Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Tropical Storm Katia Forms in Atlantic


12th Tropical Depression 
Forms in the Atlantic

Strengthens into Tropical Storm Katia
Becomes 2nd Hurricane of Season 
Powerful Post-Tropical Cyclone


A new tropical cyclone has formed near Cape Verde Islands and is heading northwest. Based on current predictions, this storm will intensify and become the 11th named storm and most likely the 2nd hurricane of the Atlantic Season.   We will monitor the storm when it is named.

1100 AM AST SAT SEP 10 2011
 
...KATIA LOSES TROPICAL CHARACTERISTICS OVER THE FAR NORTH
ATLANTIC...EXPECTED TO BRING STRONG WINDS TO THE BRITISH
ISLES AS A POWERFUL POST-TROPICAL CYCLONE ON MONDAY...
 
THIS IS THE LAST PUBLIC ADVISORY ISSUED BY THE NATIONAL HURRICANE
CENTER ON KATIA. ADDITIONAL INFORMATION ON THIS SYSTEM CAN BE FOUND
IN HIGH SEAS FORECASTS ISSUED BY THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE...
UNDER AWIPS HEADER NFDHSFAT1 AND WMO HEADER FZNT01 KWBC.

ON THE FORECAST TRACK...THIS SYSTEM IS EXPECTED TO PASS
OVER OR NEAR THE NORTHERN BRITISH ISLES ON MONDAY.

-----------------------------------------------
SUMMARY OF 1100 AM AST...1500 UTC...INFORMATION
-----------------------------------------------
LOCATION...44.7N 47.7W
ABOUT 295 MI...475 KM ESE OF CAPE RACE NEWFOUNDLAND
ABOUT 1960 MI...3160 KM WSW OF GLASGOW SCOTLAND
MAXIMUM SUSTAINED WINDS...80 MPH...130 KM/H
PRESENT MOVEMENT...ENE OR 60 DEGREES AT 53 MPH...85 KM/H
MINIMUM CENTRAL PRESSURE...954 MB...28.17 INCHES


Real-Time Cruise Ship Tracking
NOAA Hurricane Central 
Updated: September 8, 11 PM EST

There are no current itinerary changes but cruise lines continue to monitor all the tropical cyclones.
 
ON THE FORECAST TRACK...KATIA IS
EXPECTED TO REMAIN WELL SOUTH OF NOVA SCOTIA AND NEWFOUNDLAND.
Current Watches & Warnings
THERE ARE NO COASTAL WATCHES OR WARNINGS IN EFFECT.
 
 
A HURRICANE WARNING MEANS THAT HURRICANE CONDITIONS ARE EXPECTED
SOMEWHERE WITHIN THE WARNING AREA.  A WARNING IS TYPICALLY ISSUED
36 HOURS BEFORE THE ANTICIPATED FIRST OCCURRENCE OF
TROPICAL-STORM-FORCE WINDS...CONDITIONS THAT MAKE OUTSIDE
PREPARATIONS DIFFICULT OR DANGEROUS. PREPARATIONS TO PROTECT LIFE
AND PROPERTY SHOULD BE RUSHED TO COMPLETION. 

A HURRICANE WATCH MEANS THAT HURRICANE CONDITIONS ARE POSSIBLE
WITHIN THE WATCH AREA.  A WATCH IS TYPICALLY ISSUED 48 HOURS
BEFORE THE ANTICIPATED FIRST OCCURRENCE OF TROPICAL-STORM-FORCE
WINDS...CONDITIONS THAT MAKE OUTSIDE PREPARATIONS DIFFICULT OR
DANGEROUS. 

A TROPICAL STORM WARNING MEANS THAT TROPICAL STORM CONDITIONS ARE
EXPECTED SOMEWHERE WITHIN THE WARNING AREA WITHIN 36 HOURS. 

A TROPICAL STORM WATCH MEANS THAT TROPICAL STORM CONDITIONS ARE
POSSIBLE WITHIN THE WATCH AREA...GENERALLY WITHIN 48 HOURS.
MAXIMUM SUSTAINED WINDS ARE NEAR 80 MPH...130 KM/H...WITH HIGHER
GUSTS.  KATIA IS EXPECTED TO REMAIN A STRONG EXTRATROPICAL CYCLONE
OVER THE NEXT 48 HOURS.

HAZARDS AFFECTING LAND
WIND...GALE- TO STORM-FORCE WINDS ARE EXPECTED TO AFFECT MUCH OF
THE BRITISH ISLES ON MONDAY...AND COULD CAUSE DAMAGE TO TREES AND
DISRUPT TRANSPORTATION AND OTHER PUBLIC SERVICES. INTERESTS IN 
AND AROUND THE BRITISH ISLES AND NORTHERN EUROPE SHOULD MONITOR
PRODUCTS ISSUED BY THE UK MET OFFICE AT
WWW.METOFFICE.GOV.UK/WEATHER/.
 
SURF...LARGE SWELLS GENERATED BY KATIA WILL CONTINUE TO AFFECT U.S.
NEW ENGLAND AREAS...ATLANTIC CANADA...AND BERMUDA TODAY....AND
SPREAD EASTWARD INTO THE BRITISH ISLES SUNDAY AND MONDAY. THESE
SWELLS ARE LIKELY TO CAUSE LIFE-THREATENING SURF AND RIP CURRENT
CONDITIONS. PLEASE CONSULT PRODUCTS FROM YOUR LOCAL WEATHER SERVICE
OFFICE FOR ADDITIONAL INFORMATION.
 
RAINFALL...TOTAL RAIN ACCUMULATIONS OF 50 TO 100 MILLIMETERS...
2 TO 4 INCHES...ARE EXPECTED OVER THE WESTERN MOUNTAINS OF SCOTLAND
THROUGH MONDAY.
Historical Data:         Storm Archive            Graphics Archive                           
 
1100 PM AST MON AUG 29 2011

...DEPRESSION COULD BECOME A TROPICAL STORM LATER TONIGHT OVER THE
FAR EASTERN TROPICAL ATLANTIC...

