Cruising During Hurricane Season: What You Need To Know

Should I be worried about cruising during hurricane season? The answer depends entirely on the type of cruiser you are.

To help you decide whether cruising during hurricane season is right for you or not, we’ve put together this guide.

What follows is a look at what and when hurricane season is, why it’s worth considering a cruise during this particular time of year and, just as important, who should definitely avoid it.

What Does This Year’s Hurricane Season Look Like?

hurricane season cruise radar

Typically, hurricane season — which mainly impacts cruises to the Caribbean — runs from June 1 to November 30th. That doesn’t mean that big storms can’t (or haven’t) happened outside of those dates, but this is the widely accepted “normal” range.

In the past, the “peak” hurricane season has been considered from mid-August until the beginning of November. However, thanks to our ever-changing weather patterns, those norms don’t necessarily hold the way they once did. Big storms can — and have — happen outside of that period.

According to experts, the 2020 hurricane season is expected to be more active than we’ve seen in the past few years.

The Weather Channel is calling for 18 named storms, nine hurricanes, and four major hurricanes. In order to be classified as a “major” hurricane, the storm must be a Category 3 with storms exceeding 111 mph.

How much worse is this than past seasons? Well, the 30-year average has seen 13 named storms, seven hurricanes and three major hurricanes.

The Benefits of Cruising During Hurricane Season

half moon cay bahamas carnival cruise line

Before we go one step further, it’s important to note that planning a cruise during hurricane season can be a gamble. It also comes with several risks which we’ll discuss in the next section. But there are definite pluses that make this a time of year worth at least considering.

For one thing, the latter part of the hurricane season falls when most kids are back in school. You still have the tail-end of summer, meaning cruising out of even ports like New York City in gorgeous weather, but with fewer families. Given that many clans try to fit four or five people into a stateroom, the fewer families on any given sailing, the lower the overall number of people aboard. And that means more room for you.

With risk comes reward.

READ MORE: 5 Reasons To Cruise During Hurricane Season

Hurricane season can also bring some great bargains, especially if you’re willing to jump on a last-minute cruise. Bookmark sailings you’re interested in and set a price-check. If you’re not looking for a particular sailing, check out sites like CruisePlum, which lets you check out not only last-minute sailings, but also great bargains for solo travelers and trips on which the price has dropped significantly.

Who Should Avoid Hurricane Season At All Costs

St. Thomas Hurricane Irma
St. Thomas after Hurricane Irma in November 2017.

It’s safe to say that booking a cruise during these months, especially at the height of hurricane season, is risky. There are an awful lot of things which can go wrong, from itinerary changes to flat-out cancellations.

READ MORE: What Cruisers Should Never Do During Hurricane Season

Because of this, it’s not necessarily an ideal time for those who are less flexible in their vacation needs to set sail. If you’re the type of person for whom it’s about the journey, not the destination, itinerary changes aren’t likely to bother you. But if the whole reason you’re booking a cruise is because of a very specific itinerary, it’s worth noting that hurricanes don’t particularly care about your plans and love nothing more than to cause ships to be rerouted.

Buying Travel Insurance

photo: Jenielle Billy

It’s also important to note that if you book a trip during this often-turbulent time of year, you should — the moment you’ve put down that deposit — is buy travel insurance. Important on every trip, it’s doubly so during hurricane season.

READ MORE: 7 Reasons Your Travel Insurance Claim Might Be Rejected

Not only is it important to buy insurance, but it should be done in a timely manner. Why? Two reasons. First, if you want a policy with a Cancel For Any Reason (CFAR) clause (which we highly recommend), it usually needs to be purchased within two weeks of the initial deposit having been made. Secondly, to make any hurricane-related claim, before the policy has to have been purchased before the storm is actually named.

In other words, you can’t find out about the hurricane, purchase a policy, and try to make a claim on it at the last minute.

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