The third Tropical Storm of the year has arrived in Florida and has prevented the Carnival Paradise from leaving the port of Tampa.
Tropical Storm Colin has maximum winds of 50 mph with higher gusts and having formed in the Yucatan Peninsula it is moving north northeast at around 33 mph across the state of Florida. Tropical storm force winds extend outward up to 230 miles (370 km) and are mainly to the southeast of the center.
The Carnival Paradise will not be allowed to leave port until the Coast Guard gives the all clear and at this time it is not known when that will be and Port Tampa Bay remains closed. When the decision to leave is made, a harbor pilot will guide the ship into the Gulf of Mexico. The ship was due to cruise on a five night Western Caribbean cruise but the schedule will now be reversed and the first stop will be Cozumel followed by Mexico and then Grand Cayman.
Hurricane season began on June 1 and continues through the end of November. This year is forecast to be an average year with the majority of the major hurricanes occurring from mid August to mid September off the east coast of the United States and mid August to early November in the Western Caribbean.
It is almost impossible to plan a cruise with the certainty of avoiding a hurricane unless you travel outside of the season or outside of the hurricane area. However there are certain places which are less likely to be affected such as what are known as the ABC islands (Aruba, Bonaire, Curacao), Trinidad and Tobago, and Margarita Island in Venezuela as even though they are in the Caribbean, being right on the edge of the area they rarely experience hurricanes.
If you are at sea when a hurricane strikes, the captain of the ship will do all he can to avoid it, either by sailing away from the storm or staying in port. Cruise ships have access to the very latest weather forecasting technology so it is rare they are caught right in the middle of the storm. However, given the reach of the winds it is likely there will be rough seas so passengers should ensure they have medication for sea sickness.
If your itinerary changes due to a hurricane, it is unlikely that you will receive any compensation although in some cases the cruise lines do compensate passengers for a shorter trip or missed excursions.