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Cruise lines cancel voyages as Hurricane Ian hits Florida

By Kate Gibson

Edited By Irina Ivanova

Updated on: September 28, 2022 / 3:36 PM EDT / MoneyWatch

Cruise operators canceled trips and rerouted ships as Hurricane Ian made landfall in Florida, where those in the storm's path readied on Wednesday for storm surges and potentially deadly winds . 

Carnival Cruise Line canceled a planned Thursday cruise on its Carnival Paradise ship leaving from Tampa, where the port is currently closed to maritime traffic, along with a sailing the same day from Jacksonville. Passengers will receive a full refund and a 25% credit for future cruises, Miami-based Carnival said in a  post  on its website. 

Hurricane Ian's "extremely dangerous" eyewall was moving onshore in southwest Florida late Wednesday morning, just hours after it grew into a  Category 4  storm. It was packing sustained winds of 155 mph — making it just shy of a Category 5 hurricane, which is the most powerful storm possible.

  • Live Updates: Hurricane Ian's "extremely dangerous" eyewall moves onshore in southwest Florida

Carnival Elation, which departed the now-shuttered Jacksonville port on Saturday, is changing its itinerary around the Bahamas to avoid Hurricane Ian and will stay at sea until Jacksonville's JaxPort reopens. Carnival Paradise, which left the Port of Tampa Bay on Saturday and was in Cozumel on Wednesday, said it will extend its current trip until the storm has passed and the port in Tampa reopens, possibly on Saturday. 

A planned cruise by the Carnival Liberty leaving from Port Canaveral was also canceled, with the port closed and not expected to reopen until Friday. Carnival cruises that left from Mobile, Alabama; Miami; and New Orleans are rerouting their ports of call.

🚩Sept 30 Sailing of the Disney Wish is CANCELED. Guests of that sailing will automatically receive a full refund back to your original form of payment.  DCL is also providing each guest with a 20% future cruise discount. #disneycruiseline #HurricaneIan #Ian pic.twitter.com/JazFEwcNTH — MickeyBlog.com (@MickeyBlog_) September 28, 2022

Disney Cruise Line late Tuesday canceled its Friday sailing of the Disney Wish due to forecasted weather conditions for Port Canaveral and Central Florida. It said customers would be fully reimbursed and offered a 20% discount on future cruises. 

Royal Caribbean postponed Thursday's Mariner of the Seas departure from Port Canaveral until Friday, but that plan is subject to change. 

Norwegian Cruise Line rerouted its Norwegian Sky to Puerto Rico and the British Virgin Islands from a planned itinerary that had included Grand Cayman, Honduras, Belize and Mexico. The line also canceled a 10-day Caribbean sailing on Norwegian Getaway that was to depart Thursday from Orlando, it stated on its site.

The high seas and winds also prompted the Big M Casino to cancel all of its cruises Thursday, Friday and Saturday, tweeted the company, which operates gambling vessels from Little River, South Carolina. 

Tampa Bay and St. Petersburg were among the cities bracing for the worst of the storm, but the  latest forecasts suggested  Ian would make landfall slightly further south, with the Ft. Myers region at risk of a possible direct hit. Given the size and strength of the hurricane and the storm surge it's expected to drive into coastal areas, officials were clear that much of Florida remained at risk. Life-threatening impacts are expected and power outages are occurring.

  • Cruise Ship

Kate Gibson is a reporter for CBS MoneyWatch in New York, where she covers business and consumer finance.

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Hurricane Ian disrupts major cruise line itineraries. Here are the major changes so far.

cruise hurricane news

Major cruise lines have adjusted plans due to Hurricane Ian , in some cases changing nearly entire itineraries or canceling sailings altogether.

Norwegian Cruise Line rerouted a Sept. 25 round-trip cruise from Miami with scheduled stops in George Town, Grand Cayman, Roatán, Honduras, and Harvest Caye, Belize, and Cozumel, Mexico, a spokesperson told USA TODAY in an email. The Norwegian Sky will instead visit San Juan, Puerto Rico, Saint Thomas in the U.S. Virgin Islands, Tortola in the British Virgin Islands and Nassau in the Bahamas.

"The safety and security of our guests and crew is always our number one priority," the spokesperson said, adding that passengers with shore excursions booked through Norwegian at impacted ports would be refunded via their onboard accounts.

The cruise line also canceled a 10-day Caribbean sailing on Norwegian Getaway scheduled to leave on Thursday from Orlando, Florida, according to a statement on its website .

MSC Cruises also made major changes to MSC Seashore's Sept. 24 sailing from Miami, swapping its Western Caribbean itinerary for Eastern Caribbean stops, including the line's private island, Ocean Cay, Nassau in the Bahamas and Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic.

'We are not OK': In Comerío, Puerto Rico, Hurricane Fiona has left people without water, food and medicine

See the scope:  Hurricane Fiona's damage in Puerto Rico in charts and graphics

"Guests received a full refund of any shore excursion booked for destinations the ship will no longer be calling at, and shore excursions booked for Ocean Cay were automatically rescheduled for the new call date there," MSC spokesperson Field Sutton said in an email.

MSC Divina also skipped a stop at Ocean Cay Tuesday, making its way to Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic, instead, and "tentatively plans" to head back to Florida's Port Canaveral on Friday, a day later than planned, Sutton said. A three-night sailing on the ship scheduled for Thursday has been canceled as well.

The changes come after Hurricane Fiona disrupted cruise schedules, forcing Norwegian to reroute a cruise bound for Bermuda to Canada  last week.

Other major lines such as Carnival Cruise Line and Royal Caribbean International have similarly altered itineraries as a result of Hurricane Ian.

What other cruise lines have made changes?

►   Carnival canceled three sailings due to port closures in Jacksonville, Tampa, and   Port Canaveral in Florida. The cruise line called off four-day sailings on Carnival Elation and Carnival Paradise from Jacksonville and Tampa, respectively, and a three-day trip on Carnival Liberty from Port Canaveral, spokesperson Matt Lupoli said in an email. Carnival Elation and Carnival Paradise were scheduled to leave Thursday, with Carnival Liberty departing on Friday, and all passengers will get full refunds and 25% future cruise credits.

The line delayed a Saturday sailing on Carnival Sunshine as well. The ship will now leave on Sunday, due to a port closure in Charleston, South Carolina, that has delayed its return. Passengers will "receive a one-day pro-rated refund of our cruise fare and a $50 onboard credit," and those who decide not to sail will get a full refund, according to Lupoli.

Carnival Elation also swapped its scheduled visit to Princess Cays for a day at sea Tuesday and visited Freeport in the Bahamas Wednesday in place of a planned sea day, during a sailing from Jacksonville. The ship, which had been scheduled to come back on Thursday, is set to dock in Jacksonville when the port reopens, which Lupoli said is expected to take place Saturday. 

