A growing Hurricane Joaquin has forced cruise ships carrying more than 20,000 vacationers to alter course as it barrels through the Bahamas.
Cruise giant Carnival said the 2,124-passenger Carnival Pride will skip a call Thursday at Half Moon Cay, a private island in the Bahamas. The Baltimore-based ship instead will remain at sea.
Also shifting course is the 2,974-passenger Carnival Valor, which will skip a port call Thursday at Grand Turk. The Port Canaveral, Fla.-based ship also will remain at sea.
A single ship from Norwegian Cruise Line, the 4,000-passenger, Miami-based Norwegian Getaway, will forgo a port call planned for Nassau, Bahamas on Friday.
The storm also is affecting several ships from Disney Cruise Line. The 1,754-passenger Disney Magic has been re-routed to the Western Caribbean instead of the Bahamas. The ship will visit Key West, Fla. and Cozumel, Mexico on Thursday and Friday, respectively, instead of Castaway Cay, Disney's private island in the Bahamas, and Nassau. The 2,500-passenger Disney Dream will skip a call in Nassau scheduled for Friday, while the 2,500-passenger Disney Fantasy skips a call at Castaway Cay.
Princess Cruises' 3,600-passenger Royal Princess missed a call Wednesday at the line's private island in the Bahamas, Princess Cays, due to the storm and will miss a second call at the island scheduled for Friday.
Also operating ships calling in the Bahamas this week is Royal Caribbean. Spokeswoman Cynthia Martinez tells USA TODAY the line is monitoring the situation but has not made changes to itineraries.
As of 8:00 AM EDT Thursday, Joaquin was about 75 miles southeast of San Salvador, Bahamas and moving to the west-southwest at five miles per hour. The Category 3 storm has maximum sustained winds of 120 miles per hour.
The National Hurricane Center says Joaquin could strengthen over the next 24 hours as it lingers in the Bahamas. The Center forecasts the storm eventually will turn northward towards the East Coast of the United States, where it could make landfall.
For a deck-by-deck tour of the biggest of the ships affected by the storm, Norwegian Getaway, click through the carousel below.
Source: USA TODAY.