dfwjim1
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Do Cruise Ships Avoid Severe Weather?

Wed Sep 09, 2015 4:59 pm

Of course in the world of aviation, aircraft crews go out of their way to avoid severe weather/thunderstorms but I am
curious if cruise ships do the same thing? Obviously cruise ships are not as fast and maneuverable so do they try to change
course if bad weather is ahead or do they just push on and make their way through the weather?

Thanks for your responses.
 
PlymSpotter
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RE: Do Cruise Ships Avoid Severe Weather?

Wed Sep 09, 2015 6:28 pm

All ships try to avoid bad weather. Not just for comfort/safety, but because you progress is significantly reduced in a heavy swell, so it's generally quicker to navigate a course around the worst of a storm if possible.


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garnetpalmetto
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RE: Do Cruise Ships Avoid Severe Weather?

Wed Sep 09, 2015 6:36 pm

Yes - Royal Caribbean, for instance, altered several itineraries as a result of Hurricane Danny or Erika (forget which one now) - Freedom of the Seas, for instance did a Western Caribbean itinerary instead of the scheduled Eastern Caribbean itinerary.
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Dreadnought
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RE: Do Cruise Ships Avoid Severe Weather?

Wed Sep 09, 2015 6:42 pm

Yes they do. First of all, they are not built for it.

There is a technical difference between Ocean Liners and Cruise Ships. Ocean Liners are designed to keep scheduled service between points, whatever the weather. The steel used in their hulls is thicker, their drafts are deeper, and they have no trouble navigating the North Atlantic in rough weather, for example. Modern cruise ships with their shallow drafts, huge surface areas and thinner constructions would not fare as well.

As I can recall, the only ship recently built to ocean liner standards is the Queen Mary 2.
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DocLightning
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RE: Do Cruise Ships Avoid Severe Weather?

Wed Sep 09, 2015 6:49 pm

Quoting Dreadnought (Reply 3):
There is a technical difference between Ocean Liners and Cruise Ships. Ocean Liners are designed to keep scheduled service between points, whatever the weather. The steel used in their hulls is thicker, their drafts are deeper, and they have no trouble navigating the North Atlantic in rough weather, for example. Modern cruise ships with their shallow drafts, huge surface areas and thinner constructions would not fare as well.

As I can recall, the only ship recently built to ocean liner standards is the Queen Mary 2.

Correct. While a cruise ship could survive a hurricane, it would cause severe damage the ship and injuries to passengers.

Now, that said, the captain of QM2 is not going to take her through a hurricane, either. But she's certainly designed to handle much worse weather while maintaining speed and comfort than cruise ships are.
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Dano1977
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RE: Do Cruise Ships Avoid Severe Weather?

Wed Sep 09, 2015 8:14 pm

I'm not sure if this is urban legend or true.

But i'm sure their was a cruise ship that got caught in the north atlantic storm, and afterwards it had to be docked due to some skin wrinkling and other damage.
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OA260
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RE: Do Cruise Ships Avoid Severe Weather?

Wed Sep 09, 2015 8:34 pm

Quoting DocLightning (Reply 4):
Now, that said, the captain of QM2 is not going to take her through a hurricane, either

We hit rough seas across the TATL sailing and you would hardly know it. Handled it brilliantly.
It was shortly after the big hurricane that struck New York a few years back. Prior to the hurricane arriving QM2 left NYC early so as to avoid it.

Other cruise lines change ports accordingly often for another destination. Thats the beauty of cruise ships rather than a land based holiday .  
 
Ken777
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RE: Do Cruise Ships Avoid Severe Weather?

Wed Sep 09, 2015 9:13 pm

Fortunately the really bad severe weather is generally slow in developing and ship captains (and their company) have time to evaluate the risks and take action to avoid them.

Looking back to when I was in the Navy the projections of hurricanes and typhoons was not near what average consumers have today. Between the satellite imaging and all the weather reports that ships at see send in the information is excellent and dangers can be avoided.
 
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RE: Do Cruise Ships Avoid Severe Weather?

Thu Sep 10, 2015 1:21 am

 
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fr8mech
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RE: Do Cruise Ships Avoid Severe Weather?

