When bad weather strikes your cruise plans, it can be annoying, frustrating and just downright sad. Bad weather during a cruise can emerge as several different weather patterns, including fog, torrential rain, horrific waves and, most unfortunately, a hurricane or tropical storm. Here’s the thing: you can’t change the weather, but you can plan for it. Always be prepared for the unexpected to affect your cruise; this way you will have a great vacation, no matter what Mother Nature throws at you.
Be prepared for itinerary changes or early return to shore
Very rarely is a cruise ever flat out canceled. The cruise lines do a lot to ensure their travelers still push off from shore, regardless of the weather. To do this, cruise lines will make adjustments to the itinerary. You may skip one or two port of calls or just be rerouted completely. What does this mean for travelers?
Your plans can change at the drop of a dime. If you scheduled excursions through the cruise, you’ll be reimbursed for those excursions and possibly offered new ones. You may be reimbursed for port fees, but typically those fees are reimbursed in the form of on board credit and are a very small amount of money. Excursions planned without the assistance of the cruise line (they have to be pre-paid and non-refundable), can be insured with a third party travel insurance plan.
Add buffer time to your flights to your port of call
We cannot stress this enough. Book time between your arriving flight and your cruise launch. When we say “time”, we mean at least 12 hours. Weather, even if it’s not near where you are leaving from, can affect your travel time. Don’t get stuck on the dock looking at the stern of the ship.
Several travel insurance plans have missed connection coverage that may be able to help travelers reach their cruise at the first port of call. Even this coverage is limited to only include travelers who can prove they booked “enough time” between their flight and the cruise launch. This time allotment will be specified in the plan details but will vary between plans and travel insurance companies.
Listen to the crew of the ship, obey the closures of deck attractions
Safety is the number one concern of the staff and crew on a cruise ship. If the weather is so bad that they must close attractions on the deck of the ship, it’s in your best interest (and the interest of those around you) to listen to the restrictions. The crew is not there to make your vacation dull, they want you to have fun – as long as you do it safely. While it may seem dull to stay out of the pool if the ship is caught in high waves, you’ll be happy you did in the long run.
Instead, be proactive when it comes to picking an indoor activity. If the weather is bad and upper deck activities are restricted, you’ll want to find something to do indoors and quick. The crowded buffet lunch, bar lounges and indoor activity rosters are inevitable during these times. Your best bet is to take a deep breath and wait out the storm, so to speak.
Bring seasickness medicine even if you have your sea legs
Without fail, there is always a few people on the ship who do not come prepared for the waves. I have been one of them. You may think you have your sea legs but until you cruise on open water, you can’t be too sure.
Our advice: bring anything you need for potential sea sickness! They have plenty of options if you are opposed to taking medication, including a pressure point bracelet you can wearing during your trip. If you concur sea sickness on a rocky ship, you are pretty much an expert traveler. Don’t worry, I’m not even there yet.