Carnival Liberty did not stop at Princess Cays Wednesday during a sailing from Port Canaveral, and Carnival Horizon did not stop at Grand Cayman on its sailing from Miami, opting for a sea day instead. The ship is expected to get back to Port Canaveral Saturday, one day later than scheduled.

Carnival Paradise, which is on a sailing from Tampa, extended its Tuesday stop in Cozumel through Wednesday. The vessel is set to dock in Tampa when the port reopens. That is expected to take place Saturday, though the ship had been scheduled to return Thursday.

Carnival Sunrise also skipped a stop in Bimini in the Bahamas Wednesday during a sailing from Miami, spending a day at sea instead.

Lupoli said Carnival Ecstasy, which left from Mobile, Alabama, Monday, would reorder its visits to Cozumel and Progreso, Mexico, stopping in Progreso first. Another ship, Carnival Glory, departed New Orleans on Sept. 25 and was set to stop in Mahogany Bay and Roatán, Honduras, as well as Belize and Cozumel, rather than its previously planned stops, which included Key West, Florida, and Nassau.

► Royal Caribbean International has adjusted plans and its ships have skipped several ports as a result of the storm. Mariner of the Seas' Thursday sailing from Port Canaveral – which is currently closed – will now depart on Saturday, the cruise line said on its website . The ship will not visit Nassau, but will visit Perfect Day at CocoCay on Sunday.

Independence of the Seas' Friday voyage will now leave on Saturday, as well, and will not visit Perfect Day at CocoCay, but will stop in Nassau on Sunday as scheduled.

Those who sail will be compensated in on board credits, while passengers who decide to cancel can get a full refund.

Mariner of the Seas also skipped a visit to Labadee, Haiti, Monday on a sailing from Florida's Port Canaveral, a Royal Caribbean Group spokesperson said in an email. The spokesperson said   Allure of the Seas would skip its scheduled visit to Roatán Tuesday during its sailing from Fort Lauderdale, and Liberty of the Seas would not stop in Cozumel as planned Tuesday.

► Celebrity Cruises replaced stops in Belize and Cozumel on a Celebrity Infinity sailing from Fort Lauderdale Sept. 24 with visits to Nassau and Labadee, the Royal Caribbean Group spokesperson said.

► Disney Cruise Line canceled a Friday sailing on its Disney Wish ship, according to its website . Passengers booked on the cruise, which was scheduled to leave from Port Canaveral, "will automatically receive a full refund back to their original form of payment," a Disney Cruise Line spokesperson said in an email. "Additionally, we’re providing each guest with a 20% future cruise discount."

Hurricane Fiona hurtles through Bermuda; Atlantic Canada braces for 'historic storm'

Where is Hurricane Ian headed?

The coasts of North and South Carolina could see "life-threatening storm-surge" Friday, according to the National Hurricane Center .

The center also said hurricane-force winds "are expected along the coasts of South Carolina and southeastern North Carolina within the Hurricane Warning area soon," among other impacts.

Thousands of cruise ship passengers are being forced to spend extra days at sea after 3 Florida ports closed due to Hurricane Ian

  • Florida-based cruise ships are extending their trips after Hurricane Ian forced three ports to close.
  • The cruise ships are spending more time at sea visiting extra destinations.
  • Around five ships and 20,000 passengers are affected, per The Points Guy.

Insider Today

Florida-based cruise ships are extending their schedules after Hurricane Ian forced three ports to close in the state.

Three major ports in the state — Port Tampa Bay, Jacksonville Port Authority, and Port Canaveral — have temporarily closed, according to statements posted on their Twitter accounts.  Hurricane Ian made landfall  on Wednesday as a Category 4 hurricane before weakening to a Category 1 storm.

The Points Guy  reported that the closures meant at least five cruise ships were unable to return to their home ports in Florida.

Related stories

Unable to disembark passengers on schedule, the cruise ships are spending more time at sea and visiting extra destinations. 

Carnival Cruise Line announced it had extended two of its cruises that were due to dock in Florida on September 29.

The Carnival Paradise extended a visit to Cozumel, Mexico, by an extra night. Meanwhile, the Carnival Elation added a visit to Freeport, Bahamas, to avoid the storm. The company said that both cruises were likely to be extended until the storm passes and the ports reopen.

Carnival Cruise Line did not immediately respond to Insider's request for comment made outside normal working hours.

Royal Caribbean's Mariner of the Seas, Norwegian Cruise Line's Norwegian Getaway, and MSC Cruises' MSC Divina are also being extended, according to the Points Guy. All three cruise ships were due to return to Port Canaveral on Thursday morning but will now not return before Friday morning, the travel blog reported.

Royal Caribbean and Norwegian Cruise Line have been contacted by Insider but did not immediately respond. MSC Cruises could not be reached for comment.

The changes mean that around 20,000 passengers are getting a mandatory extension to their trip, per the Points Guy.

The hurricane is affecting other sectors of Florida's tourist industry. Walt Disney World and Universal have both closed resort parks in the state for at least 2 days as Hurricane Ian passes through.

cruise hurricane news

  • Main content
  • International

September 26, 2022 Florida braces for Hurricane Ian

By Mike Hayes, Elise Hammond and Maureen Chowdhury, CNN

At least 3 cruise lines changing schedule of stops to avoid hurricane's path

From CNN’s Jamiel Lynch

At least three cruise lines with ships sailing this week are rerouting passengers due to Hurricane Ian.

Norwegian Cruise Lines  has changed five ports on the Norwegian Sky which left Miami on Sunday, the cruise line told CNN. The ship was scheduled to port in George Town, Grand Cayman, Roatan, Honduras, Harvest Caye, Belize and Cozumel and will now make stops in San Juan, Puerto Rico, St. Thomas, Virgin Islands, Tortola, British Virgin Islands and Nassau, Bahamas, to avoid the path of Ian. 

A spokesperson for the cruise line said guests who booked excursions in any of the affected ports will get a refund to their "onboard account."

MSC  has changed course on at least one of its ships and is weighing the possibility of changing others, a spokesperson tells CNN. The MSC Seashore, which was originally scheduled to be in the Western Caribbean, has been rerouted to ports in the Eastern Caribbean, the company said. 

The cruise line is also monitoring the MSC Divinia which left Port Canaveral on a 4-night sailing to Nassau and the Ocean City Marine Reserve on Sunday. MSC says both cruise ports are outside of Ian’s projected path but advised passengers before leaving that conditions could prevent the ship from returning on Thursday. The cruise line says if there is a delay in their return, the cruise will be extended at no additional cost to guests.  

The cruise line does not expect Ian to impact the MSC Seashore, which is set to depart from the Port of Miami on Saturday, Oct. 1. 

Carnival Cruise Lines  has made adjustments to two of its sailings. 

Carnival Ecstasy, which departed from Mobile, Alabama, today for a 6-day sailing will visit Progresso Mexico on Wednesday before going to Cozumel on Thursday. The change re-orders the visits, as the ship was scheduled to visit Cozumel first, the cruise line tells CNN.

