Grand Turk cruise ship calls in question after wharf damaged by Hurricane Fiona


The main cruise ship dock in the Turks and Caicos Islands suffered damage on Tuesday as a strengthening Hurricane Fiona roared over the island destination, raising questions about if and when cruise calls can resume.

Videos of the 200ft-long jetty at the Grand Turk Cruise Center on the Turks and Caicos island of Grand Turk posted on social media sites show parts of its infrastructure breaking apart and washing up on a nearby shore .

Hurricane Fiona hit the Turks and Caicos Islands on Tuesday as a powerful Category 3 storm, with the eye of the storm passing near Grand Turk, the main island of the British Overseas Territory. Fiona was packing winds of up to 115 miles per hour.

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Grand Turk is the capital of the Turks and Caicos Islands, a group of 40 low-lying coral islands southeast of the Bahamas that attracts more than a million cruisers a year.

A spokesperson for Carnival Cruise Line, which operates the Grand Turk Cruise Center and sends by far the most ships to Grand Turk each year, had no damage report for the pier. But he said that, for now, cruise stops in Grand Turk for next week are still on the schedule.

No cruise ships are expected to visit Grand Turk in the coming days.

“Our Fleet Operations Center team in Miami is communicating with officials in Grand Turk and will continue to assess the situation there, but at this time no changes have been made to our itineraries,” the official said. Carnival spokesman Matt Lupoli to TPG.

Turks and Caicos is in the midst of a lull between cruise ship visits. Another cruise ship is not expected to arrive in Grand Turk until Tuesday, when Carnival’s 2,984-passenger Carnival Sunrise is due to call on a four-night voyage from Miami.

The next ships scheduled to visit Grand Turk after that are the 5,282 passengers Mardi Gras and the 2,974-passenger Carnival Freedom. Both ships are due to arrive in Grand Turk on September 29.

Other ships scheduled to visit Grand Turk in the coming weeks include Celebrity Cruises‘ Celebrity Infinity, the carnival legend of Carnival and Holland Americais New Statendam.

About 1.1 million people arrived in the Turks and Caicos Islands by cruise ship in 2019, the last normal year for cruising before the cruise shutdown caused by COVID-19. In a typical year, cruise passengers represent almost 70% of all visitors to the destination.

The Grand Turk Cruise Center cruise ship pier is the only one in the Turks and Caicos Islands. Located at the southern end of Grand Turk, the 13-acre resort is home to a pool, spa, restaurants and bars, including the largest Margaritaville in the Caribbean, and shopping. Up to three cruise ships can dock at the center in one day.

Hurricane Fiona in recent days has caused a number of disruptions to cruise itineraries in the Bahamas and the Caribbean, and on Thursday the disruption spread to the only ship scheduled to visit Bermuda this week.

Norwegian cruise line On Thursday, passengers of the New York-based Norwegian Getaway, which can accommodate 3,963 passengers, told passengers that the ship would sail to New England and Canada over the next few days instead of Bermuda to avoid the storm. The ship was scheduled to leave New York on Thursday for a five-night voyage to Bermuda.

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