The most severe storm on record in the Southern Hemisphere, category 5 tropical cyclone Winston, made landfall in Fiji on Saturday (February 20), causing huge damage across the island.
Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama declared a state of emergency in effect for 30 days. A nationwide curfew is in effect until emergency crews restore power and clear roads. A Royal Caribbean spokesperson said:
‘We are deeply saddened by the devastating situation in Fiji. We are closely monitoring the progress of the storm system which has necessitated changes to the itineraries of Voyager of the Seas and Legend of the Seas’ current eight-night South Pacific cruises. Voyager of the Seas departed Sydney on February 19 and Legend of the Seas departed Brisbane on February 18.’
Instead of calling at Mystery Island, the itinerary of Voyager of the Seas will include a call at Brisbane. Instead of calling at Port Vila and Mystery Island, Legend of the Seas will visit Champagne Bay and offer an extra day at sea.
P&O Cruises Australia announced it realised that the Fijian destinations were not in a position to receive new visitors at that time.
Princess Cruises Australia announced that on March 1 Dawn Princess was due to arrive in Denarau and it would continue to monitor the situation. The company is donating A$25,000 to relief efforts of Save the Children.
Captain Cook Cruises Fiji, which offers 3-, 4-, 7- and 11-night cruises from Denarau Marina with Reef Endeavour, hopes to resume its operations on February 27.