Updated: September 4, 1 PM EST

Norwegian Gem Swaps Bahamas for Bermuda

Norwegian Gem will depart today from New York; however, in order to avoid the path of the storm and provide a more comfortable and pleasant cruise for our guests, the ship will now sail to the Bahamas & Florida instead of Bermuda as scheduled. Norwegian Gem will now call on Orlando (Port Canaveral) on Tuesday, September 6; Great Stirrup Cay, Bahamas on Wednesday, September 7; and Nassau, Bahamas on Thursday, September 8.
NCL will update their website and Facebook page daily throughout the weekend. The next update is scheduled for 2 pm on Sunday, September 4.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Tropical Storm Jose Forms Near Bermuda

Tropical Storm Jose
Formed August 28th
Near Bermuda

1100 AM AST MON AUG 29 2011
 
...JOSE DISSIPATES SOUTH OF NOVA SCOTIA...REMNANTS ACCELERATING
NORTH-NORTHEASTWARD...
 
While Hurricane Irene was pounding the East Coast of the United States early Sunday morning, another tropical cyclone formed in the Atlantic near Bermuda.  There have not been any cruise itinerary changes posted due to Tropical Storm Jose.
 
MAXIMUM SUSTAINED WINDS HAVE DECREASED TO NEAR 30 MPH...45
KM/H...WITH HIGHER GUSTS.  WINDS ASSOCIATED WITH THE REMNANTS OF
JOSE WILL CONTINUE TO GRADUALLY DECREASE DURING THE NEXT DAY OR SO.

SUMMARY OF 1100 AM AST...1500 UTC...INFORMATION
-----------------------------------------------
LOCATION...39.5N 63.1W
ABOUT 355 MI...570 KM S OF HALIFAX NOVA SCOTIA
MAXIMUM SUSTAINED WINDS...30 MPH...45 KM/H
PRESENT MOVEMENT...NNE OR 30 DEGREES AT 29 MPH...46 KM/H
MINIMUM CENTRAL PRESSURE...1009 MB...29.80 INCHES
Watches and Warnings  
 

THERE ARE NO COASTAL WATCHES OR WARNINGS IN EFFECT.

A TROPICAL STORM WARNING MEANS THAT TROPICAL STORM CONDITIONS ARE
EXPECTED WITHIN THE WARNING AREA...IN THIS CASE WITHIN 12 HOURS.

HAZARDS AFFECTING LAND
NONE
 
Historical Data:         Storm Archive            Graphics Archive                           

800 AM AST SUN AUG 28 2011
...TROPICAL STORM JOSE FORMS NEAR BERMUDA...TROPICAL STORM WARNING
ISSUED... 
 200 PM AST SUN AUG 28 2011
...JOSE MOVING FASTER...MAKING ITS CLOSEST APPROACH TO BERMUDA... 

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Step Back in Time to Ancient Olympia

Katakalon 
(Olympia), Greece

Continuing our 12 Night Mediterranean and Greek Isles Cruise we journey to ancient Greece once more.   This time we find ourselves in  the ancient Olympia Archaeological Site,  the birthplace of the Olympic games which started on these very grounds in 776 B.C.

The games were held every Olympiad (i.e. every four years), a tradition that remains in modern times.  The games were so important to the Greeks that they put aside their traditional differences, and even went as far as ceasing open hostilities in war time in order to descent to the sanctuary of Olympia to compete in the honorable games.

During our guided tour of Olympia, we stood on the site of the current Olympic Stadium.    The Olympic flame of the modern-day Olympic Games is lit by reflection of sunlight in a parabolic mirror in front of the Temple of Hera and then transported by a torch to the place where the games are held. Before we tell you more about the stadium, let's explore the other important ancient ruins.

Olympia Site Plan (click here for interactive version)
Ancient Archaeological Site

The sanctuary, known as the Altis, consists of an unordered arrangement of various buildings. The sanctuary spreads around the green wooded feet of the Kronion hill at the confluence of the Alfeiós and Kládeos rivers. 

The valley amongst the two rivers was in ancient times full of wild olive trees, poplars, oaks, pines and plane trees and it was these trees that gave the center of the sanctuary the name Altis, the sacred grove (from alsos, meaning grove).

The temples and religious buildings were located inside the Altis, the sanctuary to the gods. The sports structures designed for the events of the Olympic Games honoring Zeus as well as dwellings for the priests, baths, guest houses, etc. were outside of the Altis.


Gymnasion  (The Gymnasium)

The gymnasium in ancient Greece functioned as a training facility for competitors in public games. It was also a place for socializing and engaging in intellectual pursuits. The name comes from the Ancient Greek term gymnós meaning "naked". Athletes competed in the nude, a practice said to encourage aesthetic appreciation of the male body and a tribute to the gods.

The ancient Greek gymnasium soon became a place for more than exercise. The Greeks discovered  the strong relation between athletics, education and health. Accordingly, the gymnasium became connected with education on the one hand and medicine on the other. Physical training and maintenance of health and strength were the chief parts of children's earlier education.

The Palaestra at Olympia is part of the gymnasium at the sanctuary. This sixty-six meter square building dates to the end of the third or beginning of the 2nd century BC.  It was used to practice boxing, wrestling and jumping.

At its centre was an open court, forty one metres square, surrounded by a Doric colonnade of 72 columns and laid with fine sand on which the athletes trained. 

Workshop of Pheidias

West of the sacred enclosure, directly opposite the temple of Zeus, was the Workshop of Pheidias where the great sculptor crafted the gigantic statue of Zeus, listed as one of the Seven Wonders of the ancient world.

The building was erected in the second half of the fifth century, when Pheidias, after completing the sculptures for the Athenian Acropolis, went to Olympia to work on the statue of Zeus. Excavation finds and pottery date it precisely to 430-420 BC.

