August and September are prime months for hurricanes in the Caribbean. If you’ll be traveling over the next few weeks, it’s important to know your rights before you travel. And when it comes to changes in itinerary due to bad weather, the deck is stacked against you and in favor of the cruise line. Thus, travel at your own risk during hurricane season.
Cruise lines seldom want to cancel whole trips due to the presence of hurricanes in the Caribbean. This is the because the only way cruise lines make money is by having cruises. Thus, this is a dangerous profit motive that often puts passengers in harm’s way (see Carnival Triumph). In the case a hurricane develops, there’s always a chance your cruise will be cancelled entirely, or, you may have your itinerary changed. Rerouting of ships due to the presence of storms is pretty common in the industry. This is important to note if you intend to travel during peak hurricane season. If you have a dream “must-see” destination on your itinerary, it would be safest to plan your trip off peak hurricane season, especially because there’s always a chance cruise operators will decide to sail into the storm.
Any maritime attorney at our firm can tell you that when it comes to cruises, vacationers should be prepared for changes in plans. Cruise passengers are not generally entitled to compensation or reimbursement if a cruise’s itinerary changes due to a storm. In previous blogs, we’ve discussed the danger of fine print in cruise passenger ticket contracts, which allows cruise lines – in many cases – to attempt to avoid liability when an accident or passenger injury occurs due to negligence, and also, in cases where itinerary changes are made due to adverse weather conditions. This means that passengers often have little recourse should the cruise line decide to change or cancel the itinerary.