All Florida homeports that closed last week ahead of Hurricane Irma’s arrival are expected to reopen today, with a handful of ships due to return.
The U.S Coast Guard, which is in the process of surveying all damage, has deemed PortMiami and Port Tampa Bay safe to reopen. Assessments are still underway for other ports including that of Port Everglades (Fort Lauderdale) and Port Canaveral (Orlando).
Royal Caribbean, Carnival Cruise Line, Norwegian Cruise Line and MSC Cruises all have ships scheduled to embark/disembark passengers in Miami and Fort Lauderdale today. While Orlando, Palm Beach and Tampa don’t have ships scheduled to return until Wednesday.
In a statement, Carnival said: “Although the ports remain closed, port assessments in South Florida have already begun and we are optimistic the ports will reopen in time for us to operate the cruises [as scheduled].”
The ports also are working closely with the cruise lines to ensure a smooth turnaround process. A spokesperson for Port Everglades said: “The Port is working with the cruise lines to determine how to best accommodate cruise guests who are returning this week. Cruise passengers should continue to check with their cruise lines for the latest information on upcoming itineraries.”
A handful of ships whose next cruises had been cancelled, are now being used by the lines to assist with relief efforts in the Caribbean.
Airports also in the area are also in the process of resuming operations including that of Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport and Tampa International Airport.
Though Miami International Airport is still undergoing damage and security assessments, the airport announced in a statement it might resume flights with limited schedules Tuesday. Palm Beach International Airport reopened with limited service on Monday and it remains unclear when Orlando International Airport and Jacksonville International Airport will reopen.
At the moment, it is unclear when the damaged ports in the Caribbean including that of St. Maarten, St Thomas and Tortola will reopen.