What It’s Like To Cruise During A Hurricane

Cruise vacations offer a unique blend of relaxation and adventure, attracting numerous travelers seeking unforgettable experiences. However, despite their growing popularity, there are several reasons why people express fear when embarking on a cruise ship. While concerns about being in the middle of the vast ocean without any sight of land or the fear of shipwrecks are commonly discussed, one specific worry that often remains unnoticed is the potential encounter with a hurricane while at sea.

It’s normal for our imaginations to run wild when thinking about cruising during a hurricane. But, luckily, the reality is much less cinematic than the fears swirling around our heads. In this blog, we’re going to break down everything you need to know about cruising during hurricane season so you can go on your vacation without any stress whatsoever. 

When Is Hurricane Season?

Photo by NASA

If you are concerned about running into hurricanes on your cruise vacation, you should first know which regions of the world experience hurricanes and when. Luckily, hurricane patterns are fairly regular year in and year out, meaning you can rest assured that cruising during the hurricane off-season is a surefire way to avoid running into these storms on vacation. So, without further ado, here is a tentative calendar of hurricane seasons around the world:

January – March

During this time of year, hurricanes tend to sweep through the South Pacific islands towards New Zealand, Australia, Indonesia, and other parts of Southern Asia. 


April through June sees hurricanes forming on the other side of the Pacific, usually developing off the western coast of Mexico and traveling west towards the islands of Hawaii. 


The summer months are perhaps the most active time for hurricanes in popular cruising destinations, as the summer sees a number of storms throughout the Caribbean. However, hurricanes are also active on the other side of the globe during this time in the Indian Ocean. 


Lastly, the winter months of the year see hurricanes start to form back in the Southern Pacific near Australia. Yet it is also expected to see them hit the eastern coasts of Africa and certain Southeast Asian regions. 

If you are concerned about encountering hurricanes on a cruise, use this calendar to guide your cruise vacation. Avoid a Caribbean cruise during the summer months and opt instead for a trip up the coast of Australia. With this knowledge, you can ensure you will never experience a hurricane on a cruise ship. 

Is It Dangerous to Cruise During a Hurricane?

Photo by Ibrahim Boran

What happens if you have no choice but to take a cruise in a region during its hurricane season? The good news is that the chances of encountering a hurricane are extremely small. Nowadays, modern technology and expert navigators can almost always successfully predict the development and movement of tropical storms. By using 24-hour meteorologist tracking services, captains and ship navigators are constantly updated and informed about changing weather patterns. This gives them ample time to route the cruise away from any storms or hurricanes without impacting the safety of their passengers. 

This is one reason why being on a cruise ship during hurricane season might be safer than on land. If a cruise captain notices a hurricane obstructing their ship’s route, they can simply reroute away from the storm. On land, however, you’re stuck with limited evacuation options. 

Furthermore, cruise ships are specifically designed and engineered to withstand rough weather and choppy seas. Expertly designed and rigorously tested features such as ship stabilizers allow cruises to safely sail through rougher weather. These stabilizers are so effective that, often, passengers onboard don’t even realize they’re sailing through rough water. These safety features and modern weather tracking technology make encountering a storm or hurricane during your cruise vacation extremely uncommon. 

How Can Cruise Passengers Stay Safe?

Photo by Tuğba

With all that being said, let’s dive into some quick, practical tips for finding yourself on a cruise ship during a hurricane. The most important thing you can do for your safety is to stay informed. Your captain and crew will ensure you have updated safety information throughout the experience. Be sure to pay attention to these updates and follow any instructions given to you and your family. 

The ship’s crew members undergo rigorous safety and emergency training. They have expert knowledge of the ship and its safety procedures. If you feel unsure or anxious about a situation, the best thing you can do is ask them for guidance. It is also important to personally review any safety information about the ship, usually found in your cabins. By staying informed on emergency procedures and evacuation protocols, you can ensure that you will be well-equipped to keep yourself and your loved ones safe in any emergency. 

One last thing you can do in advance to prepare for the possibility of your cruise being impacted by hurricanes is to buy travel insurance. While often overlooked, buying travel insurance is a fantastic way to protect yourself in the event of any unforeseen changes to your itinerary due to emergency weather. Suppose your captain reroutes your cruise, revises the itinerary, or cancels the voyage altogether in the worst-case scenario. In that case, travel insurance guarantees you don’t lose any money you’ve already spent on the vacation. 

While it’s unlikely you will need to submit a claim to your travel insurance provider, knowing that you have the option in emergencies is a great way to give yourself some peace of mind. 

Photo by Shawnna Donop

As you can see, cruises are extremely uncommon to sail through a storm, and even less so for a hurricane. This is the case even during the peak of hurricane season, as cruise ships are well-equipped with weather tracking technology that allows cruise captains to navigate any bad weather. If you’re still nervous about experiencing a hurricane during your cruise, it can be helpful to avoid certain cruise destinations while they’re in peak hurricane season. But if you find yourself onboard during a weather emergency, the most important thing you can do for yourself and your loved ones is to stay informed and listen to your captain and crew. Other than that, your only responsibility is to sit back, relax, and enjoy everything your cruise vacation offers!