No longer a hurricane, Rick still causing trouble for cruise ships near Mexico

October 20th, 2009 | by admin | 1,974 views

http://blogs.usatoday.com/.a/6a00d83451b46269e20120a600ea5a970b-piOne of the most powerful storms ever recorded along the Pacific coast of Mexico has lost a lot of its might over the past 24 hours but continues to affect cruise ships in the region.

Tropical Storm Rick – a rare Category 5 hurricane with winds of 180 mph as recently as Sunday – now has maximum sustained winds of just 65 mph. As of 8:00 AM ET, it was 240 miles south-southwest of Cabo San Lucas and heading to the north-northeast at 6 mph.

The storm has caused a number of ships to alter course over the past two days:

– The Carnival Splendor, which departed Long Beach, Calif., on Sunday, made an unexpected call in Ensenada Monday instead of steaming southward toward the area of the storm. The 3,006-passenger ship will visit Puerto Vallarta on Thursday and Cabo San Lucas on Friday. A call in Mazatlan has been canceled.

– The Carnival Spirit, which departed San Diego on Sunday, is delaying a port call in Acapulco scheduled for Wednesday to avoid crossing the storm’s path. The 2,124-passenger vessel instead will visit Acapulco on Thursday, and a call scheduled for Thursday in Zijutanejo/Ixtapa has been canceled. The Spirit will visit Manzanillo on Friday as scheduled and also make an unplanned stop in Long Beach, Calif., on Oct. 25.

– The Sapphire Princess, which departed Los Angeles on Saturday, has heading north instead of south this week to avoid the storm. The 2,670-passenger ship will spend today in San Francisco before sailing for Catalina Island, San Diego and Ensenada, Mexico instead of a scheduled itinerary that included calls in Puerto Vallarta, Mazatlan and Cabo San Lucas.

– The 2,240-passenger Norwegian Star skipped Monday’s call at Cabo San Lucas due to the approaching storm and remained at sea, but a spokeswoman says the vessel will go ahead with a visit to Mazatlan today.

Also in the region are Royal Caribbean’s Radiance of the Seas and Mariner of the Seas, Holland America’s Veendam and Statendam; and Norwegian Cruise Line’s Norwegian Star.

As recently as Monday morning, the National Hurricane Center was warning that Rick would remain a “dangerous” hurricane as it approached the Baja Peninsula late today. But the storm lost power much more rapidly than expected during the day Monday and overnight.

Cruise Loggers, are you sailing along the Pacific Coast this week? We’d like to hear from you.

Illustration courtesy National Hurricane Center

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