With car hire in Spain available from under £2 per day in January and February, it’s no surprise that when people don’t generally holiday, for those that do, there are some real bargains to be had to entice customers when there might be good reason that in general people don’t holiday at that time of year. Airlines, travel agents and car hire suppliers all offer very cheap deals for ‘out of season’ to get bums on seats, hotel rooms filled, or rental cars out of the carpark to minimize waste and maximize profits. Cruise operators are not exempt from this strategy, with many cruise lines offering cheap deals during hurricane season in and around the Caribbean, so what are the risks and if is really worth the saving?
The Caribbean offers an excellent destination for cruise lines with its archipelago or islands and stop offs, a magnet for cruise passengers. There is one major problem with this destination however and that is getting to them. From January to March, the Caribbean offers a wonderful climate ideal for a beach holiday, however the route there from the major US mainland ports (New Jersey, Port Canaveral and Fort Lauderdale entails passage through an area of the Atlantic from Virginia to South Carolina during the hurricane season.
A question often asked is what are the risks of sailing along this route and is the lure of a cheap cruise worth it? A recent story that made headlines around the world is the recent abandonment of Royal Caribbean’s flagship vessel the ‘Anthem of the Seas
’ following it’s encounter with a hurricane. The ship ran into trouble just 24 hours into the 8 day cruise which left the 4,500 passengers and 1,500 crew in lockdown as the ship was tossed around like a dinghy in 30ft seas and 150mph
winds. Royal Caribbean have come under heavy criticism for the allowing the cruise to go ahead after the storm was widely forecast, however the cruise line reported it was far worse than forecast and the safety of the passengers, crew and the vessel was never compromised, something that many passengers have questioned given the damage sustained, resulting in the ship being grounded for a week. To add insult to this, a subsequent sailing was also cut short as the same ship again ran into a major storm on route to the same destination through the same stretch of sea.
So are cruise lines putting passengers and their ships at risk using this route during hurricane season? Possibly, you should remember, the operational costs of such cruise lines is staggering and cancelling a cruise will have a significant cost impact on the businesses, hence the cheap cruise deals offered at this time of year to encourage people to book and for the cruise line to sail for as many days of the year as possible to bring valuable income to offset the significant operational costs.
Whilst it’s rare that sailings are cancelled, it’s fair to say that you are at least at more risk of a cancelled holiday this time of year and anything more serious, however the reality is that sailing into an area susceptible to major storms and hurricanes in the height of the season may not be the wisest decision, no matter how good the deal may seem.