance of being missed because they have a dock (no tendering).  But from what I've read, there is a narrow channel getting to the island and that causes problems for the larger ships in high winds.  After that ship ran into another ship while docking in Cozumel in high winds recently, I'm sure the cruise lines are being careful.

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19 minutes ago, CruisinCrow said:

 

I thought Ocean Cay would have a smaller chance of being missed because they have a dock (no tendering).  But from what I've read, there is a narrow channel getting to the island and that causes problems for the larger ships in high winds.  After that ship ran into another ship while docking in Cozumel in high winds recently, I'm sure the cruise lines are being careful.

 

I agree.

 

Yes, it is disappointing.

 

We visited Ocean Cay the first two weeks of December; one visit was light wind the second was not.  The only places on the island beaches protected from the wind were those protected by higher land and dunes.  The waves crashing in on the Lighthouse walkway also would start to wash out splash over people on the walkway and on the outer side of the seating area at the Lighthouse.

 

When Meraviglia left, she wasn't fooling around (speed wise) from our perception.  That CHANNEL is narrow (believe it was excavated, not sure) and there appears to be little room for error.

 

Again, sorry for the disappointment to the OP.

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for what it's worth, we love going to Blue Kay at Costa Maya. Taxi is like $3 pp each way, and for $12 per adult you get a chaise and any 2 drinks. Totally worth it. Plenty of shade. A very nice sandy beach.

For $12 on OC you get one umbrella and no drinks.

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The pier at Ocean Cay is very exposed to the seas.  There is no breakwater.  We have missed the various private islands about five times;  don't take is personally, it is quite common.

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After all these years waiting, I'd be upset if we miss it in March but the channel does look like it is a bit narrow.  As far as the ones I follow, DCL almost always makes it to their island (has a dock), NCL probably about 2/3 (tender) and so far from casual observation of the few sailings, MSC is about 85%.

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While having dinner with the Captain on the Divina two sailings ago, I asked about this very situation. He has to take into account three things: wind (no more than 21 kts), current (no more than 3 kts) and tide (based on the phase of the moon). Because of the channel depth and width combined with the extremely tight turning basin, all of those factors have to be just right.

 

So just because the winds are lighter (which you can feel), doesn't mean the current (which you can't feel) isn't more than 3 kts. Especially with Ocean Cay being at the edge of the Gulf Stream. And I personally never thought about the moon phase which can drastically effect the tide and depth of water. It all fits into a formula which might include slightly higher winds if less of a current, but it is a very narrow window none the less.

 

Hope this provides enlightenment for some.

 

Bret

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5 hours ago, dexddd said:

After all these years waiting, I'd be upset if we miss it in March but the channel does look like it is a bit narrow.

 

'A bit narrow' is an understatement!  One of the most fascinating examples of seamanship I've seen was watching the Meraviglia turn to face outbound as we arrived.  It seemed like the bow was no more than 10 feet from the dock as the ship swung around.  Once you've seen that, it is very easy to understand that, pier or not, the strength and direction of the wind can be a determining factor in the decision to dock or bypass the island.

Edited by capriccio

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Thanks for all of your comments. Everything everyone has said makes a lot of sense. My comment was concerning how far in advance the stop was cancelled, particularly how fluid weather patterns are. At home in Toronto they are always forecasting Snowmageddon which almost never arrives. A veteran of more than 50 cruises on nearly every major cruise line i have never had a stop at a private island cancelled before. It was very disappointing. Costa Maya IMHO is nothing more than a shopping stop, particularly if one has already seen the Mayan ruins. Oh well, at least I got a great massage at the Mayan Healing Rituals shop. I enjoy the Meraviglia, particularly the theatre shows... Best I have ever seen on any of our cruises. 

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35 minutes ago, cynalan said:

Thanks for all of your comments. Everything everyone has said makes a lot of sense. My comment was concerning how far in advance the stop was cancelled, particularly how fluid weather patterns are. At home in Toronto they are always forecasting Snowmageddon which almost never arrives. A veteran of more than 50 cruises on nearly every major cruise line i have never had a stop at a private island cancelled before. It was very disappointing. Costa Maya IMHO is nothing more than a shopping stop, particularly if one has already seen the Mayan ruins. Oh well, at least I got a great massage at the Mayan Healing Rituals shop. I enjoy the Meraviglia, particularly the theatre shows... Best I have ever seen on any of our cruises. 

 

But if the Captain decided to be optimistic, and when you got there he couldn't dock – then how would you feel about an unscheduled sea day doing circles outside Miami?

