Hurricane during the cruise? Here's what happens and if you can get a refund - Cruise with Leo

Hurricane during the cruise? Here’s what happens and if you can get a refund

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cruise ship in a hurricane

Hurricanes can be scary and can be even more frightening when you are on a ship in the middle of the ocean.

However, most of the time the only things that happen are inconveniences due to route changes, and there are no real risks for passengers.

In this article, we are going to look in detail at what the 2024 hurricane season in the Atlantic will look like and how these phenomena affect cruise travel.

2024 Hurricane season for cruises

fog rough sea
Fog and rough sea

For cruises in the Caribbean, the hurricane season runs roughly from early June to late November.

There is also a small difference based on the area, historically the eastern Caribbean is most affected during the early part of the season, while in the west there can be major hurricanes even toward the end of the season.

The frequency and intensity of these phenomena also change from year to year.

Unfortunately, as reported by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, in 2024 there will be an 85 percent chance that the Atlantic hurricane season will be above normal. This means that we should expect more and probably stronger hurricanes.

According to forecasts, there will be 8 to 13 hurricanes this year, of which 4 to 7 could become major hurricanes with winds of 111 mph or higher.

Below here, you can see the outlook for the Atlantic hurricane season of this year.

hurricane season 2024
NOAA’s 2024 Atlantic Hurricane Season Outlook

Now let’s look at what to do in case of a hurricane during your cruise and what the policies of the cruise lines are.

Is it dangerous to cruise during hurricane season?

It was dangerous a few decades ago, but the risk has been greatly reduced nowadays.

Generally speaking, hurricanes are seen as phenomena to watch out for, but they are not directly dangerous to passengers.

This change is mainly due to the improvement of the detection and analysis systems that can more easily predict where hurricanes will occur and what their trajectory will be.

This allows the captain to make adjustments to the route, change the itinerary and ports of call, or (in severe cases) cancel the cruise as a preventive measure.

What should I do in this situation?

Strong wind and high waves
Strong wind and high waves

Passengers should do nothing but follow the directions given to them by the cruise lines.

In some cases, the crew may ask you to avoid some outside decks because of strong winds and bad weather conditions, or they may inform you that the sea will be rougher than usual.

Obviously, for your own safety abide by the rules as much as possible, and if they tell you not to do something don’t do it, and don’t risk it!

Additionally, remember to bring something for seasickness; it’s always on my list of cruise essentials.

The refund policy

cruise ship hurricane approaching
Hurricane approaching

A while ago, someone emailed me asking if it is possible to receive a refund if there’s a hurricane during the cruise.

Unfortunately, the answer is no in most cases.

According to the terms and conditions of the largest cruise lines, you cannot request a refund if your cruise changes itinerary or if it misses a port of call.

The only case in which you can receive a refund is for a totally canceled cruise, but as I mentioned before these are very rare cases.

I know that some travel insurance pay even in the case of a port cancellation, but this depends on the type of insurance and the conditions you have chosen.

If it’s cruise-specific insurance, check your contract, as it should mention this eventuality.

I remember a few years ago I had travel insurance (unfortunately I can’t remember the name) and the port of Santorini in Greece was canceled. No surprise since it’s usually a very windy tender port.

The insurance reimbursement was $100 per person, not much, but still enough to have fun on the ship during that day.

To conclude

As we have seen, there is not much to worry about, even if you take a cruise during hurricane season.

The only thing that can happen is that you may have to revise your plans.

If you are afraid, want clarification, or want to know specifically how the situation is handled by the ship you have booked, you can contact the cruise line’s customer service directly.

They are usually very willing to provide this kind of explanation, especially to first-time cruise passengers.


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