Thu Sep 10, 2015 1:41 am

Quoting Dreadnought (Reply 3):
There is a technical difference between Ocean Liners and Cruise Ships.

I love learning new things, in subjects that I have only a passing interest in. Helps me keep my rating as "Master of Useless Information". Much harder to do in the age of smartphones.

I've been on a cruise ship during a small storm. Didn't ride very well, but it didn't last very long either, couple of hours. I suspect the captain and/or the cruise line decided it was better to push through then go around.
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StarAC17
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RE: Do Cruise Ships Avoid Severe Weather?

Thu Sep 10, 2015 2:10 am

Quoting dfwjim1 (Thread starter):
Obviously cruise ships are not as fast and maneuverable so do they try to change
course if bad weather is ahead or do they just push on and make their way through the weather?

You bet they do and as a disclaimer on your tickets the cruise line reserves the right to miss any of the scheduled ports of call for any reason.

With cruises the ship itself is often the destination and not the ports of call. Like anything if the experience on the ship is bad then people are less likely to recommend a cruise to their friends and family. Also these ships are built with stabilizers (essentially underwater wings) on them to ensure the ride is a smooth as possible. Cruise lines know that one of their biggest detractors are those whom won't go because of the fear of getting sea-sick, have passengers whom go on a cruise with that fear and it becomes true because of an easily avoidable storm and they aren't coming back.
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blueflyer
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RE: Do Cruise Ships Avoid Severe Weather?

Thu Sep 10, 2015 2:25 am

Quoting Dreadnought (Reply 3):
First of all, they are not built for it.

So when operators move cruise ships from ocean to ocean in between seasons (say Caribbean in winter, Mediterranean in the summer), do they take particular steps or just hope to avoid rough weather along the way?
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fr8mech
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RE: Do Cruise Ships Avoid Severe Weather?

Thu Sep 10, 2015 2:36 am

Quoting blueflyer (Reply 11):
do they take particular steps or just hope to avoid rough weather along the way

I don't think there is much "hoping" to it when dealing with a multimillion dollar asset. I suspect they utilize weather prognosticators, just like the airlines do...except these guys have to look further into the future.

The cruise line would plan accordingly.
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seb146
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RE: Do Cruise Ships Avoid Severe Weather?

Thu Sep 10, 2015 6:05 am

We went on an Alaska cruise a few years ago. There was a storm on the way up and the seas were rough. Passengers were not allowed on the outside decks. So many people were seasick. I remember watching the CCTV from bed and seeing the ship move through wave after wave. The pools were sloshing around and losing water.

The funny part was, after about 30 hours of rough seas, it was about 3AM and it felt like the ship was stopped. So many people wandering about trying to figure out why there was no more pitching and turbulence. I got on deck and saw lights on both sides.
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fr8mech
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RE: Do Cruise Ships Avoid Severe Weather?

Thu Sep 10, 2015 6:10 am

Quoting seb146 (Reply 13):
The pools were sloshing around and losing water

The sickest I've ever felt on a ship was while I was running on a treadmill, overlooking the pool. We were in some heavy weather and the pool water motion was ridiculous and exaggerated.
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jetwet1
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RE: Do Cruise Ships Avoid Severe Weather?

Thu Sep 10, 2015 6:11 am

A cruise ship will try to avoid severe weather at all costs, it's not good for the ship and it's not good for the passengers.

Thunder storms, not so much, those really pose no threat to a modern liner.

Quoting Dano1977 (Reply 5):
But i'm sure their was a cruise ship that got caught in the north atlantic storm, and afterwards it had to be docked due to some skin wrinkling and other damage.

There have been a few that have had a fight with mother nature and come off worse.

Quoting Ken777 (Reply 7):
Fortunately the really bad severe weather is generally slow in developing and ship captains (and their company) have time to evaluate the risks and take action to avoid them.

Most of the time yes, however, mother nature loves to remind us humans who is really in charge, back in 1982 I was a child, my father was the food and beverage manager onboard the Song of America, we join him in Helsinki and made the voyage across the Atlantic, there were no passengers, only crew, a few families and a whole load of workers from the yard finishing up. A couple of days out from Miami we were cruising along, not a cloud in the sky when the ship turned hard to port, you could feel/hear the engines power up, very exciting for a young child, but on the horizon I could see a storm building, it was very strange and kind of scary, what had once been a massive cruise ship to me suddenly became a very piece of solid ground, that night was not a lot of fun, but we were able to out run the worst of it.

