Cruise ship passengers are stranded due to the impacts of Hurricane / Tropical Storm Harvey in the Gulf of Mexico. The largest ship impacted is Royal Caribbean’s Liberty of the Seas which made an unexpected diversion to Miami today after being unable to get to Galveston, TX. Liberty of the Seas will arrive in Miami, Florida on Tuesday morning to reprovision the ship. Liberty of the Seas will then return to Galveston on Friday, September 1, if weather and conditions allow. Guests on Liberty of the Seas will have the option to disembark in Miami, if they desire. Otherwise, they’ll be able to enjoy an extended journey back to Texas. As a result of Liberty of the Seas’ diversion, Royal Caribbean’s scheduled August 27 cruise from Galveston has cancelled.
Liberty of the Seas is a 15-deck ship that accommodates 3,634 passengers served by 1,360 crew. It was built with its twin ship, Freedom of the Seas, and was the largest cruise ship in the world at the time it first set sail in 2007. Very large at 1,111.9 feet long and 184 feet wide, the ship has a cruising speed of about 25 mph.
Three Carnival Cruise ships remain stranded, albeit safe, in the Gulf of Mexico, unable to get back to the port in Galveston. Carnival Cruise Line said in a statement today that the Port of Galveston is not likely to open until at least Tuesday, if not later. Both the Carnival Freedom and Valor, each with capacity for about 2,980 passengers at double occupancy, stopped in New Orleans Saturday to replenish supplies, and the 3,690-passenger Carnival Breeze will do the same Monday.
According to Carnival Cruise Line, guests on the Carnival Breeze who wish to disembark in New Orleans Monday may do so. Travelers who have upcoming voyages on either of the three ships will go on shortened voyages, depending on when the ships return to Galveston, and receive refunds for the time they lost.
“All three ships will head towards Galveston to take advantage of the first opportunity to enter the port while remaining a safe distance from the storm,” Carnival said in a statement.
Hurricane Harvey made landfall on the Texas coast on Friday, August 24, but continues to deluge the Lone Star state with heavy rains. More than 50″ is possible for storm totals in the Houston metro area, just north of the busy Galveston port area.
Even if the cruise ships were able to get back to Galveston today, passengers would have little place to go: most roads in Houston are under water and not passable and Houston’s two airports, George Bush Intercontinental (IAH) and Hobby (HOU) are closed indefinitely.