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Storm Causes More Cruise Ships to Bypass St. Thomas

Sept. 27, 2004 – The fallout from Hurricane Jeanne continues this week with four ships canceling scheduled visits to St. Thomas.
Alfred Lloyd, operations director at the West Indian Company in St. Thomas, said the ships were unable to discharge and pick up passengers at their south Florida ports on Saturday and Sunday thanks to Hurricane Jeanne's arrival. This forced them to cut this week's cruises short by leaving Monday. They went to ports that were closer to south Florida rather than sailing farther south to the Virgin Islands and other nearby ports.
Lloyd did not have figures on how much this will cost St. Thomas and St. John businesses. Edward Thomas, WICO chief executive officer, was off island and could not be reached for more information.
This is not the first week that cruise ship lines diverted ships to other ports. Last week, WCIO announced that three ships scheduled to visit St. Thomas went to the Western Caribbean instead because the shipping lanes were disrupted as Hurricane Jeanne churned its way north.
St. Thomas did get visits from five cruise ships scheduled to call at Western Caribbean ports during the week of Sept. 13 when Hurricane Ivan stormed through the Caribbean on its way toward Florida. Thomas said on Sept. 13 that St. Thomas stood to gain about $1 million in business from those visits.
Taxi driver Carlton Hackett was philosophical about this week's cancellations.
"It's beyond our control," he said.
He said that he doesn't think this year's disastrous hurricane season will influence travel in future hurricane seasons. He thinks people will travel no matter what.
Laura Jackson at Coki Beach Dive Club said the cancellations were expected given the recent weather problems.
"But it's going to be pretty quiet," she said.
Raju Chugani at Valentine's Gift Shop said he could use the business from the cancelled cruise ships, but his local business will keep him afloat.
He said for the last three or four years St. Thomas has lost cruise ship visits during hurricane season because storms force the ships to change itineraries.
"That hub is really hurting us," he said, referring to the south Florida ports used by many cruise ships.
The Golden Princess, the Destiny and the Adventure of the Seas called as scheduled on Monday.
The Navigator of the Seas, due Tuesday, is heading to Ocho Rios, Jamaica, and Labadee, Haiti, instead. The Carnival Triumph and Caribbean Princess, also due Tuesday, are heading to Mexican ports.
The Zuiderdam, the only ship due in Wednesday, will instead visit Key West, Fla., and two Mexican ports.
The Voyager of the Seas will arrive in St. Thomas as scheduled on Thursday.
No ships are scheduled for Friday. The Carnival Legend will arrive Saturday as planned.
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