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When Hurricane Irma interrupted our Caribbean Cruise

A Hurricane of a Cruise!

A luxury cruise on the Harmony of the Seas, the world’s largest cruise ship, is the dream of every luxury traveler. Recently a group of 14 Wanderers from across the world chose WOW to make their dream come true. And it was an incredible journey with lovely memories to cherish forever. All on board!


The cruise started from Fort Lauderdale, Florida in September. But little did we know that Hurricane Irma was to show up on the same route as the ship! And suddenly – it was Irma that was breaking news on every news channel. So what happened next?

First, a quick recap on Irma. Hurricane Irma was the first major hurricane to make landfall in Florida since Wilma in 2005. Irma sustained 185 mph winds for more than 24 hours, a record length of time for a hurricane in the Atlantic. Needless to say, it was a very dangerous storm.

It was on the 6th day of the lovely trip when in Cozumel, Mexico, the group discovered that the devastating hurricane was on its way to Florida. The Captain of the cruise made a ship-wide announcement about the hurricane to the people on board and assured them of safety and sustenance. The ship made an emergency diversion to towards Costa Maya from Cozumel.

The WOW group came out of the whole event unscratched but definitely with few tales to share and a lifetime of shared experiences.

There were a few tense moments for the Wanderers, but the ship managed to slip out of the path of the hurricane. It was only on the 11th of September, that the Harmony of Seas made her way towards Florida. Due to Irma, the cruise got extended by 3 more days! The WOW group came out of the whole event unscratched but definitely with few tales to share and a lifetime of shared experiences.

As a Wanderer recalls –

“The cruise was extended as Florida was ravaged by the Hurricane and the ship did not get permission to dock at Fort Lauderdale. As a bonus we got to visit the port of Costa Maya (some more insight into the Mayan civilization) a somewhat somnolent yet vibrant town with its offering of Tequila.
Both the Captain and our WOW buddy did their best to soothe our nerves, lift our spirits and keep us calm. Talk about ‘Disaster Management’! This is another reason why one chooses WOW as a travel ‘companion’. The rescheduled tickets, the insurance, the stay at Fort Lauderdale in a comfortable hotel against all odds, et all were handled by WOW…what a relief!! I expectantly look forward to my next trip.”

But that was not all!

Return to Florida

Once in Florida, the Wanderers were facing issues to book their return tickets as airlines had cancelled all flights because of Irma and closure of the airport. Not only that, as other cruise ships returned back to Florida, hotels were very hard to come by. But as the saying goes “There is light at the end of the tunnel” – after initial hiccups, WOW Buddy Vithika, arranged the safe stay for her group of wanderers at Holiday Inn, Fort Lauderdale in Florida for the next 2 days. The hotel was very accommodating and given the situation, did not mind few extra Wanderers sharing the rooms without paying extra.

Vithika handled the situation with maturity and dedication and put up a great show in engaging the troubled wanderers in various activities. As she recalls her adventurous cruise, – “Yes I was tense but I always tried to think calmly at every point

This trip was much more of an adventure than any of us could have ever bargained for. Luckily, everything turned out well – and we even managed to get 3 more days on the largest Cruise ship in the World!

Sumitra Senapaty

Sumitra Senapaty

Sumitra Senapaty is the founder of The WOW Club. She logged thousands of miles around the world as a wanderer, culminating with the creation of the WOW Club travel platform for Women.

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When Hurricane Irma interrupted our Caribbean Cruise
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