Thousands of guests and crew members aboard three Carnival Cruise ships will likely get an extended stay at sea as a result of Hurricane Harvey. It would mean an extra sea day or two for passengers now on board and less time on the ship for those expecting to cruise next week.
The port of Galveston, where some Carnival cruise trips begin and end, was closed because of the storm. Earlier today, Harvey strengthened to become a Category 3 level storm.
The other Carnival ship remained docked in Mexico on Friday, and the plan was to head to Galveston Saturday afternoon if conditions allow.
Mayor James Yarbrough said during a news conference Friday that Hurricane Harvey is expected to flood downtown streets. The ship is currently docked in Cozumel and will now stay overnight there.
Peter Simons, interim director for the Port of Galveston, said officials are still trying to determine if it will be safe for ships to call on Galveston Sunday.
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"We're working with the cruise lines, the Coast Guard and the pilots to see what can be done to bring the cruise ships in as quickly but as safely as possible", Simons said in a statement. Guests who sail on modified voyages will receive a pro-rated refund equal to the number of cruise days they missed.
Right now, Carnival tells us their customers should sign up for text messages alerts to keep up with updates from the company.
'However, we will return to Galveston only when it is safe to do so, ' Royal Caribbean spokesman Owen Torres said. "We are actively monitoring path and progression of Hurricane Harvey and will make sure to inform our guests of any itinerary changes". Carnival spokesperson Christine de la Huerta said the Carnival Freedom and Valor will stop in New Orleans on Saturday to replenish food and supplies, at which point passengers can choose to disembark and travel back to Galveston on their own or re-board for the journey by sea back to Texas.
"Our intention is to keep with our original schedule for our return to Galveston", said Royal Caribbean spokeswoman Cynthia Martinez.