How to Improve Your Chances of Avoiding a Hurricane

Caribbean Cruise Ships Avoid Hurricanes to Protect Passengers and Ships

Caribbean hurricane
••• Cruise ships use modern technology to avoid hurricanes. Science Photo Library - NOAA/Getty Images

Hurricanes in the Caribbean are a big part of the weather news every summer and fall. If you plan to visit the Caribbean between June and November but are leery of hurricane season, you might consider a cruise.

Scientists have made great strides in predicting where and hurricanes will strike. They can also estimate the size of a hurricane and how powerful it will be. With today's sophisticated hurricane information systems, ships can navigate around severe tropical storms or hurricanes.

Although you might miss out on a favorite island or destination if a hurricane or tropical storm is heading its way, your Caribbean cruise vacation might be saved because the cruise ship captain changed the ports of call.

The Caribbean hurricane season runs from June 1 through November 30. The National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has a Web page that provides immediate access to current weather warnings worldwide. These warnings include hurricanes and other special marine warnings such as severe thunderstorms. If reading about the current weather is not enough for you, NOAA can even show you an infrared satellite image of the Caribbean. NOAA also has visible and water vapor images of the hurricane-prone Caribbean area. These pictures are all fascinating to look at even if you are staying at home! They also give you a chance to see your tax dollars at work.

Predictions for Hurricane Season 2017

As odd as it may sound, one of the preeminent hurricane forecasting units in the United States is located at Colorado State University, not in Florida.

Scientists at the Department of Atmospheric Science at Colorado State use a model populated with 30 years of data to develop long range forecasts of the number and power of each year's hurricanes.

The scientists at Colorado State predict that the 2017 Atlantic basin hurricane season will have approximate average activity.

They estimate 13 named storms, with 4 of them being hurricanes and 2 being major hurricanes of categories 3, 4, or 5. Although forecasts can be wrong, it's encouraging to know that the technology and years of data to analyze at least gives them a good head start. 

How Can You Best Avoid a Hurricane When Planning a Cruise?

The summer season is a popular time to cruise, but it's also hurricane season in the Caribbean. Although the Atlantic and Caribbean hurricane season officially runs from June 1 through November 30, the most active months are usually August and September when the waters of the Caribbean are at their warmest. Some islands in the southern Caribbean such as Aruba and Barbados are less hurricane-prone than further north. If you are really hurricane-averse, you might want to plan a cruise elsewhere in the summer (Alaska, Hawaii, the Mexican Riviera, or Europe), or book a cruise that mostly sails in the southern Caribbean.

Remember that hurricanes can also occur in the Pacific and Indian Oceans, so be sure to check the weather in those regions before booking a cruise. Storms in the eastern Pacific are called hurricanes, but the same storm becomes a typhoon when it moves past the International Date Line in the western Pacific.

Hopefully, even the thought of a hurricane will not keep you from planning a cruise vacation to the Caribbean during the summer or fall months. At least on a cruise, your ship can use all of the available satellite technology, Caribbean weather information, and aircraft reconnaissance to steer you away from impending weather disasters. You can't do that at a resort!

Cruise lines have millions of dollars invested in their ships and a big investment in their reputations for safety. They want you to have a great cruise vacation so that you will book another cruise. Probably the biggest risk is that you might end up with a different itinerary, but what a story you will have when you get home.