If you’re planning your first cruise (or your 100th), you probably already know that you can get an excellent deal on fall cruises to the Caribbean or Bahamas. There’s a reason for that: you stand a chance of having your trip upended by a tropical storm or even worse, a hurricane. When prices on cruises drop by hundreds of dollars at the end of every summer, it’s tempting to take advantage of the opportunity and book your trip. Take a look at what may occur and how your cruise company may handle it if you cruise during bad weather.
If you find an exceptional deal, you may be able to afford a cruise that would ordinarily be out of your budget. Should you book, though? It depends. Are you willing to gamble a bit?
What Are the Odds Your Cruise Will Be Disrupted by Bad Weather?
Although there’s always the risk of running into nasty weather on a cruise, the odds of disruption are actually pretty low. Cruise booking sites have hundreds of sailings listed every fall, and tropical storms affect only a handful of trips.
The official hurricane season runs from June 1st through November 30th. In 2018’s hurricane season, there were 15 named tropical storms and 10 hurricanes, according to the National Centers for Environmental Information. Only two of the hurricanes became major storms that wreaked havoc on their paths.
Here’s another encouraging statistic. The New York Times reports that only 16 cruise ships sunk between the years of 1979 to 2013. Of course, once is one time too many if it’s your ship.
Still, your risk of coming into harm’s way on a cruise because of a hurricane is minimal. The truth is, there is a greater chance of falling overboard when cruising, statistically speaking.
Cancellations and Refunds
The first thing to keep in mind when planning your hurricane season cruise is that cruise lines don’t like to cancel trips, and they avoid doing so at all costs. Your itinerary may change, but your journey will likely go ahead even if the weather forecast is ominous.
If your trip does get canceled, you will usually receive a full refund. However, if your ship is just rerouted, you probably won’t get any money back. Some cruise lines offer a partial refund if your trip is shortened by a day or two.
One thing you can do to buy some peace of mind is to purchase cruise travel insurance. This way, you can get reimbursed if your high seas getaway is ruined by Mother Nature.
Tips for Bad Weather Cruising
Preparation is the best way to avoid some of the biggest hassles with hurricane weather cruising. These tips are good to keep in mind even if you don’t anticipate bad weather.
Book shore excursions carefully
Although you can usually save a few bucks by booking shore excursions with an independent tour company, you’re not guaranteed a refund if your day trip if you go with a smaller outlet. Be sure to book with more established companies like Viator or ShoreTrips. That way, if you don’t make it to the port, you’ll get a full refund.
Prepare for being stuck at sea for a couple of extra days (or longer)
An extended vacation at sea sounds like a good problem to have, but not so much if you’re expected back at the office on Monday. It’s a good idea to plan for all possible scenarios.
- Plan for extra time off work, just in case.
- Pack enough prescription medications for an extended stay.
- If traveling with kids, be sure to bring extras of whatever you need for them.
- Make sure someone at home is prepared to take care of your pets (or kids!) and check in on your home.
- Have a list of contact information for your private tour companies, travel agent, and airline.
Choppy seas can be rough for people who are prone to seasickness. Even during clear weather trips, it’s good to have some seasickness patches on hand just in case.
Protect your valuable electronics
If you don’t already have your smartphones and tablets secured in durable cases, getting them ready before your cruise is a good idea. You’ll enjoy the peace of mind these cases give you, even on dry land.
Having a positive attitude will go a long way towards ensuring that cruising during hurricane season doesn’t throw you into panic mode. You don’t want to spend your entire cruise watching weather reports. Just go with the flow (pun intended).
Have you gone on a hurricane season cruise? Share your experience in the comments!
- On our site: Cruising Through Seattle’s Ballard Locks with Windstar Cruises
- Cover photo: Pixabay photo credit