Sometime between AD 435-451, an early Christian basilica was erected over the ruined foundation of the building. It had two colonnades, which divided the interior into three naves, and an apsidal sanctuary at the east end. One still can see the low marble chancel screen. The basilica was destroyed by the earthquake of AD 551.

Temple of Zeus at Olympia

The massive Temple of Zeus, the most important building in the Altis, standing in its very centre, is the largest temple in the Peloponnese.

The Altis, the enclosure with its sacred grove, open-air altars and the tumulus of Pelops, was first formed during the tenth and ninth centuries BCE.
 
Although just a chaotic heap of ruins today, the dimensions of the temple are truly impressive. Only a bit smaller than the Parthenon in Athens, it was a classic temple in the Doric style, first built in the 5th century B.C. 

The temple enshrined a gold and ivory statue, later removed to Constantinople by Theodosius II (where it was destroyed by fire in 475 BC).  The statue, considered one of the Seven Wonders of the World, was crafted by the great sculptor Pheidias. The original was 44 feet high and lavishly decorated with Zeus on a throne of ivory and gold, holding a statue of Nike in his right hand, and a scepter with an eagle in his left.

One column has been restored and re-erected, and helps you put into perspective the temple's sheer size.

Temple of Hera

Temple of Hera is an ancient Doric Greek temple at Olympia, Greece. The Temple of Hera was destroyed by an earthquake in the early 4th century AD, and never rebuilt. In modern times, the temple is the location where the torch of the Olympic flame is lit, by focusing the rays of the sun.

Nymphaion
 
A Nymphaeum or Nymphaion in ancient Greece and Rome, was a monument consecrated to the nymphs, especially those of springs.

These monuments were originally natural grottoes, which tradition assigned as habitations to the local nymphs. They were sometimes so arranged as to furnish a supply of water, as at Pamphylian Side. A nymphaeum dedicated to a local water nymph, Coventina, was built along Hadrian's Wall, in the northernmost reach of the Roman Empire. Subsequently, artificial grottoes took the place of natural ones.


Olympic Stadium

The Crypt, a vaulted passageway linking the stadium with the Altis, was built at the end of the 3rd century BCE.

The stadium, where the athletic games were held, was 212.54m long and 28.50m wide. The existing stadium was the third laid out at Olympia.  The stadium had no seats, apart from the stone exedra of the Hellanodikai. The embankment could easily seat 45,000 spectators.

Crossing the finish line at the Olympic Stadium might not be in your future during an Olympic Game, but you can join me and imagine the thrill of victory and the cheers of the nations' athletes on this hallowed ground.

Our tour of Olympia isn't complete, but we will leave the rest of the visit to you as a homework assignment.  All these pictures, and many more, are posted on our Facebook Fan Page in the album Ancient Olympia Archeological Site.




Friday, August 26, 2011

Tropical Depression Ten Overshadowed


Tropical Depression Ten
Formed August 25th
Far Eastern Atlantic


While Hurricane Irene was barreling towards Bahamas and on to the East Coast of the United States, TD-Ten quietly formed in the far Eastern portions of the Atlantic Ocean.   We monitored this storm, which had a chance of becoming a stronger Tropical Cyclone, but fortunately, that never materialized.  Wind speeds never exceeded 35 mph which meant it would not be a named storm after all.

1100 PM EDT FRI AUG 26 2011
 
...DEPRESSION DISSIPATES...THIS IS THE LAST ADVISORY...
 
MAXIMUM SUSTAINED WINDS HAVE DECREASED TO NEAR 30 MPH...45
KM/H...WITH HIGHER GUSTS.  WINDS WILL CONTINUE TO GRADUALLY
DECREASE DURING THE NEXT DAY OR SO. 

Historical Data:        Storm Archive           Graphics Archive                                     

500 AM EDT THU AUG 25 2011
 
...NEW TROPICAL DEPRESSION FORMS IN THE FAR EASTERN ATLANTIC...

Could You be Stranded on Your Cruise

Q: Do I Really Need a Passport ? 

Q: Why Should I Purchase Travel Insurance? 


A: Hurricane Irene Strands Passengers

We are frequently asked if it is necessary to have a passport book to cruise.  Please read on ...

The Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHTI) requires U.S. and Canadian travelers to present a passport or other document that denotes identity and citizenship when entering the U.S.  

WHTI went into effect June 1, 2009 for land and sea travel into the U.S. WHTI document requirements for air travel went into effect in 2007.

Technically U.S. citizens taking “closed-loop” cruises are not required to have a passport but will need proof of citizenship and a government-issued photo ID, such as an original or certified copy of a birth certificate and a driver’s license.  (More information)  It is still highly recommended that you travel with a valid passport.  The following true story is just one reason why we make this recommendation.

Carnival, Royal Caribbean Strand 450 Passengers in San Juan

Last Sunday, Port Authorities in San Juan ordered two cruise vessels to depart early to avoid Hurricane Irene.  Traffic in/out of the port was limited starting at 12:30 p.m. on Sunday.

Carnival Victory (ordered to leave at 6 p.m. instead of 10 p.m.)

300 passengers had not boarded when the ship was ordered to leave. Carnival reached out to all guests who were unable to meet the ship and either spoke to them directly, talked to emergency contacts listed by the passengers, or reached out to passengers' travel agents.  In some cases, they had to leave voice mails.


The cruise line offered complimentary hotel rooms for two nights in San Juan to all 300 passengers, regardless of whether they booked air through the line. The 300 impacted passengers were also offered a free flight to Barbados to meet the ship. The flight required that they have a passport.  About half of the passengers took the hotel and air offer.

Royal Caribbean Serenade of the Seas  (ordered to leave at 5:30 p.m instead of 8:30 pm)

145 passengers were left stranded at the pier when the ship sailed 3 hours early.  Hotel accommodations and flights to Aruba to meet the ship were provided to the 15 Serenade of the Seas passengers who had booked the air/sea package through Royal Caribbean. 

