Texas-bound cruise ships rerouted to New Orleans, Miami in wake of Harvey

Gene Sloan
Carnival Breeze, built by Carnival Cruise Lines in 2012.

Two Galveston, Texas-based cruise ships that were scheduled to return to the city on Sunday instead are on their way to New Orleans and Miami, respectively, in the latest fallout from Tropical Storm Harvey

Cruise giant Carnival's 3,690-passenger Carnival Breeze will dock in New Orleans on Monday to replenish supplies and give passengers the chance to disembark. Royal Caribbean's 3,634-passenger Liberty of the Seas is heading to Miami to disembark passengers with an expected arrival on Tuesday. 

The ships were unable to return to Galveston on Sunday due to the continued closure of its port to marine traffic in the wake of Harvey's arrival.   

Two other Galveston-based cruise vessels that were scheduled to return to the city on Saturday — the 2,974-passenger Carnival Freedom and 2,974-passenger Carnival Valor — also have been rerouted in recent days due to Harvey. Instead of returning to Galveston on Saturday, both ships instead docked briefly that day in New Orleans to bring on new supplies and give passengers the chance to disembark.

After docking in New Orleans on Saturday, Freedom and Valor headed back toward Galveston to await the reopening of its port. At the time, there was hope the reopening would come relatively soon. But on Monday morning, with Harvey still pummeling the region around Galveston and nearby Houston, the line said the vessels would reverse course and return to New Orleans. They're expected to arrive by Tuesday. 

Passengers who didn't disembark Freedom and Valor in New Orleans on Saturday will have another chance to depart the vessels when they arrive back in the city. Passengers also can opt to stay on board the ships until they are able to return to Galveston.  

"Due to extreme flooding conditions in Texas caused by Hurricane Harvey, officials in Galveston are unable to predict with any certainty when the Port of Galveston will re-open, but now expect it will remain closed until late this week," Carnival said in a statement released Monday morning.   

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Carnival on Monday also canceled this week's sailings of Freedom and Breeze — seven-night trips that had been scheduled to begin in Galveston on Saturday and Sunday, respectively. The line initially had hoped to operate shortened versions of the voyages once the Port of Galveston reopened.

Carnival already had canceled this week's sailing of Valor, which was scheduled to begin Saturday in Galveston and last five days.

Passengers on all three canceled Carnival sailings will receive a full refund and a 25% credit toward a future cruise. 

Royal Caribbean on Sunday canceled this week's sailing of Liberty of the Seas, which was scheduled to begin Sunday in Galveston. The line said passengers would get a full refund and a credit for a future cruise. 

The fleet and home ports of Carnival Cruise Line, by the numbers