Ike causing cruise ships to change course

Sept. 10, 2008 at 12:58 PM
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MIAMI, Sept. 10 (UPI) -- South Florida's cruise industry says Hurricane Ike is forcing changes in itineraries so ships can avoid the massive storm.

Miami-based cruise lines Carnival and Royal Caribbean have been making changes in their schedules due to Ike, the Miami Herald reported Wednesday.

Carnival says its ship Liberty switched to a western Caribbean itinerary when it left Miami Saturday instead of its original plan to head eastward to St. Thomas in the Virgin Islands, San Juan, Puerto Rico, and Grand Turk.

"We're making decisions based on forecasted tracks for the storms and sometimes we have to alter the altered itinerary because they don't always follow the forecasts," said Carnival spokesman Tim Gallagher.

Royal Caribbean has been holding two daily conference calls with a team of some 20 staffers to manage the storm situations.

Company spokesman Michael Sheehan says whenever possible one destination is swapped for another, although occasionally a ship may have to make fewer ports of call.

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