The balance of cruise-only passengers were, upon arrival at the cruise terminal, "advised of hotel availability in San Juan," said the line. The expense of both the potential hotel stay and airfare to reach the ship was the passengers' responsibility -- or covered by their travel insurance, depending on the policy -- because the early departure was a weather-related incident.


According to Royal Caribbean, there wasn't time to alert the passengers of the early exit. "Since this decision was made by the Port of San Juan on Sunday while the ship was docked alongside, there was no way to notify our guests of this change in departure time," the line said in the statement. RCI did, however, have port agents at the pier assisting guests who did not arrive in time to meet the ship. 


Royal Caribbean is not providing compensation for passengers who missed the sailing, because the early departure was a weather-related event. Any passenger who missed the Carnival Victory cruise will be refunded in the form of a future cruise credit. 

UPDATE - RCI Changes Mind - Compensates Passengers
In a statement, the line said it is "compensating these passengers because we understand that this was an unusual situation, and we want to provide our guests with another opportunity to sail with Royal Caribbean International in the near future."

Those passengers who did fly from San Juan to Serenade of the Seas mid-cruise will, as we reported this week, receive a 30 percent future cruise credit.
 

No Passport = No Vacation 
No Travel Insurance = Out of Pocket Expense 

Hopefully you now understand why two pre-cruise travel expenses could make the difference between salvaging a vacation or returning home with disappointment and potential financial loss.

We often hear  "we intend to go on this trip no matter what", so we don't need insurance.   Mother Nature was in control for the past two weekends.  No matter how much you wanted to go on your cruise, you might find yourself trying to catch up to a ship that departed without you.   To do so, you'd need a passport.   You could also incur additional expenses along the way, which could either come out of your pocket, or be reimbursed by the travel insurance company.

Be sure to cover your entire trip cost.  This includes any shore excursions which you might book independently.   Hurricane Irene has scrambled itineraries for more than a week now.   Some independent providers will charge you for being a "no show".   Don't forget those pre or post-cruise hotel stays as well as flights.   Every item that could be canceled could cost you money if it isn't covered.

You should book and pay for travel insurance at the time of cruise booking.   In some cases, there may be additional benefits to doing so, such as pre-existing health condition waivers.  Perhaps you are healthy and that doesn't apply to you.  Another reason to do so is that once an event has begun (Hurricane Irene in this case) coverages are limited to policies that were in force prior to the event.

Be sure to read travel policies for any limitations.   There are many other reasons to have a passport and purchase travel insurance.   Don't forget about the folks you leave at home.   What happens if something happens to them and you need to leave your cruise early.   Would you be able to do so, or could you be stranded at a foreign airport?

Travel Worry Free with Travel Guard's Travel Companion - Don't forget your Passport

Disclaimer:  We are not insurance agents and make no claims about coverages or limitations. We offer this advice as a service to our readers. Always check directly with the insurance company regarding any specific circumstances that need clarification. Click on the "Protect your vacation" image above to learn more about travel insurance.

Bracing for Major Hurricane Irene

High above the Earth from aboard the International Space Station,
astronaut Ron Garan snapped this image of Hurricane Irene
as it passed over the Caribbean on Aug. 22, 2011.                  Credit: NASA
Major Hurricane Irene
Continues to Impact
Cruise Schedules


East Coast Bracing 
for Landfall

For the second weekend in a row, Irene, now a Major Hurricane, is dominating the weather and causing local governments and the entire travel industry to scramble to revise schedules to keep property and people safe from harm.
200 PM EDT SUN AUG 28 2011

...CENTER OF IRENE MOVING OVER SOUTHERN NEW ENGLAND...
Warnings Issued for Hurricane Irene -- See this post for current warnings, location, hazards, and other updates

      CURRENT WARNINGS       TRAVEL ADVISORIES        StormScape LIVE    
 
Despite Hurricane Irene's weakening to a Category One status, it is still packing quite a punch and has local governments scrambling to keep property and residents safe.   The NHC is warning that all of the tropical cyclone Hazards:  Wind, heavy Rainfall, Storm Surge, Surf, and Tornadoes are forecast.

Hurricane of the Century


The GOES-13 satellite saw Hurricane Irene
on August 27, 2011 at 10:10 a.m. EDT
after it made landfall at 8 a.m. in Cape Lookout, NC.
Irene's outer bands had already extended into New England.
(Credit: NASA/NOAA GOES Project)

Click image for more dramatic images of Hurricane Irene
Many are referring to Hurricane Irene as the storm of the century.   Mandatory evacuations have begun for parts of the eastern seaboard of the United States.  The picture above, courtesy of NASA, shows why there is this great concern.   The hurricane is massive!  As we write this article, Irene is a Category Three Hurricane with winds in excess of 115 MPH.   Hurricane force winds extend outward up to 80 miles from the center and tropical storm force winds extend outward up to 290 miles.

Ten States Declare Emergencies - Mandatory Evacuations Across the Region
Transportation Systems Shut Down

Irene will move northwest and approach the North Carolina Coast this weekend before continuing its journey north, skimming the Mid-Atlantic coast with possible landfall in New England.

Fifty-five million people are potentially in Hurricane Irene's path, from the Carolinas to Cape Cod on the U.S. East Coast, and tens of thousands are evacuating as cities including New York brace for the powerful storm to hit.

NYC Unprecedented Evacuation / Transit Shutdown

As powerful Hurricane Irene makes it way up the East Coast of the United States, New York City ordered nearly 300,000 people to evacuate flood-prone areas and subways.  The New York's Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) has begun a full system shutdownPhiladelphia and New Jersey will also shut down on Saturday.

It was the first time the nation's largest city was evacuated. Never before has the entire mass transit system been shuttered because of a storm.  New York city has not seen a storm of this magnitude in decades.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg said he was confident people would get out of the storm's way.
"Waiting until the last minute is not a smart thing to do," Bloomberg said. "This is life-threatening."

President Obama spoke with reporters from the farm where he is vacationing on an island off the Boston coast.  He will be leaving the area on Saturday well ahead of the storm.

