Cruising During Hurricane Season

My family and I are excited about our upcoming cruise, and as embarkation day approaches, we have watched, heard, and read a lot about the hurricanes that have already occurred this hurricane season.  Atlantic hurricane season is from June 1st to November 30th, but hurricanes are said to be more likely from mid-August to mid-October, also known as the “season within the season” or “peak season.”  Some may ask, “With all these hurricanes, are you still cruising this season?”  Our quick answer: “By the grace of God, yes!” 

We have cruised during hurricane season at least twice before.  Our upcoming cruise is a combined birthday and anniversary celebration.  Therefore, it stands to reason that the cruise will take place at or near the time of the birthday and anniversary being celebrated.  Furthermore, if you read My Cruising Family’s very first blog post, you know that I am an advocate for purchasing travel insurance before cruising, especially before cruising with young children.  Children are unpredictable.  Life is unpredictable.  As my husband said, “Cruising during hurricane season is the same as cruising any other time.  All travel involves some level of risk.”  Purchasing insurance takes those risks into account and provides peace of mind. 

Hurricanes should always be taken seriously.  However, that does not mean that successful travel plans cannot be made during hurricane season, even if those plans are to the Caribbean, Mexico, and/or parts of the United States that are vulnerable to hurricanes. 

My husband and I got married in Negril, Jamaica, in October 2009, and it rained heavily right at the time that our wedding ceremony was scheduled to start.  The rain delayed the ceremony, but after the rain stopped, the ground dried quickly, and the memorable outdoor wedding ceremony took place, which allowed for gorgeous photography on the beach during and after the ceremony – not sure if you’ve seen a Negril beach after the rain, but the scenery is beautiful!  Our reception was not held on the beach as planned, but was held in a room by the beach, which was the contingency plan, and we had an amazing time dancing, eating, and spending time with family and friends.  The reason that I share this brief recap of our wedding day in this post is to illustrate that our union started in the Caribbean during hurricane season, and while we had a plan for the wedding ceremony and the wedding day, we also had a contingency plan, which indicated that our planning was flexible.  Flexibility is key.  I think that we’ve approached our family cruises in the same manner.  We expect the best, but plan as though anything can happen.  In the event that there are weather-related delays, such as the one that took place on our wedding day, we make the best of it.  If there is a more severe weather situation that makes travel too dangerous to handle, then travel insurance allows for alternate plans to be made. 

Although a number of cruises had to be cancelled or otherwise modified in recent days and weeks due to Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, Jose, and Katia, I also know that the use of satellite technology, and routinely checking with the Global Maritime Distress and Safety System and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration allows cruise ship captains and nautical teams to devise navigation plans that keep the ships out of the predicted path of hurricanes or other storms. 

I won’t pretend to know the exact statistics, but knowing that there are many ships at sea each day, I can confidently say that there are more successful sailings during hurricane season than there are interrupted or cancelled ones.  The way that the cruise lines adjusted itineraries and kept ships away from the recent storms is actually reassuring to those considering cruising during hurricane season. 

Some people wonder why anyone would even consider cruising to the Caribbean or Mexico during hurricane season.  There are a number of reasons for cruising at this time.  One reason is the affordable price.  With children back in school and by virtue of it being hurricane season, prices for air travel, cruising, and hotels drop significantly.  The travel industry expects that families will travel more when children are out of school, so with major school breaks in the summer, winter holiday season, and the spring, some may find that the fall, which is, in part, hurricane season, is the best time to travel if they would like to pay lower prices than they see at other times of year.  In addition to general reasons like pricing, some travelers may have very specific reasons, such as a milestone birthday, anniversary, or other special occasion. 

Keep in mind that people live in the Caribbean year-round and do not all need to evacuate every hurricane season.  So, we are mindful not to sensationalize an entire season – hurricane season – but, that being said, we always take hurricanes seriously.  We also walk by faith and we seek wisdom, which includes gathering and analyzing information pertaining to the dates, itineraries, and weather forecasts for our planned vacations. 

The Bible says, in Ecclesiastes 11:4, that “if you wait for perfect conditions, you will never get anything done.”  The Bible also says, in Proverbs 4:7, “Getting wisdom is the wisest thing you can do!  And whatever else you do, develop good judgment.”  Deciding to cruise during hurricane season is an exercise in both of these lessons. 

Honestly, we look forward to the opportunity to contribute to the economy through tourism in an area that has recently been affected by Hurricane Irma.  We, of course, also look forward to enjoying another wonderful cruise, with our loved ones, interacting with those we meet at our ports-of-call, away from the day-to-day hustle and bustle. 

Have you ever cruised during hurricane season?