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.

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:

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

Credit: Royal Caribbean

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.