"All indications point to this being a historic hurricane," 
"I cannot stress this highly enough. If you are in the projected path of this hurricane, you have to take precautions now. Don't wait. Don't delay," Obama said.


Cruise Ship Travel Alerts

This past week, many cruises had their itineraries altered to outrun the storm.   In most cases, port orders were changed or in some cases, Bahamas ports were swapped for Western Caribbean ports.

As the weekend approaches and the hurricane bears down on many of the homeports along the east coast, ships are racing to arrive ahead of the storm.  Several itineraries have been modified to cut the current cruise short, arriving in the homeport as much as a day early.  Some ships will delay arrivals until Monday. Departures for weekend cruises vary by port with some scheduled on time while others departing a day or more late. 

Ports impacted:  Baltimore, Bayonne New Jersey, Boston, New York, 

Travel Advisory Links:




Airline Travel Advisories

Major airlines -- including US Airways, American, United Airlines, Continental Airlines, Delta, JetBlue, Southwest Airlines and AirTran -- have dropped ticket change fees for passengers scheduled to fly to or from many cities along the East Coast this weekend. 

Airlines canceled more than 9,000 flights for the weekend and another 250 on Monday, according to the online flight tracking service Flightaware.com.

Check directly with your airline carrier for latest cancellation information



Additional Travel Woes
Transit systems in New York City, Philadelphia and New Jersey   shut down on Saturday.

Greyhound has canceled or delayed a number of routes because of the storm.

Hurricane Preparedness

Each year NHC, FEMA, and other government agencies host several events to raise awareness about the dangers of tropical storms and hurricanes.  See our Hurricane Zone for links to articles we published in conjunction with this year's Hurricane Preparedness Week as well as those from past years.  For those planning to sail this weekend, be sure to read Hurricane Preparedness for Cruisers

We will continue to monitor this major hurricane and post updates.  Hurricane Zone will point to the latest information.   We have provided several links which provide up to the minute news, forecasts, advisories.

Disaster Prevention should include:


"How To" guides for protecting your property from flooding & high winds. (FEMA)

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Warnings Issued for Hurricane Irene



Ninth Named Storm in Atlantic Basin

First Advisory Includes Tropical Storm Warnings



Irene Becomes 1st Hurricane
of 2011 Atlantic Season
Became a Major Hurricane 
Made Landfall on U.S. 
1100 PM EDT SUN AUG 28 2011
...IRENE BECOMES POST-TROPICAL NEAR THE U.S./CANADIAN BORDER... 

...MAJOR RIVER FLOODING OCCURRING IN PARTS OF THE NORTHEAST...

Tracking Storm since Saturday, August 20th 


The GOES-13 satellite saw
Hurricane Irene entering the Bahamas 

on August 24, 2011 at 1302 UTC (9:02 a.m. EDT).
Credit: NASA/NOAA GOES Project
Our coverage of Hurricane Irene began when it became a tropical storm Saturday, August 20th.  It formed East of the Lesser Antilles and took a path South of Puerto Rico continuing in a northwestward direction.  As predicted Irene strengthened into a hurricane before interacting with Hispaniola.  Due to the potential to interact with land, it was difficult to predict further strength and movements beyond the first few days.


Several hurricane and tropical storm watches and warnings were posted as the storm moved through the islands on its way towards the Bahamas. The Hurricane is expected to make landfall on the East Coast of the United States this weekend. It could become a Category Four hurricane before hitting land.  This was a very dangerous  Hurricane and evacuations were ordered all along the eastern seaboard of the United States.   Consult our Hurricane Preparedness links on Hurricane Zone if you are in the path of the hurricane.  Several cruise itineraries have been modified to stay clear of the storm.

August 28th 11 PM EDT - Irene loses tropical characteristics, but not until she was done ravaging the East Coast of the United States as well as several Caribbean ports of call.   Bahamas had extensive damage with many of the private islands, that cruise lines call on, needing to be repaired.   

Saturday and Sunday were very long days for residents in NC all the way up the East Coast.  The winds weren't the main problem, but rather the storm surge and inland flooding caused the most destruction.  The danger isn't over from the raging waters.   At first light on Monday, some areas will get their first look at just how bad things are (and it's not over).


GALE-FORCE WINDS ARE EXPECTED TO AFFECT COASTAL AREAS FROM EASTERN
LONG ISLAND TO MAINE THROUGH EARLY MONDAY.
THE CENTER OF IRENE WILL MOVE OVER EASTERN CANADA TONIGHT
AND ON MONDAY.
 
Not the storm you are looking for?  Click Image or Here
Real-Time Cruise Ship Tracking


Cruise Itinerary Changes

Several ships are in the vicinity of Irene and their itineraries were modified:




Latest Travel Advisories: (Updated 8 PM EDT Saturday, August 27).  
Links provided for changes between our updates.






CARNIVAL PRIDE – 8/28/11: Port Canaveral (Tuesday, instead of Wednesday) and Freeport (Wednesday), after which the line will determine the remainder of the itinerary based on Irene's projected path.  USCG has directed the Pride's captain to arrive early and proceed to a secure location to ride out the hurricane.  Embarkation for the 8/28 cruise is scheduled for Monday, August 29th from 10am to 2 PM at the Baltimore cruise terminal.  


The ship is now scheduled to call on..


Day     Port of Call                                                Arrive           Depart
Mon    Baltimore, MD                                        10:00 AM     2:00 PM
Tue     Fun Day @ Sea
Wed   Port Canaveral (Orlando), FL                   10:00 AM     7:00 PM
Thu    Nassau, The Bahamas 1                             1:00 AM   10:00 PM
Fri      Freeport, The Bahamas                             7:00 AM     2:00 PM
Sat     Fun Day @ Sea
Sun    Baltimore, MD                                          9:00 AM

Should any guests be delayed due to flight cancellations, if you purchased your air with Carnival, please contact us so we can make alternate arrangements for you. 

