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Cruise Lines Adjust as Hurricane Beryl Storms Through Caribbean

Hurricane Beryl as seen from the International Space Station (NASA)
Hurricane Beryl as seen from the International Space Station (NASA)

Published Jul 3, 2024 7:50 PM by The Maritime Executive

Hurricane Beryl, the earliest Category 5 huricane on record in the Atlantic, has killed at least six people in the Caribbean and is barreling towards the Yucatan Peninsula. 

As the storm gained strength and passed through the southeastern Caribbean, it killed three in Grenada, one in St. Vincent and the Grenadines, and two in Venezuela. Grenada's outlying island of Carriacou was particularly hard-hit, and the death toll there is expected to rise as relief efforts get under way. 

Beryl has weakened slightly to a Category 4 storm with winds of abot 120 knots. It brushed past the south side of Jamaica on Wednesday, forcing about 500 people to seek shelter. Next, the storm is on track to make landfall twice in Mexico - once near Tulum in the Yucatan late on Thursday, and again near Veracruz on the Gulf Coast. It will lose steam over the Yucatan Peninsula, but will pick up again over the warm waters of the Gulf before its second landfall.

"There is still uncertainty during this part of the forecast, and a landfall in Texas cannot yet be ruled out," the National Hurricane Center cautioned in an advisory Wednesday. 

Beryl's winds are wreaking havoc as it passes through the southeast Caribbean, but its storm surge is also life-threatening, said NHC. The storm could force waters to rise as much as nine feet in southern Jamaica, forecasters warned. 

In response to the threat, cruise lines have diverted several vessels that had planned to call at ports in the region. Carnival Horizon and Carnival Liberty are both skipping Cozumel later this week, and Icon of the Seas substituted ports in the Yucatan for St. Thomas and St. Maarten on Monday and Wednesday, when the storm was still moving through the southeastern Caribbean. Norwegian Breakaway and Norwegian Jade are also making changes to stay away from the storm's impact by skipping stops in Jamaica and Honduras.