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Changing Travel Plans Due To Hurricane Irma Skip to content

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Hurricane Irma Impacting Flights, Cruises

Flooded Roads, Damaged Boats, Saint Martin, French Antilles, Hurricane Irma Impacting Flights, Cruises


Hurricane Irma hit Saint Martin in the Caribbean Sea as a Category 5 storm, the most powerful seen in the Atlantic in over a decade. Images taken Wednesday show boats tipped and cars flooded.

With a powerful hurricane barreling toward the coast and the popular destination state of Florida, many people are scrambling to rearrange travel plans.

Already some major airlines have begun to waive fees to cancel or change airline tickets. If you have a flight booked, it’s important to call your airline — or check its website — for options to change your ticket. Some airlines are waiving fees only if your flight is in the projected path. Other airlines may be waiting to waive fees until the forecast is updated in the days before the projected landfall in the United States.

Hurricane Irma roared into the Caribbean with record force early Wednesday. Its 185 mph winds shook homes and flooded buildings along a path toward Puerto Rico.

The water is no place to be when a hurricane is on the move. As a result, a number of cruise lines have canceled or modified some sailings. Among those canceled, for example, are Royal Caribbean's Empress of the Seas voyage to Cuba and Enchantment of the Seas and Majesty of the Seas sailing to the Bahamas. The cruise line also changed return and departure dates of some trips. In a release, it said: “In an effort to give you advance notice of any changes while also taking into account the most accurate forecast information, we will be providing updates on any impacted sailings no later than two days in advance of departure.”

Carnival, Norwegian and Disney cruise lines also have canceled some cruises, according to Cruise Critic, a cruise review and information website. It also reported that a number of Florida ports where cruise ships dock are taking precautions in preparation for Hurricane Irma.

So what happens if your cruise is canceled or modified? Cruise Critic says as a general rule passengers are not entitled to compensation for storm-related itinerary changes, but that the cruise lines may offer refunds or future credits. The website also notes that while travel insurance may allow some passengers to cancel their cruise on their own, a standard cruise line policy typically does not permit passengers to cancel and receive a full refund.

If the hurricane is forcing you to cancel your trip, don’t forget about other reservations. It’s important to check with hotels and rental car companies about their cancellation policies, as well as any tours you booked for your vacation.

Depending on the magnitude of the hurricane — and where it hits — your travel plans could be affected. AARP will continue to update you as the hurricane approaches.

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