Guests who purchased independent air, are kindly requested to make independent arrangements to catch up with the ship at the first port of call.


Regrettably, the island of CocoCay, Bahamas, was impacted by the storm, and we feel our guest's experience ashore would be disrupted. Because of this, we have cancelled Majesty of the Seas'call to CocoCay for today, August 27, Monarch of the Seas' call to CocoCay on Sunday, August 28, and Freedom of the Seas' call to CocoCay on Monday, August 29.

Monarch of the Seas will now stay overnight in Nassau, Bahamas, departing at 11:00 a.m. today, August 28.

Freedom of the Seas
will call on Nassau, Bahamas, on Monday, August 29 from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

Majesty of the Seas will also stay overnight in Nassau, Bahamas, arriving at 12:00 p.m. today and departing at 5:00 pm. on Sunday, August 28.



Veendam - current sailing: Bermuda (depart 5 PM Thursday instead of Friday), Arrive New York Saturday (one day early).  Passengers can disembark on Saturday or overnight until Sunday.

Veendam 8/28 Sailing: The ship will remain in New York overnight on Sunday, August 28, and will now depart Monday, August 29, at 2:00 pm. Guests will be able to embark as scheduled on Sunday provided there is access to the cruise terminal. Due to the government declared evacuation of some areas of the city and impending transit challenges, access to the cruise terminal may be limited or closed on Sunday.
Embarkation on Monday, August 29 will begin at 8:00 am and continue until 1:00 pm, at which time all passengers should be on board the ship.

The revised itinerary is below:  ms Veendam August 28, 7-day Bermuda Cruise


DATE LOCATION ARRIVE DEPART
Sunday, Aug 28 New York
overnight
Monday, Aug 29 New York
2 pm
Tuesday, Aug 30 At Sea

Wednesday, Aug 31 Hamilton, Bermuda 9 am overnight
Thursday, Sept 1 Hamilton, Bermuda
overnight
Friday, Sept 2 Hamilton, Bermuda
2 pm
Saturday, Sept 3 At Sea

Sunday, Sept 4 New York 7am

For guests considering embarkation on Sunday, Holland America Line encourages guests to check local New York City transit and government websites (www.NYC.gov or www.mta.info). If you are in the local area, you can also call our special information line at 732-698-1222 for the latest information on access to the pier.


ms Maasdam August 27, 7-day Canada/New England Cruise (Boston to Montreal, Quebec)
Guests embarked in Boston on Saturday, August 27, as planned and the ship sailed at 5:00pm prior to the storms arrival. Due to very high winds and rough seas expected near the first two port calls of Bar Harbor, Maine, and Halifax, Nova Scotia, these calls have been cancelled and the itinerary modified, adding the ports of Gaspe and Saguenay, Quebec later in the week.


DATE LOCATION ARRIVE DEPART
Saturday, Aug 27 Boston
5:00 pm
Sunday, Aug 28 At Sea

Monday, Aug 29 Sydney, Nova Scotia 8:00 am 5:00 pm
Tuesday, Aug 30 Charlottetown, PEI 8:00 am 5:00 pm
Wednesday, Aug 31 Gaspe, Quebec 7:00 am 1:00 pm
Thursday, Sept 1 Saguenay, Quebec 12:00 noon 8:00 pm
Friday, Sept 2 Quebec 7:00 am 5:00 pm
Saturday, Sept 3 Montreal 7:00 am

Updates will also be posted at 10:00 am and 10:00 pm PDT


Summit: will remain in Bermuda until 5:00 p.m. today, Friday, August 26. We now anticipate that the ship will arrive in Bayonne, New Jersey, on Monday, August 29. 

Next sailing will now depart on Monday, August 29. Guests scheduled to sail on the Sunday, August 28, sailing of Celebrity Summit should now arrive at Cape Liberty on Monday between 12:00 p.m. and 4:00 p.m. 




Norwegian Jewel will return to New York early on Saturday, August 27 and guests currently on board will disembark beginning at 6 am. Embarkation for the August 27 cruise will commence earlier beginning at 10 am. The ship will depart three hours earlier than scheduled at 1 pm. All guests are advised to arrive at the pier between 10 am and noon. Once the ship is underway, there may be a change to the scheduled Bahamas & Florida itinerary.
Norwegian Gem will remain at sea, keeping a safe distance from the storm, on Sunday, August 28 instead of returning to New York as scheduled. The ship will arrive in New York at 8 am on Monday, August 29. All guests for the August 28 cruise are asked to arrive at the pier on Monday, August 29 beginning at noon. The ship is scheduled to depart New York at 4 pm on Monday en route to Bermuda.
Both Norwegian Dawn sailing from Boston and Norwegian Sky sailing from Miami today will depart as scheduled.






Caribbean Princess will arrive in New York on Saturday, August 27, one hour early at 6 a.m. In addition, check-in for the next cruise will begin at 10 a.m. instead of 1 p.m. in anticipation of an early departure.  Itinerary has been altered slightly; Monday, a sea day will replace a call at Halifax but the ship will visit there Tuesday. The planned Tuesday call at St. John is canceled. 




Disney Cruise Line



Disney Dream did not stop at the line's private island of Castaway Cay on Saturday, August 27, due to the storm's impact. Instead, the ship spent an additional day in Nassau.                                                    
See Historical Data below for changes earlier in the week

MONITOR LINKS FOR LAST MINUTE CHANGES FOR WEEKEND CRUISES
 
IRENE IS BEING CLOSELY MONITORED BY ALL CRUISE LINES AND ADDITIONAL CHANGES MAY BE NECESSARY.  GUESTS WILL BE NOTIFIED ON BOARD .
CLOSELY MONITOR DEPARTURE TIMES AS THEY ARE CHANGING


While we will do our best to keep this post updated, this unprecedented storm  is prompting last minute changes.  Be sure to keep in close contact with your travel agent / cruise line.