Carnival Glory left New Orleans on Sunday for an 8-day sailing, and will now port in Mahogany Bay, Roatan, Belize and Cozumel, Mexico. The ship’s original itinerary was to visit Key West as well as Freeport and Nassau, Bahamas.

Tampa Bay International Airport to suspend operations at 5 p.m. Tuesday, governor says 

Tampa Bay International Airport will suspend operations Tuesday at 5 p.m. ET, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said in a statement. 

In an earlier statement, the airport said it was monitoring Hurricane Ian and would cease operations at 50 mph sustained winds.  Earlier today, St. Pete/Clearwater International Airport announced it would close at 1 p.m. ET on Tuesday.

The Port of Tampa Bay is also planning to suspend operations at 8 a.m. ET on Tuesday, DeSantis said. 

Other airports in Florida are continuing to monitor Hurricane Ian, but have not announced closures. 

CNN has reached out to Tampa Bay International Airport and the Tampa Bay mayor’s office for more information.

More than 19,000 residents have already been evacuated from western Cuba, state news says

From CNN’s Patrick Oppmann and Heather Law

Waves under a dark sky along the shore of Batabano, Cuba, on Monday.

At least 19,283 people have been evacuated from their homes in the western Cuban province of Pinar del Río as Hurricane Ian strengthens, according to state news channel TelePinar.

Among the evacuees, 18,042 have sought refuge with family and friends, the report stated. Officials estimate another 50,000 residents will need to evacuate the province as the hurricane moves north.

The forecast: The latest advisory from the National Hurricane Center predicts conditions in western Cuba will deteriorate through the night, with “significant wind and storm surge impacts expected."

Forecasts say Ian will likely be a Category 3 with winds of 120 mph or greater when it moves over Cuba on Tuesday morning.

Here's what Hurricane Ian looks like from space

NASA tweeted out video of what Hurricane Ian looks like for the International Space Station.

View the video, here :

Florida emergency management official tells residents to heed the evacuation warning

Kevin Guthrie, the director of the Florida Division of Emergency Management

Kevin Guthrie, the director of the Florida Division of Emergency Management, is urging people to "heed the evacuation warning" as Hurricane Ian gets closer to the coast.

Guthrie told CNN that the biggest concern is that people do not follow orders to leave, adding that Floridians should expect more evacuations on Tuesday.

“I’m worried about people being complacent and getting tired of trying to get on the road or sitting in traffic and they turn around and go back home or they don’t get on the road at all,” he said. 

Guthrie said this is especially a concern in Pinellas County where there are many manufactured homes, RVs and trailers. 

According to Guthrie, the Department of Transportation would most likely turn on the  emergency shoulder use  authorization allowing for people to use the shoulders at slower speeds in order to help the congestion of those trying to get out of some areas. 

St. Petersburg hospital suspends all services and transfers patients 

From CNN’s Joe Sutton

The HCA Florida Pasadena Hospital in St. Petersburg, Florida, is closing ahead of Ian.  

In a post on the hospital’s  website , it reads “We are closed: We have suspended all services and have transferred patients.”

According to HCA Florida Pasadena  Hospital’s website , the facility is a 307-bed hospital, has 530 employees, 115 physicians and at least 39,076 patients have been treated.  

St. Petersburg is about 17 miles from Tampa. 

Chevron evacuates personnel from offshore oil and gas field in Gulf of Mexico

From CNN's Melissa Alonso

Chevron Corp has begun moving workers to safety and halting production at offshore production platforms in the Gulf of Mexico,  the company said in a statement.

"In preparation for the tropical weather, we have begun transporting all personnel from our Petronius and Blind Faith platforms and are shutting-in the facilities," the statement noted.

According to the statement, "production at our other Chevron-operated Gulf of Mexico assets remains at normal levels. Chevron will continue to closely monitor the storm and remains focused on the safety of our workforce, the integrity of our facilities and the protection of the environment."

"Both offshore and onshore, Chevron is following our storm plans and paying close attention to the forecast and track of Hurricane Ian," the company stated.

This Tampa resident waited 3 hours to get free sandbags

From CNN’s Amanda Jackson

Florida Residents prepare for the possible arrival of Hurricane Ian on Monday.

Khadijah Jones was in line for three hours on Monday to get free sandbags that the city of Tampa was handing out to residents ahead of Hurricane Ian.

Jones told CNN she is planning on staying at her home during the storm. 

“We will be staying home. Not in an evacuation zone. Just doing the basics… securing loose materials in the yard, sandbags in low areas, and getting items to prep for no power.”

She said she isn’t sure if her home will flood since it was her first hurricane in the home she lives in. She said she will share the 10 sandbags with her neighbor as well.  

This isn’t her first hurricane experience. She said she lived through Hurricane Isabel in Virginia and Hurricane Irma in Florida.

Sanibel Island and Lee County declare states of emergency

From CNN’s Amanda Musa

The City of Sanibel, Florida, declared a state of emergency during a special city council meeting Monday evening as Hurricane Ian churns toward the west coast of Florida.

Sanibel is located on Sanibel Island — just south of Fort Myers — in Lee County. 

A voluntary evacuation has also been issued for the City of Sanibel, council members said.

Meanwhile, Lee County also declared a state of emergency Monday, according to an afternoon press conference. 

Lee County officials will decide Tuesday morning whether a mandatory evacuation will be issued, City of Sanibel members said.

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  • Cruise News

Hurricane Idalia, Franklin Displace Multiple Cruise Ships

Picture of Doug Parker

Doug Parker

  • August 29, 2023

With Hurricane Idalia heading towards Florida and Hurricane Franklin threatening Bermuda, cruise ship passengers are experiencing unexpected itinerary changes. The named storms are causing cruise companies to take action to ensure the safety of their guests and crew.

Hurricane Idalia location

Hurricane Idalia and Hurricane Franklin Cruise Updates

After being classified as a hurricane on Tuesday morning , Hurricane Idalia has been intensifying and is set to strike Florida on Wednesday as a Category 3 level storm, with winds of 120+ mph.

RELATED : Cruising During Hurricane Season

Here are the latest updates to cruise itineraries provided by the cruise line.

Carnival Cruise Line

Carnival Cruise Line has also adjusted for four ships. Carnival Conquest will visit Bimini in place of Key West and spend a day at sea instead of stopping in Cozumel. Carnival Valor’s Monday stop in Costa Maya was canceled, and will dock in Cozumel on Tuesday.

Carnival Magic will now visit Half Moon Cay, Nassau, and Freeport, while the Carnival Legend will skip Bermuda for Nassau and Freeport.

Celebrity Cruises and Royal Caribbean

Celebrity Equinox , initially slated to stop in Grand Cayman, will now dock in Falmouth. Meanwhile, Royal Caribbean’s Grandeur of the Seas postponed Monday’s Cozumel visit to Thursday and skipped its stop in Costa Maya altogether. Wonder of the Seas will skip Honduras this week.

