Cruise giant Carnival has begun to announce changes to upcoming sailings that were scheduled to visit destinations damaged by Hurricane Irma.
The Miami-based line on Thursday said its 2,974-passenger Carnival Glory would skip a call in hard-hit St. Thomas scheduled for next week during a seven-night voyage from Miami. Carnival has added an extra day at sea to the trip, which begins on Saturday.
Also skipping St. Thomas next week will be the 2,056-passenger Carnival Fascination, which is sailing Sunday from San Juan, Puerto Rico on a seven-night Caribbean cruise. Fascination also will drop a call in St. Maarten — the Dutch side of the island of St. Martin. In place of the two calls, the ship will visit the islands of Dominica and Antigua.
More: Royal Caribbean replaces St. Thomas, St. Martin calls | St. Thomas, St. Martin could be off cruise schedules for weeks | Cruises from Miami resumed Wednesday
St. Maarten also is off the schedule next week for the 3,690-passenger Carnival Magic, which sails Saturday to the Caribbean out of Port Canaveral, Fla. The vessel will visit Antigua instead.
Carnival also has altered three sailings that were scheduled to visit Key West, Fla. next week. The Galveston, Texas-based Carnival Breeze and Miami-based Carnival Victory will substitute an extra day at sea for Key West calls. The Tampa-based Carnival Paradise will substitute a day at Grand Cayman Island.
Royal Caribbean also has begun changing the schedules of upcoming sailings to the Eastern Caribbean to remove St. Thomas and St. Maarten, and Norwegian Cruise Line has canceled all of its calls at the two ports for the next two months.
Both St. Thomas and St. Martin were devastated by Irma, which barreled across the islands as a Category 5 hurricane with winds of 185 miles per hour. Key West also was heavily impacted by the storm.
In addition to St. Thomas, St. Martin and Key West, cruise ship destinations significantly affected by Irma include Tortola in the British Virgin Islands; St. John in the U.S. Virgin Islands; Barbuda; St. Barts; and Cuba. The latter only had recently opened up to U.S.-based cruise ships.
More: Irma showed up, and this cruise went to the dogs | Royal Caribbean expands commitment to relief effort | Cruise lines help evacuate St. Thomas
None of the major lines have given an estimate as to how long they might have to divert ships from the hardest-hit islands such as St. Thomas and St. Martin. For now, they’re focused on relief efforts. But in a research note sent to investors on Monday, Instinet analyst Harry Curtis estimated it could take “several quarters or more” to repair infrastructure on St. Martin and St. Thomas, suggesting it could be months before ships return.
Royal Caribbean on Sunday used its 3,114-passenger Adventure of the Seas to deliver relief supplies to St. Martin and evacuate stranded travelers, and its 1,840-passenger Majesty of the Seas docked Tuesday in St. Thomas to offer similar assistance.
A Royal Caribbean cruise ship made an unscheduled stop in St. Martin on Sept. 10 to deliver supplies and pick up stranded travelers. USA TODAY