Tropical Storm Bonnie forces cruise ships near Florida to alter itineraries

By Gene Sloan, USA TODAY

The National Hurricane Center’s forecast track for Tropical Storm Bonnie as of 8 am EDT on Friday, July 23, 2010.
The newly formed Tropical Storm Bonnie already is causing some disruptions for cruise ships sailing around Florida and the Bahamas.

Carnival says the Baltimore-based Carnival Pride is skipping a port call scheduled for today in Freeport, Bahamas to avoid the storm. The 2,124-passenger ship instead will remain at sea.

Carnival says another of its vessels, the Carnival Destiny, is skipping a port call scheduled for today in Key West and instead heading straight to its next stop, Cozumel. The 2,642-passenger ship will visit Cozumel on Saturday and switch its Key West visit to Sunday before returning to Miami on Monday morning.

Royal Caribbean’s 1,950-passenger Grandeur of the Seas also is skipping a port call scheduled for today in Key West and heading straight for Cozumel. Royal Caribbean spokeswoman Cynthia Martinez tells USA TODAY the line has yet to decide whether the ship will stop in Key West on its way back from Mexico.

As of 8:00 AM EDT, Bonnie was about 75 miles east of the town of Marathon in the Florida Keys and moving to the west-northwest at about 19 miles per hour. The storm has maximum sustained winds near 40 miles per hour.

The National Hurricane Center says Bonnie could strengthen modestly over the next two days as it moves into the Gulf of Mexico, but for now it is not expected to grow into a hurricane. The Center forecasts the storm will make landfall somewhere between eastern Texas and Alabama on Sunday.

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