SUMMARY OF 1100 PM EDT...0300 UTC...INFORMATION
-----------------------------------------------
LOCATION...45.3N 71.3W
ABOUT 50 MI...80 KM N OF BERLIN NEW HAMPSHIRE
ABOUT 105 MI...165 KM S OF QUEBEC CITY QUEBEC
MAXIMUM SUSTAINED WINDS...50 MPH...85 KM/H
PRESENT MOVEMENT...NNE OR 25 DEGREES AT 26 MPH...43 KM/H
MINIMUM CENTRAL PRESSURE...980 MB...28.94 INCHES


CHANGES IN WATCHES AND WARNINGS WITH THIS ADVISORY...
 
THE TROPICAL STORM WARNING FOR THE EAST COAST OF THE UNITED STATES
HAS BEEN DISCONTINUED.
 
SUMMARY OF WATCHES AND WARNINGS IN EFFECT...
 
A TROPICAL STORM WARNING IS IN EFFECT FOR...
* SOUTH COAST OF NEW BRUNSWICK FROM THE UNITED STATES/CANADA BORDER
NORTHEASTWARD TO FORT LAWRENCE INCLUDING GRAND MANAN
* SOUTH COAST OF NOVA SCOTIA FROM FORT LAWRENCE TO PORTERS LAKE
 
THE TROPICAL STORM WARNINGS IN EFFECT FOR CANADA WILL LIKELY BE
DISCONTINUED EARLY MONDAY.











A HURRICANE WARNING MEANS THAT HURRICANE CONDITIONS ARE EXPECTED
SOMEWHERE WITHIN THE WARNING AREA.  A WARNING IS TYPICALLY ISSUED
36 HOURS BEFORE THE ANTICIPATED FIRST OCCURRENCE OF
TROPICAL-STORM-FORCE WINDS...CONDITIONS THAT MAKE OUTSIDE
PREPARATIONS DIFFICULT OR DANGEROUS. PREPARATIONS TO PROTECT LIFE
AND PROPERTY SHOULD BE RUSHED TO COMPLETION. 

 


A HURRICANE WATCH MEANS THAT HURRICANE CONDITIONS ARE POSSIBLE
WITHIN THE WATCH AREA.  A WATCH IS TYPICALLY ISSUED 48 HOURS
BEFORE THE ANTICIPATED FIRST OCCURRENCE OF TROPICAL-STORM-FORCE
WINDS...CONDITIONS THAT MAKE OUTSIDE PREPARATIONS DIFFICULT OR
DANGEROUS. 

 

A TROPICAL STORM WARNING MEANS THAT TROPICAL STORM CONDITIONS ARE
EXPECTED SOMEWHERE WITHIN THE WARNING AREA WITHIN 36 HOURS. 

 
A TROPICAL STORM WATCH MEANS THAT TROPICAL STORM CONDITIONS ARE
POSSIBLE WITHIN THE WATCH AREA...GENERALLY WITHIN 48 HOURS.  

MAXIMUM SUSTAINED WINDS ARE NEAR 50 MPH...85 KM/H...WITH HIGHER
GUSTS...MAINLY OVER OR NEAR THE WATER WELL TO THE SOUTH AND EAST OF
THE CENTER.  LITTLE CHANGE IN STRENGTH IS FORECAST DURING THE NEXT
48 HOURS.
HAZARDS AFFECTING LAND
STORM SURGE...ELEVATED WATER LEVELS WILL PERSIST IN AREAS OF ONSHORE
WINDS ALONG THE COAST FROM CONNECTICUT THROUGH MAINE.  THE HIGHEST
STORM SURGE...ELEVATED WATER LEVELS ALONG THE COAST OF NEW ENGLAND
WILL SUBSIDE OVERNIGHT AND ON MONDAY.  USERS ARE URGED TO CONSULT
PRODUCTS ISSUED BY THEIR LOCAL NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE OFFICES FOR
LOCATION-SPECIFIC STORM TIDE AND SURGE INFORMATION.
 
RAINFALL...HEAVY RAINS ARE DIMINISHING OVER NORTHERN NEW ENGLAND.
ANY ADDITIONAL ACCUMULATIONS SHOULD AMOUNT TO LESS THAN ONE INCH.
 
WIND...WINDS OF TROPICAL STORM FORCE...ESPECIALLY IN GUSTS...COULD
STILL OCCUR ACROSS PORTIONS OF EASTERN NEW ENGLAND...NEW
BRUNSWICK...AND NOVA SCOTIA OVERNIGHT.  SIGNIFICANTLY HIGHER WIND
SPEEDS ARE LIKELY OVER AREAS OF ELEVATED TERRAIN IN NORTHERN NEW
ENGLAND AND EASTERN CANADA.
  
Tropical Storm Resources (click links below)
HURRICANE IRENENational Hurricane Center
Atlantic Tropical Weather OutlookNational Weather Service
Atlantic Tropical Weather DiscussionHurricane Preparedness
Graphical Tropical Weather Outlook (ATL) Real-Time Hurricane Information
Active Storms  NOAA Satellites & Information
NASA: Latest Storm ImagesWMO Severe Weather Information Centre
Real-time Monitoring (Atlantic)The Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale
Real-time Weather SitesReal-Time Cruise Ship Tracking
 
 

Historical Data:         Storm Archive            Graphics Archive                           


THIS IS THE LAST PUBLIC ADVISORY ISSUED BY THE NATIONAL HURRICANE
CENTER ON THIS SYSTEM.  FUTURE INFORMATION ON THIS SYSTEM...
INCLUDING TOTAL RAINFALL ACCUMULATIONS FROM IRENE...CAN BE FOUND IN
PUBLIC ADVISORIES ISSUED BY THE HYDROMETEOROLOGICAL PREDICTION
CENTER...UNDER AWIPS HEADER TCPAT4 AND WMO HEADER WTNT34 KWNH...
BEGINNING AT 5 AM EDT.
 