Then you have storms like Hurricane Ivan, we were scheduled to get married, spend a few days down in the Keys, then board a ship for a 1 week cruise, of course the day before the wedding the Keys get evacuated, so we had to make new plans, but amazingly the cruise was still ok, we sailed out in fine weather, only to find that Ivan wasn't done, even though it had made landfall in Alabama, it had made it's way across the SE of the US, gone back out to sea, hooked back around and took another run at Florida, we sat on the Zuiderdam for 10 days, once a day we would swing in close to Key West so everyone could run out and use their cellphones, then back out to open ocean while the powers that be tried to figure out Ivan's next move and when the ports would reopen.

The ship ran out of lettuce and Bacardi...

Quoting Ken777 (Reply 7):
Looking back to when I was in the Navy the projections of hurricanes and typhoons was not near what average consumers have today.

Even going back into the '90's it wasn't as good as we have now.

Quoting blueflyer (Reply 11):
So when operators move cruise ships from ocean to ocean in between seasons (say Caribbean in winter, Mediterranean in the summer), do they take particular steps or just hope to avoid rough weather along the way?
Quoting fr8mech (Reply 12):
I suspect they utilize weather prognosticators, just like the airlines do...except these guys have to look further into the future.

Yep, they plan the routes out using historical data, but adjust it based on current weather patterns.
 
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DocLightning
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RE: Do Cruise Ships Avoid Severe Weather?

Thu Sep 10, 2015 6:43 am

Quoting blueflyer (Reply 11):
So when operators move cruise ships from ocean to ocean in between seasons (say Caribbean in winter, Mediterranean in the summer), do they take particular steps or just hope to avoid rough weather along the way?

They can do a crossing in normal Atlantic weather, but it won't be comfortable. They do avoid storms as best as possible and they take a southerly route (which takes longer) to avoid the nasty chop.

They are still ocean-going ships and they can handle a good gale; but that's not their main purpose.

Quoting jetwet1 (Reply 15):


The ship ran out of lettuce and Bacardi...

Admittedly, not the worst way to get stuck on a vacation. Free lodging and entertainment for three extra days.
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OA260
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RE: Do Cruise Ships Avoid Severe Weather?

Thu Sep 10, 2015 9:23 am

Quoting blueflyer (Reply 11):
So when operators move cruise ships from ocean to ocean in between seasons (say Caribbean in winter, Mediterranean in the summer), do they take particular steps or just hope to avoid rough weather along the way?

Quite a lot of cruise lines now do TATL from say Barcelona/Rome/Southampton and take the Southerly route with some stops in the Caribbean and then to Miami / Fort.L etc... I did 11 nights Barcelona-Miami and we stopped in Lisbon and then Madeira. Lovely trip and very good weather that was in November time. Obviously if you are heading to NYC they cant really go that far South but enough to avoid storms usually.
 
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csturdiv
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RE: Do Cruise Ships Avoid Severe Weather?

Thu Sep 10, 2015 11:23 am

Earlier this year there was a cyclone like storm that hit the NSW area and lower Queesnland states of Australia. Waters in Sydney Harbour were so rough that the Harbour was closed. After it was closed a cruise ship arrived from New Zealand and had to ride out the storm out in the Tasman Sea off the entrance of the harbour. I think it was out there at least 12 hours or so until it could dock.
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IH8BY
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RE: Do Cruise Ships Avoid Severe Weather?

Fri Sep 11, 2015 7:19 pm

I was on an Eastern Caribbean cruise (my first cruise) on Caribbean Princess in October last year out of Ft Lauderdale. Planned itinerary was FLL - Princess Cays (Bahamas) - At Sea - St Maarten - St Thomas - Grand Turk - FLL. On the morning after Princess Cays, a sea day, the captain spoke over the PA system, including cabins, to announce that the officers and Princess' operations team had been tracking Tropical Storm Gonzalo, which was feared to turn into a hurricane and whose path was basically our itinerary from St Maarten upwards! As such, they had taken the decision to change to a Western Caribbean itinerary, calling at Ocho Rios, Grand Cayman, and Cozumel before returning to FLL, so basically completely avoiding the area where the storm might fall.

