The main cruise ship dock in Turks and Caicos suffered damage Tuesday as a strengthening Hurricane Fiona roared across the island destination, raising questions about whether and when cruise calls can resume.
Videos of the 200-foot-long pier at the Grand Turk Cruise Center on the Turks and Caicos island of Grand Turk posted on social media sites show that pieces of its infrastructure have broken off and washed up on a nearby shore.
Hurricane Fiona slammed into Turks and Caicos on Tuesday as a powerful Category 3 storm, with the eye of the storm passing near Grand Turk — the British Overseas Territory’s main island. Fiona was packing winds of up to 115 miles per hour.
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Grand Turk is the capital of Turks and Caicos, a grouping of 40 low-lying coral islands southeast of the Bahamas that draws more than 1 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 on an annual basis, didn’t have a damage report for the pier. But he said that, for now, cruise calls at Grand Turk for next week still are on the schedule.
No cruise ships are scheduled to visit Grand Turk in the next few days.
“The team at our Fleet Operations Center in Miami is communicating with officials in Grand Turk and will continue to assess the situation there, but as of now, no changes to our itineraries have been made,” Carnival spokesperson Matt Lupoli told TPG.
Turks and Caicos is in the midst of a lull between cruise ship visits. Another cruise ship isn’t due to arrive in Grand Turk until Tuesday, when Carnival’s 2,984-passenger Carnival Sunrise is scheduled to visit as part of a four-night voyage from Miami.
The next ships scheduled to visit Grand Turk after that are the 5,282-passenger Mardi Gras and the 2,974-passenger Carnival Freedom. Both ships are due in Grand Turk on Sept. 29.
Other ships scheduled to visit Grand Turk in the coming weeks include Celebrity Cruises’ Celebrity Infinity, Carnival’s Carnival Legend and Holland America’s Nieuw Statendam.
About 1.1 million people arrived in Turks and Caicos by cruise ship in 2019, the last normal year for cruising before the COVID-19-caused cruising shutdown. In a typical year, cruisers account for nearly 70% of all visitors to the destination.
The cruise ship pier at the Grand Turk Cruise Center is the only one in Turks and Caicos. Located at the southern end of Grand Turk, the 13-acre center is home to a pool, a spa, restaurants and bars including the largest Margaritaville in the Caribbean, and shops. As many as three cruise ships can dock at the center in a day.
Hurricane Fiona in recent days has caused a number of disruptions to cruise itineraries in the Bahamas and the Caribbean, and Thursday the disruptions spread to the one ship scheduled to sail to Bermuda this week.
Norwegian Cruise Line on Thursday told passengers on the New York-based, 3,963-passenger Norwegian Getaway that the ship would sail to New England and Canada over the coming days instead of Bermuda to avoid the storm. The ship had been scheduled to depart New York on Thursday on a five-night voyage to Bermuda.
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