Hurricanes to Make Waves This Week
by Paul Motter
August 27, 2010
Hurricane Danielle is not expected to change any cruise plans, but bring your medication.
Stock Photo of a hurricane
As of 11:30 Friday morning, Hurricane Danielle was a Category 4 storm - becoming the season's first major hurricane. Danielle was located some 480 miles southeast of Bermuda and was moving northwest at 12 miles per hour with top sustained winds of 135 mph. Winds of 111 mph qualify hurricanes to be ranked as "major" by the National Hurricane Center.
Danielle is expected to continue to the northeast of Bermuda, strengthening through the next three days and then slowing down and petering out. Still, as a category 4 hurricane with wind as high as 135 miles per hour, Danielle is a powerful storm. It is predicted that winds from the storm will cause high seas all along the East Coast of the United States.
If you are leaving on a cruise from the East Coast this weekend, especially from Baltimore or New York, you will probably encounter some high seas. The seas will not be high enough that you will be in any danger, but your ship will probably rock a fair amount, so be sure to bring your seasickness medication.
Carnival Miracle is sailing from New York south the Caribbean today (Friday). This ship may miss the high seas as it stems south while the storm is heading north.
Holland America's Veendam is scheduled to sail to Bermuda on Sunday. While the cruise is still on schedule and the storm will be past the island by the time the ship arrives guests should be sure to take medication with them in case high seas are encountered. NCL's Norwegian Dawn is also sailing for Bermuda on Sunday.
Carnival Glory is sailing from New York on Saturday to St. John and Halifax in Canada. This cruise could experience fairly high seas on the days it is along the east coast. Caribbean Princess is sailing tomorrow (Saturday) from New York to Rhode Island, Boston, Bar Harbor Maine and ports in Canada. This ship will like encounter high seas the first two or three nights of the cruise.
Norwegian Jewel is schedule to sail from New York tomorrow, August 28, sailing to Port Canaveral and The Bahamas. It is likely the ship will encounter fairly high seas the first night out.
Many ships leave from Baltimore and head either to Bermuda or directly south to the Caribbean. Royal Caribbean's Enchantment of the Seas, for example, is schedule to leave Monday and sail a five-day cruise to Bermuda. But by then Danielle should be past the island, and the high seas caused by the storm have less of a chance to affect the ship on its way there. This cruise is proceeding as scheduled.
Carnival Pride sails from Baltimore to the Caribbean and sails on Sunday. By then Danielle should be weakening and fairly far to the north east of Bermuda, and so high seas are not expect.
Sea Sickness Medications
No medication should be taken without consulting your personal physician first, and we are not doctors. We will tell you that the most commonly used pill taken to prevent sea sickness is sold over the counter in drug stores under the brand name Bonine. The generic name for it is Meclizine.
This is a slightly different formulation than the more well-known Dramamine. Meclizine is said to have fewer side effects, especially less drowsiness. The medication is generally effective for 24 hours. There is a version of Dramamine sold as 24-hour Dramamine or Dramamine II (be sure to read the label) which is also Meclizine for the most part.
One thing I personally discovered about Meclizine is that it is important to follow the directions. No sea sickness pill will help you if you take it after the sea sickness has started. You need to take it before you get sick. Even more important, nausea is often the result of food staying n your stomach and not digesting. Meclizine is made to melt under your tongue. If you swallow the pill you may never get the medicine into your system at all. I have personally thrown up many hours after eating dinner and swallowing the pill, and I have seen the pink pills come up whole. Be sure to let it melt under your tongue and it is then very effective.
There are other seasickness preventatives. A medicine called Scopolamine can be introduced by placing a patch on your neck. The patches last three days. I have never tried these so I cannot speak to the side effects but I see a lot of people using them on ships.
Other Hurricanes Coming
But hurricane season officially starts June 1st and so far it has been relatively mild. Our luck could be changing, however. Hurricane season always peaks in September and can continue through October. Danielle will have relatively little effect, but Earl is already headed towards the Caribbean and is building up strength.
Early in August the national storm center NOAA (National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration) said conditions were ripe for an active season, and predicted 14 to 20 named storms, eight to 12 hurricanes, and four to six major hurricanes with at least Category 3 status. A Category 3 storm has sustained winds of 111 mph.
The National Hurricane Center's five-day track calls for Earl to reach hurricane status sometime Sunday morning, and it could affect Puerto Rico by Tuesday. Earl is predicted to ne head more westerly rather than to the North as Danialle did. This makes it a far more potentially dangerous storm since hurricanes are fed by warm water.
Yet another pocket of activity off of the (African) Care Verde Islands is said to have a 70% chance of becoming a hurricane within the next five days. It could take another week or more to come into the regular cruise routes.
Cruise lines are very good at avoiding hurricanes by re-routing the scheduled itineraries for any cruise ship - so don't think you will be canceling your cruise if you are booked in the next few weeks. But definitely keep a watch on weather conditions and start looking into seasickness medications should you decide you need to buy some soon.
I am the editor, but I also speculate, ask questions and play devil's advocate. I reserve the right to change my mind.
Paul, we sail Sunday on the Carnival Splendor, out of Long Beach. We have FRANK sitting down there (makes me think of MASH and when Houlihan would call FRANK!). It looks like it will continue to break down, and stay in the vicinity of 300 miles west of the tip of the Baja. I'm guessing we will encounter some of the effects Monday evening, into Tuesday morning. What are your thoughts?
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