Naturally I was disappointed because a) I wanted to visit the Eastern ports which seemed significantly more interesting to me, safer, and easier to explore independently than the Western ports and b) come on... St Maarten! What did you think I was hoping to do?

However I booked a cruise in mid October knowing there was always a chance it could happen. I'd rather have slightly inferior ports than four days of weatherbeaten hell! The cruise was good value and, in spite of the itinerary change, I had an absolutely fantastic trip. Seas were calm, sun was out, and service was excellent. All it really meant is that I need to go back another time to try for the Eastern Caribbean instead...

[Edited 2015-09-11 12:39:30]
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DocLightning
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RE: Do Cruise Ships Avoid Severe Weather?

Sat Sep 12, 2015 4:09 am

Quoting OA260 (Reply 17):
Quite a lot of cruise lines now do TATL from say Barcelona/Rome/Southampton and take the Southerly route with some stops in the Caribbean and then to Miami / Fort.L etc... I

Right. They have to reposition the ships. For the TATL leg they usually sell tickets. The only time they don't is when sometimes they use a transoceanic leg for interior refurbishment, which they did with Oasis of the Seas.

Cruise ships are not *designed* for rough seas, but they are designed to survive them.
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OA260
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RE: Do Cruise Ships Avoid Severe Weather?

Sat Sep 12, 2015 10:47 am

Quoting DocLightning (Reply 20):
Right. They have to reposition the ships. For the TATL leg they usually sell tickets. The only time they don't is when sometimes they use a transoceanic leg for interior refurbishment, which they did with Oasis of the Seas.

They used to be really cheap. Something like $400-600 for a TATL repositioning. In recent years they have become really popular in their own right and prices have soared. Its a great holiday and those sea days are wonderful.
 
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RE: Do Cruise Ships Avoid Severe Weather?

Sat Sep 12, 2015 11:18 am

Quoting Dreadnought (Reply 3):
As I can recall, the only ship recently built to ocean liner standards is the Queen Mary 2.
Quoting DocLightning (Reply 4):
Correct. While a cruise ship could survive a hurricane, it would cause severe damage the ship and injuries to passengers.
Now, that said, the captain of QM2 is not going to take her through a hurricane, either. But she's certainly designed to handle much worse weather while maintaining speed and comfort than cruise ships are.

True. I have experienced moderate storms, Beaufort 7-8 on board QM2, and Beaufort 8 on her forerunner QE2, both in the Bay of Biskay. While a bit shaky, it wasnt bad enough to spoil my appetite, and big Mary behaved particularly well. I am quite sensible to seasickness, once spending three days in a cabin on a smaller, less stable, normal cruise ship, in less stormy conditions.
 
johns624
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RE: Do Cruise Ships Avoid Severe Weather?

Sun Sep 13, 2015 1:48 am

Quoting StarAC17 (Reply 10):
With cruises the ship itself is often the destination and not the ports of call

Maybe on Caribbean cruises, but not on the three that I've been on. I've done Alaska, the Baltic and Norway. The ports are what's important, not the partying.
 
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TheRedBaron
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RE: Do Cruise Ships Avoid Severe Weather?

Sun Sep 13, 2015 3:10 am

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oUAUxxafZG4

Cruise ships are really bad in rough seas or high wind seas...

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bananaboy
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RE: Do Cruise Ships Avoid Severe Weather?

Mon Sep 14, 2015 6:22 am

Absolutely they avoid bad weather. It's very much a team effort between shoreside and ship teams. The Captain will obviously have ultimate responsibility for safety of passengers and crew but the shoreside teams will be working to plan an alternate itinerary that will have berthing available, opportunities for guests to do shore activities, is suitable for the safe operation of the ship etc etc

It feels like is been a busy year so far for itinerary changes. Some weeks we have had 4 ships where new itineraries have been planned and released to guests. A couple of times, the path of the storm has subsequently changed and itinerary has then reverted back to that originally planned.   . Have seen quite a few changes this year related to Hawaii - feels like more than usual.

I suppose this is major benefit of a cruise..if you're in a hotel, can't exactly get out of the way.

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