Disney Cruise Line

Disney Cruise Line’s Disney Fantasy , originally set to sail to Cozumel, Grand Cayman, and Jamaica, is making an unexpected detour. The ship will stop in Tortola, British Virgin Islands, and St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands while visiting its private island, Castaway Cay, as planned.

MSC Cruises

MSC Meraviglia , on a two-long cruise from New York, has switched its Miami and Nassau stops. Additionally, MSC Seaside , which is currently sailing an 11-night from Port Canaveral, will extend its stay in Nassau, bypassing the planned visit to MSC’s private island, Ocean Cay Marine Reserve .

Virgin Voyages

Virgin Voyages ship Scarlet Lady is skipping Grand Turk this week and heading to Costa Maya.

Celebrity Equinox Cruise Ship

Various Florida, Georgia, and South Carolina cargo and cruise ports are under advisories from the U.S. Coast Guard.

Travel during hurricane season requires cruise lines to be able to adapt to rapidly changing conditions and forecast models.

Last updated on August 29, 2023, at 5:00 p.m.

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Bonus vacation or choppy nightmare? Here's what it's like on a cruise ship stuck at sea during a hurricane

Tarah Chieffi

There's always a possibility of bad weather and rough seas when you go on a cruise, but cruise lines are well prepared to change course if an approaching storm could be too dangerous to navigate. There are also contingencies if they are unable to return to port as scheduled. Right now, all those playbooks have been dusted off and are in use.

On Monday, Sept. 26, as Hurricane Ian was closing in on Florida, Disney Wish left Port Canaveral for a four-night Bahamas cruise with planned stops at Nassau and Castaway Cay, Disney Cruise Line's private island, before a planned return to Port Canaveral on Friday, Sept. 30.

But with Hurricane Ian a dangerous Category 4 storm making landfall in Central Florida, Port Canaveral closed and has ceased all operations until further notice.

Without the option to return to Florida as originally scheduled, Disney Wish — along with other cruise ships — is (temporarily) "stuck" at sea.

While staying at sea and away from the storm is the safest decision, travelers still have a lot of questions, concerns and general curiosity about the change of course. The Points Guy spoke with passengers currently on board Disney Wish to learn what it's like being out at sea for a few extra days during a hurricane.

You'll get frequent updates from the captain

When Disney Wish set sail on Sept. 26, the captain made an announcement that the ship might return to Port Canaveral later in the day than originally planned based on the projected forecast at that time. Matt Roseboom, editor and publisher at Attractions Magazine , is on board the sailing and captured video footage of the initial announcement.

The captain notified guests with flights leaving before 3 p.m. on Sept. 30 to contact their airline to depart later in the day, if possible. He also advised that they were watching Hurricane Ian carefully and would continue to keep passengers updated on the weather throughout the voyage.

Lizzie Meeks, a Disney travel advisor in Nashville, is also on the sailing and explained to TPG that the captain told guests "the port authority will need to assess any damage before giving the ship the green light to move into port and the cruise terminal."

Your itinerary might be adjusted

A cruise ship's schedule of port visits and sea days can be adjusted midcruise for a number of reasons. The weather is certainly one of those reasons — even absent a full-fledged hurricane. But when a hurricane is churning, it is very possible that the ship's itinerary will change.

Related: When will cruise ports in Florida reopen?

For Disney Wish, a port change announcement came on the morning of Sept. 28 when the ship was scheduled to dock at Castaway Cay for the day. Rather than head toward Disney's private island, and toward the storm, the ship turned toward the eastern edge of the Atlantic Ocean where seas would be calmer.

Meeks shared that the winds near Castaway Cay were too strong, with little hope for improvement, so the captain made the decision to sail away from the area.

cruise hurricane news

A day at port became a day at sea, but Disney conjured a bit of its famous "Disney magic" and added more activities throughout the day, according to Roseboom. "They made an announcement and told us to close out of the Disney Cruise app and reopen it to see the new schedule of activities," he said. Mickey and his friends still wore their island outfits to greet guests, even if everyone had to stay on board.

"They've really made an effort to make it a special day," Meeks said. "There have been a ton of new character meet and greets throughout the day, including Marvel, 'Star Wars' and Halloween characters that are typically reserved for special event cruises. New group games and trivia themes have been added, as well as additional times for drink tastings like Champagne, bourbon, gin and more," she added.

Related: What happens when a hurricane hits Disney World

Your cruise might be extended

If a hurricane strikes while you are at sea, it's also possible that you may end up with an extended sailing and extra days on the ship.

That's currently the situation for Carnival Paradise, Carnival Elation, Royal Caribbean's Mariner of the Seas, Norwegian Cruise Line's Norwegian Getaway, MSC Cruise's MSC Divina and Disney Wish. With several Florida ports closed due to the storm, the ships cannot return to disembark passengers on schedule.

cruise hurricane news

In such cases, cruise lines have two options: head to a different port up or down the coast to disembark passengers or remain at sea until the ship's home port reopens. Docking at a different port creates a whole new set of issues for passengers who need to return to cars, homes or airports near the originally scheduled port — so that option is rarely used.

Related: At least 5 cruise ships stuck at sea as Hurricane Ian closes Florida ports

In the case of Disney Wish, the first announcement came on the evening of Sept. 27 as the storm moved closer to shore. Based on updated forecasts, the captain announced the ship would not return to port until Saturday or Sunday, after the storm had passed and they could better assess the situation at Port Canaveral. That meant passengers would remain on board one or two days longer than expected.

Before he could even complete the announcement, cheers erupted through the ship, as seen in the below video.

In a subsequent announcement on the afternoon of Sept. 28, the captain updated guests that Disney Wish would return to Port Canaveral on Sunday instead of Friday and that the ship should be able to dock at Castaway Cay on Saturday, Oct. 1.

Even before the extension of this sailing was formally announced, Disney Cruise Line canceled the upcoming Disney Wish sailing that was set to depart Port Canaveral on Friday, Sept. 30, as a safety precaution.

Extra days are generally a good thing

As that announcement was made, audible cheers confirmed that most guests were thrilled that their vacation was just extended indefinitely. "The general sentiment is that people are content and happy about the extra day(s)," Roseboom said.

Cruise ships can easily avoid storms by sailing away from them and chasing better weather. For Disney Wish, at least, the weather has been fairly calm. "The current weather is sunshine with some humidity. We had choppier waves this morning [when the ship was closer to the storm], but from where we are now, you wouldn't even know there was a hurricane in the distance," Meeks said.

cruise hurricane news

Plus, the crew is prepared to innovate to accommodate the extra days. The entertainment staff will schedule more sea-day activities, just as they did when Castaway Cay got canceled.

