1. Most experts say that 2006 will be worse than usual, but not as bad as 2005. The National Hurricane Center has predicted worse than usual hurricane seasons for most of the last 6 or so years (as I recall) - so by itself, that prediction tends to mean relatively little. We do know, however, that the Atlantic has warmed up and that tends to increase the chances of hurricanes.
2. Just because there is a hurricane out there, they are usually very slow moving and easy to avoid. The chances are you will still have a decent cruise no matter what - unless it is dependent upon making certain stops, you can't count on that.
So, the actual threat of danger for ships is very very low, but the inconvenience factor can be pretty high. A more major concern is air transportation. It is easier for the cruise lines to change a ships itinerary than it is for you to change your air reservations. Think about getting refundable air tickets just in case the last day of your cruise is in a city other than you expected. You might want to arrange to leave a day early, as well, in case you need to cover some ground to get to the ship (they might close an airport before they cancel a sailing out of the same city).
All that being said - I am predicting some fall bargains this year as people wait and see whether it seems like a good time to cruise.
I am the editor, but I also speculate, ask questions and play devil's advocate. I reserve the right to change my mind.
Last October, our Star Princess was the last ship out of port before it was closed because of Hurricane Wilma. That was on a Sunday, and on Saturday several of us were already in Ft. Lauderdale and set up a telephone pyramid alert system so to relay any changing news about departure. On Oct. 23, we were at the terminal earlier than usual because word was spread that the port would be closing by 1:30 or 2PM--it kept getting delayed because Wilma had slowed down. Anyway, we finally left at 4PM-with the Coast Guard almost pushing the ship out to sea itself.
The ship was scheduled to go West and we did actually start for there, but because of Wilma and a developing "Alpha", we were redirected to San Juan, Puerto Rico and went Southeast to Tortola and St. Thomas. It was the second week in a row that a Western itinerary was changed to the East. While some of us were ecstatic, others were on a "back to back" and disappointed to have missed Jamaica twice. Plus, some cruisers were going to meet families in Jamaica.
All of this being said, the Ship is NOT going to cruise into harm's way. And, as several of you might know by now, our CB Princess, along with other ships from other lines were kept out to sea for two extra days because of Hurricane Jeanne in 2004. That was good and bad news. Good news for those of us who had no travel plans or work schedules to have to be back for-or children or dogs, or.....but a nightmare for those having to re-arrange returning flights, pet kennel pick-ups, babysitting coverage, etc.
It's not a perfect science, unfortunately, but with advanced contingency plans and the attitude of not worrying over something we can't control, I think we can all have a decent time on our cruises. My "worry" is not being able to get OUT of port.