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Hurricane Dorian has Florida in its sights; airlines, cruise lines make...

Hurricane Dorian has Florida in its sights; airlines, cruise lines make contingency plans

Friday, August 30, 2019

TORONTO — Transat is waiving change fees for flights to Ft. Lauderdale and Orlando and WestJet has extended its rebooking window for four Florida destinations as Hurricane Dorian churns towards Florida, potentially as a Category 4 storm by the time it makes landfall.

Cruise lines are keeping an eye on Dorian as well, with updates from Carnival, Royal Caribbean, NCL and more.

The latest forecast from the National Hurricane Center has the Category 2 storm strengthening into a ‘potentially catastrophic’ Category 4 with winds of almost 225 kph, making landfall along the U.S. southeast coast on Tuesday.

While the projected track shows the storm hitting near West Palm Beach, the ‘cone of uncertainty’ of Dorian’s potential path covers nearly all of Florida’s 800-kilometre coastline, with Miami, Fort Lauderdale and Orlando all within the danger zone.

Yesterday afternoon Transat said its air and cruise operations, as well as cruise operations, are still proceeding on schedule, but the company is monitoring the situation.

Transat passengers with tickets for flights to Fort Lauderdale or Orlando, booked before Aug. 27 and operating Aug. 31 – Sept. 2 inclusive, can take advantage of Transat’s flexible rebooking policy. Passengers on impacted flights can change their date and/or destination for trips completed by Oct. 31.

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WestJet has extended its travel window for its flexible rebooking policy, for travel up to Sept. 3 for Nassau as well as Fort Lauderdale, Orlando, Fort Myers and Tampa.

As of 3 p.m. on Aug. 30 Air Canada had not added any Florida destinations to its Travel Alerts list.

Meanwhile Royal Caribbean has closed its private island CocoCay until at least Sept. 4, and says itineraries on several of its ships are affected by Dorian, including Navigator of the Seas, Mariner of the Seas, Empress of the Seas, Harmony of the Seas, Allure of the Seas, Majesty of the Seas and Symphony of the Seas. More details are at https://www.royalcaribbean.com/cruise-ships/itinerary-updates.

Carnival has updates about its ships and itineraries at https://help.carnival.com/app/answers/detail/a_id/6292. Some departures are going ahead as planned, others are still under evaluation. Ships with alternate ports of call include Carnival Sensation (8/31), Carnival Victory (8/30). Updated departure information at the site covers Tampa, PortMiami, Port Canaveral, Jacksonville, Fort Lauderdale (Port Everglades) and Charleston.

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NCL’s Dorian updates cover Norwegian Breakaway, Norwegian Sky and Norwegian Sun. See https://www.ncl.com/ca/en/.

Princess Cruises’ update says: “We currently do not have any ships in the affected area and we are closely monitoring the storm to see if any future itinerary changes may need to be made.”

The CTO has been updating the trade on Dorian’s impact as the storm moves through the Caribbean. The BVI received minimal damage, and airports have reopened. St. Kitts was unscathed as well.

The Bahamas, where Dorian could make landfall by Saturday night, has a hurricane alert in effect for the Northwest Bahamas, including Nassau and New Providence, Eleuthera, Abaco, Grand Bahama, North Andros, Bimini and The Berry Islands. Hotels, resorts and tourism businesses throughout the Northwest Bahamas have activated their hurricane response programs and are taking all necessary precautions to protect visitors and residents. Grand Bahama International Airport (FPO) will close at 10 p.m. tonight (Aug. 30) and will not reopen until 6 a.m. on Sept. 3.

 

With file from The Associated Press

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