Guests don't need to worry about running out of food, as cruise ships carry more than just one sailing's worth of food on board. In a pinch, the cruise ship can find a way of picking up provisions in the islands. With two extra days at sea, the ship might run out of specific perishables, like berries, but passengers will still have plenty of choices at every meal.

Because Disney Wish employs a rotational dining schedule, in which passengers are assigned nights at each of the ship's main restaurants, guests must now wait to be told which restaurants they should dine in on the additional nights of the sailing. "Since Disney Cruise Line uses rotational dining, they simply assigned us two more nights of a restaurant. It's really operating like normal in many ways," Meeks said.

You'll have to rearrange travel plans

Roseboom, who resides in Central Florida, is enjoying the extra day or two of vacation, but is equally worried about his house and friends and family back home in the wake of Hurricane Ian. "For cruisers who live outside of Florida, they seem to be mostly happy, but they do have to figure out how to change their flights," he shared.

For Meeks, reality set in as the cheers subsided.

"Some people, including myself, found the news concerning because of travel logistics — changing transfers and flights, booking a hotel room just in case our flights are canceled and communicating with family back home are all stressful and you could feel the tension late last night," she said.

Not only is Port Canaveral closed until Hurricane Ian passes and the wind calms, but Orlando International Airport (MCO) has also shuttered during the storm .

Even once the airport reopens after the storm has passed, it will take some time for planes and crews to get back into position, and longer still to accommodate all of the passengers who have been temporarily stranded in the Central Florida area.

This is one of the reasons why when cruising during hurricane season, it's very important to seriously consider travel insurance, or at least book your trip using a credit card that conveys some built-in trip protections to help minimize the financial impact.

Bottom line

"There are certainly worse places to be 'stuck,'" Meeks told us. "A lot of people have the perspective that we are safe and have much to be thankful for," she added. Crew and passenger safety is the reason cruise lines make the decision to stay at sea past the end of their scheduled itinerary. Yes, it can be inconvenient, but cruise lines do go out of their way to make the most of the experience for their guests, and safety is always the top priority.

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Cruzely.com | Everything Cruising

How Hurricanes Idalia and Franklin Are Impacting Cruise Schedules

Update (Wednesday, August 30 @ 10:15 A.M. Central): 

cruise hurricane news

After rapidly strengthening, Hurricane Idalia made landfall on the gulf coast of Florida this morning. However the impact on the state — and cruises — is far from over. As of now, several ports are closed as they wait for the storm to pass.

Below, we have a number of updates on trips impacted by the weather.

Carnival Sunshine: Carnival says the current sailing from Charleston is sailing its scheduled route. With the port currently closed, the cruise line still hopes to sail the upcoming September 2 cruise as planned.

Carnival Elation: Sailing from Jacksonville, the ship is “currently at sea, a safe distance from the storm.” Carnival says it will return once an assessment is completed. For passengers on the August 31 sailing, they are asked not to go to the cruise terminal until told to do so. Passengers can sign up for text alerts by texting CCL1 to 278473.

Carnival Liberty: Port Canaveral is currently closed, and Carnival Liberty is at sea, away from the storm. It is hoped that the September 1 cruise can sail as planned.

Carnival Paradise: This ship sails from Tampa, where the port is closed at this time. The ship will return once the storm passes and it is cleared to enter. Guests on the August 31 sailing are asked not to go to the port until confirmed by Carnival. Passengers can sign up for text alerts by texting CCL2 to 278473.

Royal Caribbean: The cruise line posted the following message to its guests as of last night:

“Along with our Chief Meteorologist Craig Setzer, we’re currently watching the development of multiple weather systems. There are no changes as of now, but we are committed to keeping you informed as the situation evolves. As always, please know that the safety and comfort of our guests are always our highest priority. Please check back for any potential changes.”

Update (Monday, August 28 @ 5:30 P.M. Central): 

Tropical Storm Idalia is now near hurricane strength with sustained winds of 70 miles per hour. The storm is expected to pick up speed as it moves north and continue strengthening. Now it is predicted to become a major hurricane before making landfall in Florida.

Carnival has adjusted the schedule of two ships more in response.

Carnival Conquest , which departed today for a four-day cruise, will now visit Bimini on Tuesday, have a day at sea on Wednesday and visit Nassau on Thursday. Originally the ship was slated to visit Key West and Cozumel.

Carnival Valor cancelled a stop in Costa Maya today, but will visit Cozumel tomorrow.

We will continue to watch for more updates.

Original Article:

As the tropics heat up following what’s been a record-hot summer for much of North America, the impact on cruises ramps up as well.

Last week, Hurricane Hilary led to impacts on the West Coast. Now, two storms look to impact cruises in the Caribbean and Atlantic .

Hurricane Franklin currently churns in the Atlantic, north of the Dominican Republic and east of The Bahamas. With maximum sustained winds of 100 miles per hour, Franklin is expected to strengthen, with many storm models pointing to a Category 3 storm with winds of 111-129 miles per hour.

cruise hurricane news

The storm is currently moving northwest, but is expected to turn out toward sea, putting it dangerously close to Bermuda starting Tuesday night and into Wednesday.

Roughly 1,000 miles away between the tip of the Yucatan and Cuba, another storm is brewing.

Tropical Storm Idalia has just been upgraded from a tropical depression, now with maximum sustained winds of 40 miles per hour. From there, Idalia is forecasted to strengthen into a hurricane on Tuesday as it moves moves toward the gulf coast of Florida.

cruise hurricane news

Both storms are in places where they can have an impact on cruise itineraries, and in some cases they already are. Your cruise line will be in touch with the latest updates , but here is what we know as of now.

Carnival Cruise Line

Carnival has told us they are monitoring both storms and have already made some adjustments to itineraries due to Hurricane Franklin.

Carnival Magic: Originally set to sail from Norfolk, VA to Bermuda on a six-day cruise, Carnival Magic will now instead sail to Half Moon Cay, Nassau and Freeport to steer clear of Hurricane Franklin.

Carnival Legend: Similar to Carnival Magic, Legend was slated to sail from Baltimore on a six-day cruise to Bermuda. Instead, it will now visit Nassau and Freeport.

A Carnival spokesperson also told us “The safety of our guests and crew is our priority, and we are continuing to monitor forecasts and factor in guidance from the National Hurricane Center, U.S. Coast Guard and the local port authorities to provide timely updates to our guests as more information becomes available.”

Looking at current itineraries and schedules, we think possible impacted ships could include Carnival Vista and Carnival Glory, which are set to sail to the Yucatan near the projected path of Idalia.

Royal Caribbean

Royal Caribbean has multiple ships sailing toward the area of Tropical Storm Idalia, including Voyager of the Seas and Grandeur of the Seas. 

As of now, however, there are no updates to the schedule announced by the cruise line. Itinerary updates can be found here .

Other Cruise Lines (Disney, Virgin, Norwegian)

There are a number of other lines that are either visiting ports that could be impacted by a storm, or the weather is between the ship and a scheduled port.