 
1100 PM EDT SUN AUG 28 2011
...IRENE BECOMES POST-TROPICAL NEAR THE U.S./CANADIAN BORDER...
  
900 AM EDT SUN AUG 28 2011
...CENTER OF IRENE MOVES OVER NEW YORK CITY...
  
700 PM EDT SAT AUG 27 2011
...IRENE RE-EMERGES OVER THE ATLANTIC OCEAN...WATER LEVELS RISING 
IN THE VIRGINIA TIDEWATER REGION...
 
800 AM EDT SAT AUG 27 2011
...CENTER OF IRENE MAKES LANDFALL NEAR CAPE LOOKOUT NORTH
CAROLINA... 
 
800 AM EDT WED AUG 24 2011
...IRENE BECOMES A CATEGORY THREE HURRICANE....EYE HEADED FOR THE
CROOKED AND ACKLINS ISLANDS...
 
500 AM AST MON AUG 22 2011
...IRENE STRENGTHENS OVER PUERTO RICO...BECOMING THE FIRST HURRICANE
OF THE 2011 ATLANTIC SEASON...

700 PM AST SAT AUG 20 2011
...TROPICAL STORM FORMS EAST OF THE LEEWARD ISLANDS...
TROPICAL STORM WARNINGS ISSUED...
******************************************************************************
Earlier this week:
******************************************************************************
Carnival Glory 8/27 - Reversing order of ports: Halifax (Monday 8:00 AM - 4 PM), Saint John (Tuesday 9:00 AM - 6:00 PM)


In anticipation of Hurricane Irene’s arrival Sunday night, New York City is taking pre-cautionary measures that may affect your ability to arrive at the terminal on a timely basis.  We encourage all guests sailing on the Carnival Glory to make plans to arrive at Pier 88 between the hours of 9:00 AM and 1:00 PM.  Please bear with us as the debarkation process from the previous sailing will be ongoing, but we will do all possible to make you comfortable.  Sailing time remains at 3:00 PM, however we may sail earlier. 

Passengers were notified via email for both of these cruises.
  
CARNIVAL SENSATION - 8/25/11
 Day          Port of Call                    Arrive             Depart    
Thu          Port Canaveral, FL                            4:00 PM
Fri            Key West                     12:00PM      overnight
Sat           Key West                     overnight      12:00PM                         
Sun          Port Canaveral, FL                            7:00 AM


CARNIVAL FASCINATION - 8/25/11
Day          Port of Call                           Arrive           Depart    
Thu          Jacksonville, FL                                    10:30 PM
Fri            Fun Day @ Sea                    
Sat           Key West                             7:00 AM        4:00 PM                         
Sun          Freeport, The Bahamas  7:00 AM        2:00 PM
Mon          Jacksonville, FL


CARNIVAL IMAGINATION - 8/26/11 
Day          Port of Call                   Arrive           Depart    
Fri            Miami, FL                                         4:00 PM
Sat           Fun Day @ Sea        
Sun          Nassau                        7:00 AM      6:00 PM                         
Mon          Miami, FL                                         8:00 AM


Carnival Cruise Line has modified additional cruises - mainly swapping Western Caribbean ports for the original Bahamas stops.  

Carnival Triumph:  Key West (Tuesday, as planned), instead of Bahamas ports: Cozumel  (Wednesday), Progreso (Thursday).

Carnival Destiny: Key West (Tuesday), Cozumel (Wednesday), Costa Maya (Thursday) instead of
Grand Turk, Half Moon Cay and Nassau 

Carnival Conquest: Costa Maya (Wednesday), Cozumel (Thursday), Progreso (Friday) in Western Caribbean instead of Florida and Bahamas 

Carnival Victory:  Canceled St. Thomas (Monday), enroute to Barbados (Wednesday), remainder of cruise under evaluation

Carnival Liberty: Grand Turk instead of Sea Day (Monday), rest of schedule TBD
 
Carnival Miracle: Grand Turk (Monday) and Half Moon Cay (Tuesday) instead of San Juan and St. Thomas


Norwegian Cruise Line has made modifications:

Norwegian Gem: Kings Wharf, Bermuda (Wednesday - Thursday), Departs for New York (6 PM Thursday - one day early), Returns to New York (Sunday)
Norwegian Jewel:  Great Stirrup Cay (Tuesday), At Sea instead of Nassau (Wednesday), Heading north to return to New York (Saturday) 


Norwegian Sky: Nassau, Bahamas (Tuesday), At Sea instead of  Great Stirrup Cay, Bahamas (Wednesday),  Depending on the path of the storm, the ship may also have to cancel its call to Freeport, Bahamas on Thursday, August 25.


Guests on board the vessels will be kept up to date by the ship’s Captain. It is also important to note that NCL will continue to closely monitor the storm and if the path changes, may need to modify these itineraries.
  
Royal Caribbean modified port orders as follows:


Explorer of the Seas will depart Cape Liberty, Bayonne, New Jersey, today, Saturday, August 27 at 4:00 p.m. – one hour earlier than originally scheduled. We ask that all guests arrive at the pier no later than 3:00 p.m. today.
Monarch of the Seas: Nassau, Bahamas instead of CocoCay (Tuesday), At Sea (Wednesday, Thursday), Return to Port Canaveral (Friday) 

Majesty of the Seas: Key West instead of  CocoCay ( 4 PM Wednesday - 6 PM Thursday), Return to Miami (Friday) 

Allure of the Seas: Nassau, Bahamas(Saturday), St. Thomas (Wednesday) and St. Maarten (Thursday)   

Oasis of the Seas: Cozumel (Monday), Falmouth, Jamaica (Wednesday), Labadee(Thursday) 

Freedom of the Seas: Cozumel (Tuesday), Grand Cayman (Wednesday), Falmouth, Jamaica (Thursday), Labadee (Friday)
  
Serenade of the Seas: Aruba (Tuesday), Curacao (Wednesday), St. Kitts (Friday),St. Thomas (Saturday)

Remaining days will be Sea Days with the ships returning to their normal embarkation port as scheduled