Bahamas Ports Reopening After Hurricane Matthew

   October 12, 2016 ,   Accidents

While most cruise lines got back to their normal itineraries after Matthew, the hurricane-affected some cruise ports in the Bahamas, most notably Freeport on archipelago's Grand Bahama island.  

Local news reports state that Freeport sustained serious damage from Hurricane Matthew, which hit Grand Bahama as a Category 4 storm. Schools are not in session and power is still in the process of being restored with some officials saying it could take weeks. 

No cruises are currently going to Freeport as the port is closed. Norwegian Sky canceled a planned stop there, substituting Key West. Ships that are scheduled to visit Freeport in the next two weeks include Norwegian Sky again, as well as Carnival Elation, Carnival Pride and Carnival Victory. 

The port of Nassau reopened on Saturday, October 8. On that first day, however, cruise ships either bypassed it, including MSC Divina which went to Turks & Caicos instead, or swapped schedules to stop on Sunday. No current stop there have been canceled.

While the island of Haiti suffered the most from the storm, reporting more than 1,000 dead, the hurricane did not damage Labadee, Royal Caribbean's private port on the north side of country. In a letter given to passengers on Allure of the Seas which stopped there October 8, Royal Caribbean president Michael Bayley noted that staff had been able to remain onsite and the resort is in clean and safe condition. The company is providing aid supplies and on the letter, outlined ways that passengers could donate to the Pan-American Development Foundation, the line's NGO partner.

Below are the current statuses of islands and ports.  

  • Castaway Cay. Disney's private island is open and will be able to receive Disney Dream passengers tomorrow.
  • Coco Cay. Royal Caribbean's private island will welcome passengers back on Saturday, October 15, when Enchantment of the Seas makes its scheduled call. The company noted that the island sustained mostly cosmetic damage during the storm: "Employees who safely evacuated the site during the storm have returned and are cleaning up debris, reinstalling equipment and docks that had been removed before the storm, and tending to CocoCay's guest beaches. They are also repairing minor damage to fences and several buildings at the site."
  • Freeport. The port is closed. On its October 10 sailing, Norwegian Sky substituted its call  in Freeport with a stop in Key West. In a statement, Carnival Cruise Lines said they were reviewing upcoming itineraries to make adjustments. Said Norwegian Cruise Lines:  "Our destination services team is in close contact with officials and operators in Freeport.  Assessments are ongoing and we will be communicating with our guests soon if there are any impacts or itinerary changes."
  • Great Stirrup Cay. Norwegian Cruise Lines' private island, Great Stirrup Cay, is undergoing renovations through October 22 so the storm did not affect any calls slated there. A team is en route to assess the island, the line said.
  • Half Moon Cay. Carnival Corporation reports its private island, Half Moon Cay, sustained only minimal damage. It will be ready when Carnival Valor visits October 15.
  • Labadee. Calls to Labadee are proceeding as scheduled.
  • Nassau. The main port of the Bahamas is open with calls.  
  • Princess Cays. The private island for Princess Cruises does not have any scheduled calls until October 28.

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