Positive News from the Caribbean 

Some seriously positive news out of the Caribbean after a tough summer. It wouldn’t be fall without cruise ships returning to the islands! Just a few weeks and almost all islands will have routine Cruise Ship schedules running. The good news is ARAVILLA will also be available as of mid-November for any vacations! Please contact us if you have any questions!

After a devastating hurricane season delivered two deadly storms within weeks of each other, almost all of the Caribbean — the world’s most popular cruise region — is open for business.

Many cruise ports in the Southern Caribbean and Western Caribbean (including Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula) emerged unscathed from hurricanes Irma and Maria and have been welcoming cruise ship visitors. Eastern Caribbean destinations that sustained the worst damage have either reopened to cruise ships or are scheduled to reopen within the next few weeks.

For example, while Puerto Rico received extensive damage in many parts of the island during Hurricane Maria, the busy cruise port of San Juan is open and operating as an embarkation and disembarkation port — or “turnaround port” — for passengers beginning or ending their cruises with Royal Caribbean, soon to be joined by Celebrity, Viking and Norwegian. San Juan is scheduled to be added back to itineraries as a regular port of call by the middle of November.

St. Thomas, hit by both Irma and Maria, is expecting its first post-hurricane ships in the first few days of November, from Seabourn, Norwegian and Holland America.

While these islands and several others are back to welcoming cruise ships, they are still at the beginning of a long process of recovering and rebuilding. Visitors should not expect every restaurant, shop and tourist attraction to be open, nor are you likely to find the full spectrum of shore excursions that would normally be offered. In Puerto Rico, for example, cruise line excursions are highlighting the charming district of Old San Juan but are not yet traveling to the damaged El Yunque rainforest.

Below, I’ve provided updates on the most popular Caribbean cruise destinations.

These destinations were not in the path of the hurricanes and did not sustain any damage:

Aruba
Barbados
Bonaire
Cayman Islands
Curacao
Grenada
Haiti (Labadee)
Jamaica
Martinique
Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula (Cancun, Cozumel, Costa Maya)
St. Lucia
St. Vincent and the Grenadines

These islands sustained storm damage but are now accepting cruise ships and tourists:

Antigua
Bahamas
Cuba
Dominican Republic
Guadeloupe
Key West
St. Kitts & Nevis

These islands have reopened or are preparing to reopen their cruise ports after suffering severe damage. Cruise lines are constantly evaluating the situations in these hardest-hit ports, sending us updates on a near-daily basis as they add destinations back into their itineraries.

San Juan — Cruise port is open.
St. Barts — Cruise ships scheduled to return beginning October 30.
Turks and Caicos — Cruise ships scheduled to return beginning November 1.
St. Thomas — Cruise ships scheduled to return beginning November 3.
St. Croix — Cruise ships scheduled to return beginning November 11.
St. Maarten — Cruise ships scheduled to return beginning November 15.
Tortola — Scheduled to receive cruise ships in mid-November, but subject to change.
Dominica — Scheduled to receive cruise ships in mid-November, but subject to change.

The Caribbean is home to many of the world’s most beautiful islands, and it’s great to see even the hardest-hit areas bouncing back so quickly. You’ll find legendary white-sand beaches, crystal-clear water in every shade of blue and green, warm days and nights and sunny skies during the peak season that begins in December.

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