There she blows and there she goes on Matey! The worst is over as Irene vented her rage on land and sea last week. The roar of the high waves impacted many including travelers by air or sea.Let’s talk openly. Being informed or educated is the key to alleviate fears of all kinds, but in particular, when traveling the seas in bad weather. So, let’s look into hurricanes, cyclones, typhoons, and cruise-liners in the wake of Hurricane Irene. Land lovers pretty much understand tornadoes. However, how does it differ from a hurricane?

Hurricanes are defined by the following characteristics:

• They are tropical, meaning that they are generated in tropical areas of the Atlantic Ocean near the Equator.

• They are cyclonic, meaning that their wind’s swirl around a central eye. Wind direction is counterclockwise (west to east) in the Northern Hemisphere and clockwise (east to west) in the Southern Hemisphere (more about this later).

• They are low-pressure systems. The eye of a hurricane is always a low-pressure area. The lowest barometric pressures ever recorded to have occurred inside hurricanes.

• The winds swirling around the center of the storm have a sustained speed of at least 74 mph.
Now, Let’s talk about the Cruise Lines in the event of Hurricanes. Cruise Lines have a top priority, and that is the safety of its passengers and crew. The only time the Cruise Lines will cancel a cruise is if it is absolutely necessary. You have heard of storm chasers? Well, it is a bit like that on a cruise ships. They work “around” the storm not through it.

Normally, the cruise lines watch the weather report prior to sailing and only notify passengers approximately two days in advance of the departure date. Then, thanks to mass media, the computer keeps the ships updated on the weather.What happens when a storm is in raging pursuit? The cruise line usually reroutes your itinerary away from the path of the storm, for they leave a day earlier or later depending on the circumstances. Most people are not aware that hurricanes are very localized. They hit in one area while outside of that projected area, the sea is calm. Storms can be tracked for days, so there is not any time that the crew is unaware of a fast-changing pace of a storm.

Miami has a National Hurricane Center, who uses specialized equipment to anticipate what the storm is doing and monitor weather conditions. So, communication is the key to safety in this instance.

Hurricane season has it advantages for cruisers, and now that we have assured you of your safety – your best deals are during the fall months, late August through mid-December so economically, it is the best time to purchase a cruise. In all reality, statistically speaking, even though Irene just paid us a visit, the chances are slim for hurricanes to be an issue while taking your cruise. You have to remain positive that if the ship encounters any bad weather, they are warned enough in advance to handle the situation by either not putting you on shore, alternating the original itinerary, or possibly arriving at your destination a day or so early, or a day or so late.

How safe are the cruise ships during a storm? All Cruise lines have a strategy to avoid rather than confront a storm. Your job is to start monitoring the weather one week prior to your trip via the weather channel or by calling your travel agent at Cruise Planners/American Express and get their expert advice on making your arrangements. Remember, information is a valuable tool at all times, but especially when cruising the water contrary to swimming in it.