What to do? It’s hurricane season and they are coming fast and furious this year. For the poor people whose homes are hit by hurricanes of course this is a calamity beyond compare – however being in the travel industry hurricanes bring their own chaos to airlines, hotels and ships.
So what to do if you are booked to go on vacation during the hurricane season? Depends what kind of vacation and who you are booked with. Most tour operators have a pretty flexible policy with regard to their packages down in Mexico or the Caribbean. They offer options such as postponing, changing destination or some even offer a credit which would be valid for one year. Clearly they don’t want to send their passengers down there – or their aircraft – to be damaged or hurt. But it is hurricane season after all ….This is why you will often see packages being offered at a much cheaper rate during the hurricane season which typically runs from August through to beginning of November.
I took a peek at a couple of the webcams at Puerto Vallarta resort hotels and it looked very overcast and rainy 😦 not the greatest for a vacation. The pool area was deserted – I guess people are preparing for the hurricane which is good that they are taking precautions.
Now what happens if you are down there during a hurricane? Rest assured, resort staff have generally been through this before and there are protocols in place to ensure the safety of staff and guests. This is a good article that explains exactly how hotels operate Hurricanes and hotel guidelines.
One thing that is important in all of this is your co-operation. If you are told to evacuate do it! Local authorities will make shelters available if necessary. Hotels may ask you to congregate on the lower level of the hotel or in the basement. The last thing you need to do is to go out onto your balcony or down to the beach to take photos to post on Instagram ….
I was in Tahiti once when a Tsunami alert was raised. I thought the telephone operator was joking …. but no … we had to leave our rooms and assemble in the lobby of the hotel while we waited and waited. Nothing happened – I am happy to report – although we did feel the need to order a bottle of Champagne while we waited!
What about if you are going on a cruise? Now with a cruise you are in the more fortunate position of being able to be moved. Cruise lines will often change their itineraries at the last-minute which has already happened with Holland America and Norwegian Cruise Lines – passengers on their Mexican Riviera itineraries will now be visiting San Francisco and San Diego. And when on a cruise ship you are in the lucky situation of being able to outrun the hurricane –
“Ships sailing the Caribbean during hurricane season have an out — they can move. … Cruise ships can typically “outrun” a hurricane — storms tend to move about 8 to 10 knots, while ships can attain speeds of up to 22 knots and beyond. Passengers might experience rough seas as their ship skirts the edges of a storm.” (courtesy Cruise Critic).
So if you are outrunning a hurricane on a ship you are probably OK (unless you get seasick)
But it is likely to be a bit windy up on deck. However there are those who just love the challenge of being in the centre of weather’s worst moments. One of my fellow passengers on a recent cruise on Star Clipper told me with relish about his trans-Atlantic crossing. Ropes had been strung across the public areas for passengers to hang on to and the tables in the dining room remained unset for obvious reasons. Hmmm – I think I am a fair weather traveller …. so thanks but no thanks!