For instance, Norwegian Pearl’s itinerary calls for it to visit Bermuda, which will likely feel the effects of Hurricane Franklin. Scarlet Lady is scheduled to sail from Miami to Costa Maya, which would put in in the path of Idalia. Disney Fantasy is scheduled to visit Cozumel tomorrow morning according to CruiseMapper.com .

We’ve contacted Norwegian Cruise Line for details of any possible changes and have yet to hear back. Virgin Voyages and Disney Cruise Lines show no itinerary updates as of now. 

Again, your cruise line will be in touch if there are any schedule updates . We will continue to check periodically for any announced cruise schedule changes due to the weather.

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A METEOROLOGIST SHARES

Why cruising is safe during hurricane season, james van fleet, the first chief meteorologist in the cruise industry, gives us five reasons why it's still a good time to cruise during hurricane season..

cruise hurricane news

Wave Season is the time to plan an escape to warmer weather or anywhere with Royal Caribbean—and for a great deal.

Credit: Royal Caribbean

Great vacations are made up of adventures, memorable moments and ideal weather. However, we all know the weather can be unpredictable. What if we told you there’s a vacation you could take and have zero worries about the forecast literally raining on your parade? That vacation is a cruise —yes, really.

No matter the weather that’s brewing, you can count on catching perfect waves on the FlowRider surf simulator and braving the tallest slide at sea when you’re on a Royal Caribbean cruise. Cruise ships easily travel from one place to the next, meaning they can conveniently ditch bad weather at a moment’s notice. Take it from James Van Fleet, Royal Caribbean’s chief meteorologist and the first in the cruise industry . He keeps an eye on our 25-plus ships and two private destinations around the clock, so that you can keep the good times rolling.

Read on for five reasons why it’s safe to cruise during hurricane season, according to Chief Meteorologist Van Fleet:

cruise hurricane news

Royal Caribbean Chief Meteorologist Van Fleet records frequent weather updates during hurricane season.

1.  Cruise Ships Are a Safe Place to Be

One of the best parts about taking a cruise vacation is that you can easily head to better weather—think sun, sand and a cocktail in hand. And as you’re headed toward clearer skies, there are plenty of ways you and the whole family can enjoy yourselves—like watching jaw-dropping shows across air, water, ice and stage to roller skating, laser tag and bumper cars.

Van Fleet: A common misconception is that the open water is the most dangerous place to be in inclement weather. It’s actually the total opposite: If a storm is coming your way on land, you have fewer options. Your home is a potential target that can’t be moved. On a cruise ship, captains can sail out of the way—and quickly. Having a dedicated meteorologist working with the teams on board to look at weather patterns and make real-time decisions makes all the difference, too, because we’re able to get in front of what’s developing and immediately communicate that to our crew and guests.

2.  The Ocean Is Actually Calmer During Hurricane Season

When asked if the seas are rougher during  hurricane season , Van Fleet said there’s no need to worry.

Van Fleet: That’s actually a myth. In fact, the high-pressure and humid temperatures associated with hurricane season settle the seas. The Atlantic Ocean, the  Caribbean Sea and the Gulf of Mexico are all much calmer in the summer than they are in the winter. So, it’s actually still a good time to take a cruise.

3.  Ships Have Stabilizers For Smooth Sailing

Even if the conditions do happen to get choppy, every Royal Caribbean ship has features and capabilities to help things go as smoothly as possible so that you’ll hardly notice .

Van Fleet: For example, all Royal Caribbean cruise ships have stabilizers that act like airplane wings. When you think about it, air is water vapor, so these stabilizers essentially lift the ship over waves the same way a wing lifts a plane over rough air. This keeps the “rise and fall” from being too noticeable.

James Van Fleet

Van Fleet normally monitors the weather from Royal Caribbean’s Miami headquarters.

Credit: Royal Caribbean Press Center

4.  There’s ‘Round the Clock Weather Tracking

Royal Caribbean uses sophisticated technology , from computers and satellites to radars and the Global Maritime Distress and Safety System (GMDSS), to track and monitor weather around the world. Van Fleet even keeps portable tracking devices with him at all times.

Van Fleet: What’s more, there are  officers on board always monitoring information provided by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). They’re stationed throughout the ship to make sure everyone is safe should inclement weather arise.

5.  You’ll Get Frequent Updates

Van Fleet and the crew make it a point to keep everyone in the loop as much as possible so that guests know what to expect when it comes to updates and possible rerouting.

Van Fleet: The captain will make weather announcements, and I record forecast videos that play in every stateroom. I also rely on social media to give updates—it’s one of the fastest ways to connect with everyone. If you follow me on Twitter , you’ll get the latest and greatest directly from me, too.

On a Royal Caribbean cruise, the forecast is always smooth sailing. Whether you’re looking to kick back by the pool with a cocktail and live music, take on thrills like the RipCord by iFly skydiving simulator or get a taste of the world of flavors on board, the weather will be an afterthought.

Ready to experience all the adventure, entertainment, dining, nightlife and more on your next vacation (rain or shine)? Head here to find your cruise.

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Woman back home after falling ill on cruise, being hospitalized in the Dominican Republic

ATLANTA ( WANF /Gray News) - Loretta Cox is back home and reunited with her family after a medical emergency while overseas led to her being in a coma in the Dominican Republic.

It was thanks to the community’s help she could be medically flown back to the United States.

“It was amazing to see it and to live to tell it — the love that people had shown,” said Cox. “I got to my driveway and I started crying. I couldn’t get out of the car without crying, because I was just so overjoyed that I was home.”

Loretta Cox, left, and her daughter Aldes Brooks said they are thankful to the people who...

She had a terrifying ordeal on what should have been a dream vacation.

While on a Carnival cruise to the Bahamas a few weeks ago, she said she had been enjoying her evening, when she suddenly felt like she needed to lie down.

“As I was headed to my room, I was getting short of breath,” she said.

Since she has asthma, she thought she may just need her inhaler. All she remembered were two teens calling the medic and a woman assisting her before it went dark.

“Because her lungs filled up with fluid, her lungs collapsed, and that’s why she had to be placed on a ventilator,” said her daughter, Aldes Brooks.

Cox was taken to the nearest hospital in the Dominican Republic, where she stayed for two days in a coma in the intensive care unit.

“It was a money game,” said Brooks. “It was like we were paying a ransom to keep our mother alive.”

The total cost for those two days, she said, was about $50,000.

Word spread quickly, through social media and word of mouth, that her mother needed help, and in just 24 hours, community members donated the roughly $25,000 needed for a medical air transport back to the United States.

“It was friends. It was family. It was church members. It was strangers, people who had seen her at Walmart!” Brooks said.

Cox was treated at Broward Health in Fort Lauderdale for about a week when she finally woke up, her husband by her side.

“I was so happy to see a familiar face when I woke up!” she said.

Cox said she is beyond grateful to the people who helped her and gave her the precious gift of time with her children and grandchildren.

