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Bahamas-bound cruise diverted to New England, Canada after inclement weather, cruise line says

The MSC Meraviglia cruise ship leaves the port of New York, on Dec. 9, 2023. (Charly Triballeau/AFP via Getty Images)

(NEW YORK) — Passengers of a cruise who were expecting a sunny getaway in the Bahamas this week were instead sailed to a much colder climate due to severe weather.

The MSC Meraviglia was forced to sail from Brooklyn, New York, to ports in New England and Canada on Saturday instead of its original destination in the Bahamas “due to unseasonable and rapidly worsening weather that would have made it impossible to safely reach the southern Atlantic Ocean from New York City,” the MSC cruise line said in a statement to ABC News.

The move came after heavy storms struck the East Coast and the Bahamas causing flooding, power outages and several deaths.

“The only alternative would have been to take the more extreme step of canceling the cruise — and thousands of people’s vacations — outright,” MSC said.

“The complexities involved in obtaining last-minute berths for unplanned stops and provisioning the ship along its new route left sailing to Canada and New England as the only viable option,” the cruise line added.

MSC also said it offered passengers a choice of sailing to the new destinations or canceling for future credit, “which allows them to put the full value paid for this cruise toward another at their convenience.”

The MSC Meraviglia is slated to arrive in the Port of Saint John in Canada on Thursday, the port wrote on X, the platform formerly known as Twitter.

The cruise ship can accommodate up to 5,624 passengers and 1,608 crew members, the cruise line says on its website. It was unclear how many passengers were aboard the rerouted Bahamas cruise.

Chris Gray Faust, executive editor of review site Cruise Critic, told ABC News this kind of scenario and decision to change the cruise’s itinerary is “not necessarily out of the question,” and that some other cruise lines were reportedly impacted by the inclement weather.

Faust said that cruise lines typically have a “contract of carriage” clause that doesn’t guarantee the ports the ship will travel to and allows the cruise operator to change the itinerary for various issues, including weather.

“Generally weather in December is fairly stable in Florida and the Bahamas, but it has been rough last weekend in particular,” she said.

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