By ERIN SILVER
If you’re thinking of booking a cruise but worried about sailing during hurricane season, you have little to fear.
In fact, international cruise companies such as Carnival Cruise Line are well prepared for adverse weather. Carnival promises that its passengers can expect smooth sailing during the months of June through November, no matter what.
“We have a long, successful track record of sailing millions of guests safely around the world each year on our ships,” says Roger Frizzell, chief communications officer for Carnival Corporation. “We typically sail weekly all year long, so cruising is a tremendous vacation experience and a great value in any season.”
Cruise lines also have numerous safety protocols they follow even in advance of adverse weather, to ensure passengers feel safe and secure at all times. “Our top priorities as a company are compliance, environmental protection and the health, safety and wellbeing of our guests, crew members, shore-side employees and the communities we serve around the world,” Mr Frizzell said.
Safety measures followed by Carnival Cruise Line include:
A global fleet of operations centres that closely monitor their ships, the ocean, weather conditions and patterns and also the places their liners visit.
Staff are in constant contact with expert meteorologists.
Officers receive regular training at a world-class facility using the latest in high-tech cruise simulators. While there, they undergo exercises for all sea and weather conditions, including severe storms such as hurricanes.
To keep guests and crew members safe, the company works quickly to move ships out of harm’s way in advance of severe weather.
Carnival has a practice of working with the finest ship builders in the world; all their ships are made to withstand even the harshest weather and sea conditions.
In 2016 Carnival Corporation held the official opening of its Arison Maritime Center, “a world-class facility dedicated to providing safety training for its bridge and engineering officers responsible for the navigation and operation of the company’s fleet of cruise ships”.
Located just outside Amsterdam, Netherlands, the centrepiece of the seven-acre campus is the Center for Simulator Maritime Training Academy.
According to Marine Link, an online marine industry magazine:
“[It features] high-tech bridge and engine room simulators from Transas [a global market leader in ship and fleet operations solutions] that utilise the most innovative technology and training solutions in the maritime industry, modelled closely after the technology and practices used in the airline and other industries, the result of almost two years of research and development investment.
“Carnival recognised that a step change was required in the way seafarers are trained to improve safety at sea, according to Transas. The interaction of human factors on-board cruise vessels are some of the most complex in the maritime industry. Crews empowered with a solid foundation of generic core competencies ensure significantly better safety outcomes than those that rely heavily on established roles and procedures.”
As such, the facility houses simulators in various configurations which, together, provide training and assessment, Marine Link reported.
“It features four full-mission bridge simulators and four full-mission engine room simulators designed to provide a wide array of programming and simulated exercises that can recreate an extensive range of maritime scenarios.”
It all works together to give passengers an enjoyable time, even under threat from a hurricane, Mr Frizzell said.
“Our ships are temporarily moved to an alternative location [where there are] safe weather conditions, so our guests are typically able to enjoy their cruise vacation with minimal disruption, if any.”
It would be “extremely rare” for passengers to have to go through an actual storm but, should that happen during a cruise there are established safety protocol for guests and crew that would be enacted on the ship, Mr Frizzell said.
Cruising during the hurricane period can pay off, he added. There are often “attractive promotions being offered by our cruise lines in various seasons” which sometimes allow people travelling between June and November to enjoy a vacation at a discounted price.
As such, the hurricane season can be the best time to book a cruise. And should passengers be fortunate enough to nab a deal, they can then put the savings towards room upgrades, premium dining at restaurants on-board, shore excursions or any number of fantastic spa treatments.