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Irma recovery: Key West could be off cruise schedules for weeks

Irma recovery: Key West could be off cruise schedules for weeks

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Take a look at parts of Key West, Fla. after Hurricane Irma’s impact.

USA TODAY

Sections of the roof are seen peeled off on the Bayside Hotel on Sept. 13, 2017, in Key West, Fla.

, after Hurricane Irma. (Photo: Rodney White and Michael Zamora, The Des Moines Register, USA TODAY NETWORK)

It could be up to a month until cruise ships return to Key West, Fla.

The popular cruise destination, currently in the midst of a massive clean-up in the wake of Hurricane Irma and closed to visitors, is aiming to be back up and running for cruisers and other tourists by Oct. 20, according to a posting updated Wednesday on the Keys tourism website.

 

Already, Royal Caribbean has canceled all of its Key West calls through the middle of October.  

Royal Caribbean‘s Tampa-based Empress of the Seas will substitute an extra day at sea for Key West calls on sailings departing on Sept.

23 and 27, and Oct. 2, 7 and 11, the line announced this week.

A second Royal Caribbean ship that regularly visits Key West, the Miami-based Enchantment of the Seas, will substitute a call at Freeport in the Bahamas for Key West on sailings departing on Sept. 25, and Oct.

2 and 9. 

More:  Royal Caribbean begins pulling Key West from itineraries | Now it’s Maria’s turn to mess up cruise itineraries | St.

Thomas, St. Martin off schedules for weeks 

Cruise giant Carnival has been slower to officially cancel upcoming calls at Key West but also is likely to skip the port for some time.

Three Carnival ships — Carnival Breeze, Carnival Victory and Carnival Paradise — bypassed the town this week. 

“At the present time, we do not expect to resume calls in Key West next week,” Carnival spokeswoman Jennifer De La Cruz told USA TODAY on Wednesday.

Beyond that, she said, it’s still to be determined on when Carnival might be able to return.

Royal Caribbean is allowing passengers on the Empress sailings to cancel the trips for a full refund in the form of a future cruise credit.

 

In a travel advisory posted Tuesday on its Facebook page, Royal Caribbean called it a great sign that Key West expects to be open by Oct. 20.

 

“We will stay closely connected with the local authorities and provide you with updates as we receive them,” Royal Caribbean said. 

Key West is just one of several major cruise destinations that are off ship schedules for an extended period in the wake of Irma.

Even harder hit were St. Thomas and St.

Maarten — the Dutch side of the island of St. Martin.

 

More:  Grand Turk not quite ready for cruise ships | Irma showed up, and this cruise went to the dogs | Royal Caribbean expands commitment to relief effort 

Both St. Thomas and St.

Maarten were devastated by the storm, which roared across the Caribbean two weeks ago. Some officials have hinted it could be several months before they are ready to receive tourists.

In an interview with NPR last week, the governor of the U.S.

Virgin Islands said he hoped St. Thomas could be back up and running for tourism by January.

In addition to Key West, St. Thomas and St.

Maarten, cruise ship destinations significantly affected by Irma include St. John in the U.

S. Virgin Islands; Barbuda; St.

Barts; and Tortola in the British Virgin Islands.  

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In addition to water and other drinks, Adventure of the Seas on Sept. 10 brought canned foods, shelf stable milk, gloves, rags, line, batteries, sanitizer, plastic cups, utensils, toilet paper and other much-needed provisions to St.

Martin. 
Royal Caribbean International
In addition to water and other drinks, Adventure of the Seas brought canned foods, shelf stable milk, gloves, rags, line, batteries, sanitizer, plastic cups, utensils, toilet paper and other much-needed provisions to St.

Martin. 
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