“Thank you,” she said. “Cherish each day you have. Cherish it.”

She is now undergoing testing at Emory to figure out what caused the fluid buildup in her lungs that day.

Brooks said they had to pay out-of-pocket because her mother did not have medical travel insurance.

They now advise, whether going on a cruise or traveling in general, to purchase it and look up what all it includes.

They also encourage people traveling to places where you do not necessarily need a passport, like the Bahamas, to get one anyway.

Cox said she would have had a much harder time getting back into the U.S. from the Dominican Republic without it.

She’s getting settled back in LaGrange and feeling much better.

There is an online fundraiser for those who still want to help donate to her medical expenses.

Copyright 2024 WANF via Gray Media Group, Inc. All rights reserved.

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Jimmy Buffett’s new Margaritaville cruise ship just arrived in Tampa

  • Sharon Kennedy Wynne Times staff

TAMPA — Tampa’s newest cruise ship has arrived, coming from the Jimmy Buffett cruise line Margaritaville at Sea. The company’s second ship, The Islander, will begin sailing Friday, June 14, from Port Tampa Bay for four- and seven-day trips to Mexico and Key West.

Themed for the chill Buffett-inspired lifestyle, the Margaritaville cruise line has been offering shorter two-night itineraries to the Bahamas out of Palm Beach. But its new larger ship launching from Tampa will more than double the passenger capacity of the boutique cruise line with 1,105 staterooms, which includes six signature grand suites inspired by some of the late singer’s most iconic songs. Cruises start at $229 to Cozumel and $479 for longer trips that include Belize and Mexico.

It offers a three-story poolside LandShark Bar at Sea, a Play Pad, water slide, casino, spa and pools. Guests will be able to fuel up at the Port of Indecision Buffet, stay in shape at the Fins Up Fitness Center, relax at the 5 O’Clock Somewhere Pool and take a selfie at the Flip Flop Atrium.

Savannah Buffett, eldest daughter of the late singer, songwriter and sailor, will be the ship’s official godmother . She co-authored two children’s books with her father, has hosted radio shows, and was a back-up singer in the 1998 music video “Jamaica Farewell.”

The Tampa cruises will feature mostly four- and five-night western Caribbean itineraries to Cozumel, Key West and the Yucatan town of Progreso.

Earlier this year, the company announced that teachers, first responders and military will be able sail as many times as they like for free with a paying guest. In addition, all passengers sailing in the hero’s stateroom will receive an Express Pass and other benefits as part of the enhanced program. To take advantage of the offer, book online through the link available on Govx.com or at margaritavilleatsea.com/offers/heroessailfree/ .

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Sharon Kennedy Wynne is a reporter covering events, things to do and family experiences through the region. Reach her at [email protected].

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BREAKING NEWS

4 Miami-Dade police officers indicted years after fatal shootout involving hijacked UPS truck

2 flood watches in effect for 10 regions in the area, cruise ship workers accused of possessing child sex abuse, bestiality videos.

Chris Gothner , Digital Journalist

MIAMI – Miami-Dade police arrested two cruise ship workers over the weekend after cabin searches turned up both child sexual abuse material and bestiality videos on both of their cellphones, according to arrest reports.

The arrest reports don’t state which cruise lines the pair worked for.

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According to the reports, U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents searched the cabins of both Igedeboy Mardika, a 28-year-old Indonesian national, and Sreerag Vazhayil, a 32-year-old Indian national, at PortMiami on Sunday.

During a border search of their cellphones, officers said they discovered videos of both boys and girls being raped and sexually abused by both men and women; the victims were as young as preschool-aged.

Mardika also distributed a child sexual abuse video, police said.

Police said Vazhayil had a video of a man having sex with a horse, while Mardika had three videos of women having sex with a horse, a dog and a pig respectively.

Authorities arrested Mardika on 16 felony charges related to the possession and promotion of child sexual abuse material, along with three counts of possessing videos depicting sexual conduct with animals.

Vazhayil is facing seven charges related to the possession of child sexual abuse material as well as one charge of possessing a video depicting sexual conduct with animals.

Both men remained in the Turner Guilford Knight Correctional Center as of Monday; Mardika was being held on a $52,500 bond and an immigration detainer, while Vazhayil was being held on a $20,000 bond and an immigration detainer.

Copyright 2024 by WPLG Local10.com - All rights reserved.

About the Author

Chris gothner.

Chris Gothner joined the Local 10 News team in 2022 as a Digital Journalist.

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College Sports | Hurricanes pick up commitment from cornerback…

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College sports | hurricanes pick up commitment from cornerback timothy merritt.

Hurricanes coach Mario Cristobal, shown celebrating UM's win over Temple on Sept. 23, picked up a commitment from Alabama defensive back Timothy Merritt on Sunday. (AP Photo/Derik Hamilton)

Miami landed a commitment from three-star 2025 cornerback Timothy Merritt , who took an official visit to UM this weekend. Merritt announced his commitment on social media.

Merritt, a Birmingham, Alabama, native, picked the Hurricanes over offers from in-state programs like Alabama and Auburn, as well as offers from Arkansas, Clemson, Florida, Florida State, Tennessee and Texas, among others.

Merritt is listed as a three-star prospect in 247Sports’ composite rankings. He is rated the No. 37 cornerback and No. 451 player in the class.

Listed at 6-2 and 180 pounds, Merritt has played a mix of cornerback and safety at Parker High, which went 12-2 last season. He had 16 tackles.

Merritt took a visit to UM after receiving an offer in March. He is the first player to take an official visit to Miami this summer who then committed.

Merritt is the first cornerback to join the Hurricanes’ 2025 recruiting class.

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NHL | Stanley Cup Final: Panthers cruise, take 2-0…

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NHL | Stanley Cup Final: Panthers cruise, take 2-0 series lead on Oilers

Evan rodrigues has two goals in the third period, niko mikkola and aaron ekblad also score and florida beats edmonton, 4-1, but also loses captain aleksander barkov after he is hit in the head. game 3 is thursday in edmonton..

cruise hurricane news

SUNRISE, Fla. — Edmonton’s Leon Draisaitl knocked Florida’s Aleksander Barkov out of the game. The Panthers made sure they responded by landing the bigger blow.

And the Stanley Cup Final took a heated turn Monday night.

Evan Rodrigues had a pair of third-period goals, Niko Mikkola and Aaron Ekblad also scored and the Panthers used yet another airtight finishing kick to pull away and beat the Oilers, 4-1, for a 2-0 lead in the Stanley Cup Final.

Sergei Bobrovsky stopped 18 shots for Florida, which was 1-8 all-time in Cup final games before this series started – and now is two wins away from capturing its first championship. Score through two games: Florida 7, Edmonton 1.

“A six-man job against the best players in the world,” Ekblad said.

