Carnival Ship Returns Late, Now Sailing a Cruise to Nowhere

Following delays over Hurricane Idalia, Carnival Paradise is now returning a day late from its current Bahamas cruise, and will now depart from Tampa on Friday afternoon. The new sailing will be a modified three-night cruise with no port stops, otherwise known as a cruise to nowhere.

Tampa Bay strong waves
Tampa Bay was closed until Thursday afternoon. (Photo Doug Parker/CruiseRadio)

After extreme rain and surges, the Port of Tampa was closed until late Thursday afternoon. The first vessels scheduled to return are fuel tankers and then two cruise ships on Friday morning.

Since Port Tampa Bay supplies nearly half of Florida’s gas, fuel, and petroleum supply, the tankers have priority over the cruise ships. Both Carnival Paradise and Royal Caribbean’s Serenade of the Seas are impacted and spending an extra day at sea. The port controls vessel sequencing with cargo priorities, which is fuel in this case.

Tanker Ship in Tampa Bay
A tanker ship sails in Tampa Bay. (Photo via Port Tampa Bay)

The Port of Tampa said, “As cargo operations return to normal, our cruise partners Carnival Cruise Line and Royal Caribbean International did experience a delay in their service. The Carnival Paradise will return to Port Tampa Bay Cruise Terminal 3 on Friday, September 1, and the Royal Caribbean Serenade of the Seas will return to Port Tampa Bay Cruise Terminal 2 on Friday, September 1.”

Carnival Ship Returns Late: New Itinerary

carnival ship returns late
Carnival Paradise at sea. (Photo via Carnival Cruise Line)

The new itinerary for Carnival Paradise will be a day voyage without a port of call. In other words, it’s sailing a cruise to nowhere. This is essentially where the cruise will circle in the Gulf or Caribbean Sea for three days before returning home. If guests do not want to sail the modified itinerary, they can cancel by 10:00 p.m. Thursday.

Carnival sent an email detailing the new sailing.

As we shared earlier, our plan is to operate your voyage as a 3-day cruise, departing tomorrow, September 1. Unfortunately, given the shortened duration, there are no nearby ports we could visit. This is not what we had planned for your vacation and we share your disappointment.

Should you decide to continue with your plans to cruise with us, you will receive a:

  • 1-day refund of your cruise fare which will be posted to the original form of payment (within approximately three weeks).
  • 50% future cruise credit.*
  • US$200, per stateroom, onboard credit which will be posted on your Sail & Sign® account. 
  • Refund of any pre-purchased Carnival shore excursions, taxes, fees, and port expenses for Cozumel (posted to your Sail & Sign account).
  • Pro-rated refund of any pre-purchased beverage or Wi-Fi packages.

What about the Passenger Vessel Services Act?

Carnival Cruise Ship Entrance
A Carnival cruise ship atrium. (Photo via Doug Parker/Cruise Radio)

It’s true that there is a law called the Passenger Vessel Services Act that requires cruise ships to stop at a port when sailing.

However, cruise lines can apply for an exception under specific conditions. The PVSA mandates that a cruise ship must stop at a foreign port before traveling between U.S. ports with passengers on board.

Nevertheless, there are instances when this rule doesn’t apply. If the ship cannot reach a port because of uncontrollable circumstances, such as inclement weather, it’s allowed to sail without stopping at a port.

Additionally, if the ship has sick or injured passengers who require medical attention at a hospital, or if it’s on a rescue mission, it can also bypass port calls and still abide by the PVSA.

READ MORE: Man Overboard on World’s Largest Cruise Ship

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