Hurricane Paula affects cruise liners

FLORIDA, United States, Wednesday October 13, 2010 – Several cruise ships have been forced to change their Caribbean itineraries as Hurricane Paula churns off the coast of Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula and looks set to turn towards western Cuba soon.

Eight Carnival cruise line vessels are skipping calls to Mexico, Belize, Honduras, and Grand Cayman. Several others Caribbean islands, including the Bahamas and Jamaica, will benefit.

At 10 am, Paula carrying maximum sustained winds of 100 miles per hour was located about 80 miles east south east of Cabo Catoche, Mexico and about 65 miles west south west of the western tip of Cuba.

“Paula is moving toward the north near five miles per hour but the hurricane should turn to the northeast and east later today. On this track, the small core of Hurricane Paula will continue to move over the Yucatan channel today and be near or over western Cuba by tonight or early Thursday,” the National Hurricane Centre in Miami said.

“Paula is expected to produce total rain accumulations of three to six inches, with isolated maximum amounts of 10 inches possible over portions of western and central Cuba. In areas of mountainous terrain these rainfall amounts could cause life-threatening flash floods and mudslides,” it added.

A hurricane warning is in effect for the province of Pinar Del Rio, Cuba.

According to USA Today, the affected cruise ships include Carnival’s 2,124-passenger Carnival Legend, which is skipping a call today in Cozumel. The line also has canceled the ship’s stops in Roatan, Honduras and Belize scheduled for tomorrow and Friday. Instead, the ship will visit just one more port: Ocho Rios, Jamaica.

Also diverting to Ocho Rios is the 2,974-passenger Carnival Valor. The ship visited the Jamaican port yesterday and will visit Nassau, Bahamas on Friday instead of stops in Roatan, Belize and Cozumel.

The 2,052-passenger Carnival Ecstasy and 2,758-passenger Carnival Triumph, meanwhile, are both skipping calls in Progreso and Cozumel this week and will visit just one port instead: the Ecstasy is heading to Veracruz while the Triumph will go to Key West.

The 2,974-passenger Carnival Conquest also will head to Key West instead of calls in Grand Cayman and Cozumel.

A sixth Carnival ship, the 2,052-passenger Carnival Imagination, will visit Nassau this week instead of Cozumel.

Two other Carnival ships, the 2,052-passenger Carnival Inspiration and 2,052-passenger Carnival Elation, arrived in and departed from Cozumel ahead of schedule yesterday.

Also altering itineraries due to the storm are Holland America and Celebrity Cruises.

Holland America is sending the 1,258-passenger Ryndam to Grand Turk and Half Moon Cay in the Bahamas instead of on a Western Caribbean itinerary to Belize City, Roatan and Costa Maya.

Celebrity says the Celebrity Solstice will skip calls in Cozumel, Costa Maya and Roatan and instead visit Montego Bay, Jamaica; Labadee, Haiti; and Nassau.

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