But the win came with a price for Florida as the Panthers lost Barkov, their captain when Edmonton forward Draisaitl launched toward him midway through the third period and hit him in the head. Barkov remained down for some time, needed help getting to the bench and went down the tunnel for the Florida locker room for further evaluation.

Florida coach Paul Maurice offered no update on Barkov’s condition, and was far more tight-lipped than he tends to be after wins.

“This isn’t ‘The Oprah Winfrey Show’,” Maurice said of the Barkov hit. “My feelings don’t matter.”

Mattias Ekholm scored and Stuart Skinner stopped 25 shots for the Oilers, who now have to buck some serious history.

Edmonton has only successfully rallied from a 2-0 deficit in a best-of-seven series once – against San Jose in Round 2 of the 2006 playoffs. And teams that start the Stanley Cup Final down 2-0 have come back to win only five times in 54 previous situations.

“I think we feel that we came here and played well enough that we should have a split,” Oilers coach Kris Knoblauch said. “It doesn’t always happen.”

The series resumes with Game 3 in Edmonton on Thursday night.

“We can certainly be better,” Draisaitl said. “It starts with me. … I certainly have a lot more to give. Not my best tonight. Obviously, owning that.”

Draisaitl was given only a minor penalty for roughing on the hit that knocked Barkov from the game. Rodrigues got a tip-in goal to make it 3-1, the first power-play score Edmonton allowed in its last 34 times being down a man.

Connor McDavid had a chance to get Edmonton within one on a breakaway with about 6 minutes left. He got stopped by Bobrovsky, and then he and Matthew Tkachuk tussled a bit along the boards after the play – the Panthers still steaming over the hit on Barkov.

“I have no response or comment on that,” Tkachuk said when asked what he thought of Draisaitl’s hit on Barkov, and if he had a level of concern that Florida’s captain could miss time.

Said McDavid of the hit: “I thought it was part of the game.”

And added Ekblad: “We’re hoping he’ll be fine.”

Emotions were high all night. Edmonton’s Warren Foegele was ejected in the first period for a knee-on-knee hit that knocked Florida’s Eetu Luostarinen from the game briefly; that ejection, plus an injury to Oilers defenseman Darnell Nurse left them with only 11 forwards and five defensemen for much of the game.

Rodrigues scored early in the third off a turnover for a 2-1 lead, setting the tone for yet another Florida comeback. The Panthers – who trailed 1-0 after 20 minutes – are now an NHL-best 5-2 when trailing after one period in these playoffs.

Ekblad sealed it with an empty-netter with 2:28 left.

“It’s supposed to be hard. It’s supposed to be difficult,” McDavid said. “I’m excited to see what our group’s made of.”

Just like Game 1, one team cashed in on its first shot. It was Florida on Saturday, and Edmonton this time.

There wasn’t much to it: Ekholm skated nearly the full length of the ice with the teams playing 4-on-4, taking a harmless-looking shot that got between Bobrovsky’s leg pads and squirted into the back of the net. McDavid – playing in the building where he got drafted in 2015 – got one of the assists on the goal, his 27th assist of this postseason.

Midway through the second, the Panthers knotted it up. Mikkola had two shots on a shift; one was at the wrong net, and the other more than atoned for that near-blunder.

Moments after he inadvertently wheeled a backhand toward Bobrovsky – who was alert enough to save his teammate from the embarrassment of an own goal – Mikkola handled a delivery from Anton Lundell and blasted it past Skinner to pull Florida into a 1-1 tie.

“Bob was awake,” Mikkola said.

Shots were 22-7 Florida after 40 minutes, the Oilers – who led the league in shots on goal this season – being held to a season-low entering the third. Bobrovsky was tested a ton more in the third than he was in the first two periods, but was up to the task again and yielded two goals or fewer for the 12th time in his last 13 games.

And Florida, for the first time, is two wins from the Cup.

“It’s special,” Rodrigues said. “Trying to embrace it. Trying to stay in the moment. That’s two big wins for our team, but I think we’ve already turned the page and are getting ready for Game 3.”

OILERS HELD IN CHECK

The Oilers left Game 1 feeling pretty good. They were shut out three goals to none, but it took a monumental performance from Bobrovsky to neutralize their offensive firepower.

The Oilers weren’t shut out Monday night, but the result was the same.

“We just have to take it one game at a time,” Knoblauch said. “I don’t see any reason to panic or do anything drastic. If we win one of these, which I think we were capable of doing, we’re really happy. So I don’t want to get too caught up in we’re down two-nothing.”

One of the highest-scoring teams in the NHL, Edmonton has managed just one goal in the first two games of the final.

Edmonton’s seven shots on goal through 40 minutes of Game 2 were the fewest by a team through two periods of a Stanley Cup Final since Game 6 of the 2006 championship series when the Carolina Hurricanes managed that many on goal against the Oilers.

That’s one game after Edmonton outshot the Panthers 32-18 in a Game 1 performance that McDavid described as a confidence booster.

McDavid leads all postseason scorers with 32 points but still has not scored in this series despite numerous opportunities, including on a breakaway late in the third Monday night, only to be denied by Bobrovsky again.

“We’ve got to be better,” McDavid said. “I thought they went up a level (from Game 1) and we didn’t match them today.”

Knoblauch said the Panthers have made it tough on Edmonton defensively, but playing shorthanded also hurt them.

Edmonton’s Warren Foegele was ejected in the first period for a knee-on-knee hit that knocked Florida’s Eetu Luostarinen from the game briefly. Defenseman Darnell Nurse was injured in that period, leaving the Oilers with only 11 forwards and five defensemen for much of the game.

“We missed Foegele with his speed,” Knoblauch said, “the amount of penalties took away the flow of the game a little bit, but I think we weren’t as efficient breaking the puck out as we were in the first game.”

Edmonton’s other star, 2020 league MVP Draisaitl, still has no points in the series and hasn’t been much of a factor.

“I certainly have a lot more to give,” Draisaitl said. “Not my best tonight. Obviously I’m owning that. We’ll regroup and make sure I’ll be better in Game 3.”

Despite no goals from the Oilers powerful duo so far in the series, Knoblauch indicated he was happy with the play of his stars.

“Yeah we’d like some more goals, but I think our top guys have been pretty good,” he said.

The experience of the Panthers, who were in the final just a year ago, has clearly frustrated the Oilers, and Florida has found a way to limit them at what they do best – Edmonton came into the series with the best power play in the postseason at 37.3%, but is now 0 for 7.

“We have to work our way out of it,” McDavid said, “it always starts with work with our group. They’re a unique penalty kill, just like they’re a unique team. They’re aggressive, we have to have guys ready for the puck, we have to have guys making good plays. We have to string good plays together and we haven’t been able to do that.”

Edmonton, down 0-2 for the first time in the postseason, now has to accomplish a feat that few teams have ever done in Stanley Cup Final history. Only five teams in 54 tries have lost the first two games of the final and come back to win.

AP sports writer Alanis Thames contributed to this story.

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