Southwest Pass into Port of New Orleans Closed
|Elation Leaving New Orleans, By Eric Gunderson|
[CC-BY-SA-3.0 ], via Wikimedia Commons
The Southwest Pass at the mouth of the Mississippi River was closed as of this morning, in anticipation of the arrival of Tropical Storm Karen. That's the main shipping lane into the river, and the one used by cruise ships.
As long as the channel remains closed, the Carnival Elation, due into the port on Saturday, and the Conquest, due on Sunday, will be unable to begin the eight or nine hour upriver journey to the cruise terminals in the Big Easy.
Carnival announced earlier today plans for both ships to arrive back in New Orleans on Monday. An exact arrival time is yet to be announced. Both ships are being kept out of harm's way.
This, of course, means that guests on the current voyages will have their cruises extended by a day or two. Unfortunately, the days are necessarily taken away from the subsequent voyages. For more details, visit Carnival.com, and click on the small yellow highlighted link at the very top of the screen, titled Travel Alert: Tropical Storm Karen - Update . Additional information, including boarding times for following cruises, will be provided there in the near future.
Cruising During Hurricane SeasonWhile, thankfully, it appears that Karen won't carry as much of a punch as she might have, she does provide a perfect example of the risks of cruising during hurricane season. In addition to the risk of heavy seas, ports of call could be missed, and the times, even the days, of embarkation or return may need to be adjusted due to port closures. These risks being what they are, cruise lines sometimes offer lower fares during the peak parts of the season.
Is it a fair trade off? I think so. We regularly cruise during peak hurricane season, and will probably continue to do so. Have any of our cruises ever been affected? Yes, but most of them have gone smoothly. A a few didn't, and that's OK. We knew they might not when we signed on for each and every one of those voyages.