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39 minutes ago, cynalan said:

Thanks for all of your comments. Everything everyone has said makes a lot of sense. My comment was concerning how far in advance the stop was cancelled, particularly how fluid weather patterns are. At home in Toronto they are always forecasting Snowmageddon which almost never arrives. A veteran of more than 50 cruises on nearly every major cruise line i have never had a stop at a private island cancelled before. It was very disappointing. Costa Maya IMHO is nothing more than a shopping stop, particularly if one has already seen the Mayan ruins. Oh well, at least I got a great massage at the Mayan Healing Rituals shop. I enjoy the Meraviglia, particularly the theatre shows... Best I have ever seen on any of our cruises. 

 

We're supposed to go to Ocean Cay on our cruise next month and I'll be disappointed too if we don't get to go.  I'm sorry you didn't get there.  I think they probably made the decision to cancel so early so that you could at least go somewhere else instead of a day at sea.  No one really knows what the weather is going to do but they have to use the best information they have and it's better to be safe than sorry.

 

We've been lucky with making it to the private islands so far but I have to say that once we went to NCL's Great Stirrup Cay during questionable weather and it wasn't a very pleasant experience.  People got seasick on the tender getting to the island, it was so windy on the island that we couldn't enjoy it (couldn't even eat the food because there was so much sand flying around) and the tender ride back to the ship was actually kind of scary.  It probably would have been better to have skipped it.

Edited by CruisinCrow

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Just some perspective on how close Ocean Cay is to Miami... And weather forecasts a day and a half out are going to be extremely accurate. If this was a week out that might be a different story.

ocean cay.JPG

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It's already raining here, with tons of thunder/lightening. We sat on our porch to watch it roll in.

 

We are in Ft. Lauderdale. The Captain made the right call. 

 

You don't get to be a Captain by being stupid, and you don't get to be an important employee of a big cruise line by doing things against the company's interests.

 

If the Captain says, "nah," it has nothing to do with his/her desire to keep you from spending a day in The Bahamas.

 

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For those commenting on the channel, here it is in google Earth. Obviously an old photo, but the channel is clear. If you zoom in while on the actual program you can get a distance scale that shows just how narrow that channel really is. 

 

 

image.png.8642c128aeea62a3d4f353571966c1a0.png

Edited by BermudaBound2014

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If you were at OC today as scheduled, the conditions are extremely unfavorable even if the ship could dock. 

117D0429-5F24-4E19-868E-4158182751FA.png

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Just reading this now back home in Florida.  We were in Ocean Cay yesterday (Friday) on Seaside and it was a glorious day.  But we certainly heard loud thunder during the night en route back to Miami.  Glad we were lucky.  This island will be gorgeous when the palms have had a couple of years of good tropical growing weather.

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On 1/31/2020 at 1:58 PM, dexddd said:

After all these years waiting, I'd be upset if we miss it in March but the channel does look like it is a bit narrow.  As far as the ones I follow, DCL almost always makes it to their island (has a dock), NCL probably about 2/3 (tender) and so far from casual observation of the few sailings, MSC is about 85%.

We missed dcl private island 1 out of 2 times. It's disappointing but it happens

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38 minutes ago, CruisinCrow said:

From the Nassau port cam, the weather looks mostly sunny but super windy.  White caps in the harbor!

https://www.portnassauwebcam.com/

 

 

The National Weather Service Marine Forecast for today:

Bahamas including Cay Sal Bank-  

257 AM EST Sun Feb 2 2020    

TODAY  

NW to N winds 20 to 25 kt. (that's 12.5 to 15.5 mph)

Seas 6 to 8 ft.

 

Weathercrest (https://www.weathercrave.com/weather-forecast-bahamas/island-9671/weather-forecast-ocean-cay-msc-marine-reserve-hourly hourly predictions just for this morning:

 

time          temp                     wind

10 am        64                   22 mph gusts

11 am        64                   18.5 mph gusts

noon          66                   18.5 mph gusts

 
 

Just north of Fort Lauderdale, the morning started out at 54 degrees with wind of 18 mph.  Temp is up to 57 right now (just before 10 am) and wind down to 16 mph.  The only people on the beach are walkers/shell hunters and they are all bundled up. 

 

 

 

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1 hour ago, capriccio said:

 

The National Weather Service Marine Forecast for today:

Bahamas including Cay Sal Bank-  

257 AM EST Sun Feb 2 2020    

TODAY  

NW to N winds 20 to 25 kt. (that's 12.5 to 15.5 mph)

Seas 6 to 8 ft.

 

Weathercrest (https://www.weathercrave.com/weather-forecast-bahamas/island-9671/weather-forecast-ocean-cay-msc-marine-reserve-hourly hourly predictions just for this morning:

 

time          temp                     wind

10 am        64                   22 mph gusts

11 am        64                   18.5 mph gusts

noon          66                   18.5 mph gusts

 

 

Brrr.  Definitely not a good beach day.

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16 hours ago, Kelly 48054 said:

We missed dcl private island 1 out of 2 times. It's disappointing but it happens

But again, very rare.

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