Cruise ships approaching Hawaii during Hurricane Lane

If Lane plows straight towards Hawaii, do any cruise ships turn around and go back where they came from? Or just skip Hawaii?
Docking seems pointless if all the islands are affected.
I assume some sort of refund would be made.

Cruise lines typically try to redirect their ships to avoid tropical storms and hurricanes. Their contracts often specify that they can change the ports and/or order of stops as they see fit and with no refund. Sometimes fees specific to a particular destination, such as port taxes, are refunded if a stop is missed.

If there is no nearby alternate stop the ship may just slow down to save fuel and proceed to the next port. But with few alternate destinations near Hawaii any detoured ships may need to divert early and rearrange their entire week or end up sailing in circles on a cruise to nowhere.

Cruise ships in the Caribbean have alternate ports of call if the weather is especially bad. I was on the Cayman Islands when a hurricane came through and there were (blissfully) no cruise ships for 3 days.

Hurricanes are more rare in Hawaii, but ships do change their plans when they happen:

No. Most cruise contracts specify that the ports of call are not guaranteed, and things like weather, revolutions, etc. can result in the ship cancelling or diverting to alternate ports, and the customers have no claims to a refund.

And when they do give some compensation, it’s almost never a cash refund – it would be credits toward the price of a future cruise.

Early this summer the Celebrity ship Silhouette had to miss St Petersburg on a Baltic cruise due to high winds. Considering that visiting St P is the main reason anyone takes this cruise, and the visit was scheduled for three nights, this pretty much ruined what is an expensive cruise, especially for non-Europeans who have to fly in.

No compensation was offered at all, although there were some special events on board while they hung around.

Keep in mind that cruise ships leaving US ports must return to that same port. In other words, a cruise ship leaving a port in Hawaii must (except in dire emergency) return to that same port. If they don’t, they will be guilty of some Federal laws that prohibit them from transporting people around the US, as opposed to just taking them out “for some fun.”

A more knowledgeable person can probably flesh this out, but this is why you can’t get a cruise from Miami to New Orleans.

That’s not accurate- I know there are one-way cruises between Alaska and Seattle, between Vancouver and LA, and Panama canal cruises between LA and Miami or San Diego and Tampa. And even San Francisco to Hawaii

For closed loop cruises ( one that begins and ends at the same US port), US citizens don’t need a passport to reenter the US. Government ID and a birth certificate are sufficient. Other cruises require a passport book or card or possibly an enhanced driver’s license.

The law in question is called the Jones Act, and while it doesn’t prevent a trip from one US port to another, it apparently requires at least one stop during such a trip at a foreign port. So, as I understand it, a cruise from Alaska to Seattle would need to have at least one stop in a foreign country (almost undoubtedly Canada).


Note that the law doesn’t apply if the ship was built in the US, flagged in the US, owned by a US company, and staffed by a US crew…but there are virtually no cruise ships which would qualify under this description.

Also, assuming your “between Vancouver and LA” reference is to a ship leaving from Vancouver, BC: that cruise is leaving from Canada, not the US. :smiley:

I was on a Caribbean cruise that had to skip a port due to bad weather. They did not have an alternate stop.

I was bummed because it was the port I was looking forward to the most. I had (booked through the ship) purchased a day pass for a luxury inclusive resort.

The cost of the excursion was refunded to me, as I had booked it through the cruise line. No other compensation was offered. The cruise ship, immediately after announcing the bad news - issued a new activity program for the day that included lots of additional activities and entertainment.

But theyre not going to issue refunds if the cruise runs its full length. It would be a dangerous practice as it could lead to the management second-guessing the ship captain for financial reasons. Even if they can’t override an individual decision it might lead to them penalizing captains that called off too many stops.

Both directions, actually. LA to Vancouver and then Vancouver to LA.

Thanks for the info! That’s why “I rely on the kindness of others.”

Most Alaska cruises simply operate from or to Vancouver, not Seattle.

LA to Hawaii cruises typically stop in Ensenada, Mexico. One route instead makes a quick out-and-back from Hawaii to Fanning Island to be legal.

Either way, Vancouver is still not in the United States, and that route still isn’t prohibited by the Jones Act.

I just took a look at the Passenger Vessel Services Act and it does stipulate pretty much what I originally thought. I’m still not sure if Hawaii is part of “North America” or not for the purposes of the PVSA. Posters are invited to look it up and judge for themselves.

Emphasis on the “virtually” - I don’t usually take cruises, but one of the few I have been on was a smaller (~100 passengers) ship that went Juneau -> Petersburg -> Gustavus -> Sitka, I assume it was US-owned & crewed in compliance with the law, and one of the crew mentioned it. There’s at least one! :slight_smile:

Norwegian (NCL) runs Honolulu round trip, no foreign ports.

Repositioning cruises that start or end in the US don’t have to go back to their first port. For example, A reposition from Copenhagen to Liberty, New Jersey.

Seattle to Alaska cruises often stop in Victoria.

Yes, they do, and they can do this specifically because they use the Pride of America, one of the only cruise ships that is US built and flagged, with a US crew.

I believe that happened with the St P miss as well. Some pax had paid deposits for independent cruises and they were left to sort it out for themselves. Most tour operators in St P do not ask for a deposit though.

Whoops! I think I confused myself and thought it was Vancouver ,Washington.
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The Jones act requires any ship carring cargo or goods going from a US port to a US port be an American flag ship. So a trip to Alaska under the Jones act would require every other port to be a non US port.
The cruise ships come under the Passenger Vessel Service Act. Which now requires at least one stop be in a foreign country. WE did an Alaska cruise out of SF and back to SF. SF to 3 ports of call in Alaska and our last port of call was Victoria Island in Canada, we stopped there for 4 hours. We also took a Hawaii cruise. SF to 4 ports of call in Hawaii and our last port of call was Mexico for 3 hours then back to SF. I do believe in both cases the ship was required to return to SF. No one is allowed to stay in any of the ports that we visited.
And yes you do need your passport even if the ship returns to the same port. You will be asked for it as you go through customs and immigration. If you only have your birth certificate and photo ID and no passport you will not be allowed to get on the ship.