When families plan vacations, many considering leaving dry land and taking a Caribbean cruise. What they may not realize is that hurricane season runs June 1 through November 30.
Thinking of taking a Caribbean cruise this summer or fall? Here's what you need to know:
1. Hurricane season 2017 looks like it will be typical. Most experts are predicting that this year's season will produce a typical number of hurricanes. That means it is expected to be about the same as last year, which was also typical. A typical season brings 12 tropical storms with sustained winds of 39 mph. On average, six turn into hurricanes with winds reaching 74 mph or greater, and three become major hurricanes of category 3 or higher with sustained winds of at least 111 mph.
2. The riskiest time to be in the Caribbean is mid-September. Do you like to play the odds? Avoid September 10, when, historically speaking, there has been a named storm in the Caribbean on that day every year for the past few decades.
3. You can snag a really fantastic deal. The very best offers are typically for sailings during the peak three months of hurricane season, August through October. For the biggest savings, wait until June and look for last-minute special offers from the cruise lines. To wit: On September 10, 2017, Hurricane Irma made landfall in Florida.
4. Even if there is a storm, you are very unlikely to experience it directly. Unlike resorts and hotels, a cruise ship can adjust its course to avoid a storm headed in its direction. For that reason, it's a great choice for a Caribbean vacation during hurricane season.
5. You might not get the itinerary you booked. While it's very rare for a cruise line to cancel a sailing, they always reserve the right to make changes. (This is true no matter when or where you cruise.) Sometimes a storm will force a ship to miss a port or swap the order of scheduled stops, which is important to know if you book your shore excursions with independent operators. Alternatively, a storm that affects your home port may cause your cruise to be cut short or lengthened by a day or even two.
6. You should pack sea sickness remedies. While a ship can outrun a storm or change course to avoid one, you may still experience some rough water. There are many ways to avoid and treat sea sickness and you'll be better to be safe than sorry.
7. You need travel insurance. It's relatively inexpensive and will not only protect your investment but also provide peace of mind. Be sure to buy a policy that includes hurricane-related coverage. Remember, a storm can affect more than just the cruise itself. A good policy will cover extra expenses incurred if a storm affects flights or driving conditions for your travel to and from the port.