US Where things stand with major Florida theme parks and cruise ships as Ian approaches
Hurricane Ian lashes Cuba, aims at Florida as possible Cat 4
HAVANA (AP) — A strengthening Hurricane Ian’s rain and winds lashed Cuba’s western tip, where authorities have evacuated 50,000 people, as it roared on a path that could see it hit Florida’s west coast as a Category 4 hurricane. © Provided by Associated Press Workers remove a boat from the water in the bay of Havana, Cuba, Monday, Sept. 26, 2022. Hurricane Ian was growing stronger as it approached the western tip of Cuba on a track to hit the west coast of Florida as a major hurricane as early as Wednesday.
As Hurricane Ianearly Tuesday morning, Floridians were keeping an anxious eye on the rapidly intensifying storm. That included the operators of Florida’s popular theme parks.
Here’s a status report of where things stand as of 7:25 a.m. ET Tuesday with various major theme and water parks:
Busch Gardens (Tampa):
Ian’s, but on Tuesday morning, the Tampa Bay Area seemed likely to be in the crosshairs.
As a result, Busch Gardens Tampa Bay said it will be closed on Wednesday and Thursday.
“Due to the projected path of Hurricane Ian, Busch Gardens Tampa Bay has enacted its Named Storm Policy… Precautions are in place following the parks’ comprehensive weather preparedness plan to ensure the safety of our animals and ambassadors during this time,” the park announced on its website.
Residents trapped, 911 down as Hurricane Ian makes landfall in Florida
Residents are trapped by water in homes and streets are unrecognizable, underwater as Hurricane Ian made landfall in southwest Florida on, Wednesday afternoon, crashing into the coast with sustained wind of 155 mph. 1/3 SLIDES © the Naples Police Department The scene in Naples, Fla., near where Hurricane Ian made landfall Wednesday afternoon with sustained winds of 150 mph and a 12- to 18-foot storm surge. Photo courtesy of the Naples Police Department 2/3 SLIDES © NOAA/UPI A satellite image shows Hurricane Ian Tuesday off the coast of Key West, Florida.
“All admission tickets have been extended through December 31,” the park said. Also, “annual Pass members’ guest tickets with an expiration date of Sept. 30 will be extended through Oct. 16.”
Discovery Cove (Orlando)
The all-inclusive day resort with animal encounters and tropical aquatic settings is also closing on Wednesday and Thursday.
The parks said it “will reschedule or refund reservations booked online or from the call center. We will not apply any cancellation or change fees for this service.” You can call +1 407-513-4600 to find out more.
Disney World (Orlando)
Most of Disney World’s properties remain open.
The resort said on its website that it’s “currently operating under normal conditions as we prepare to make necessary adjustments based on the latest information from the National Weather Service.”
Tropical Storm Ian still pounding Florida in '500-year flooding event'; 2.6M without power: Live updates
A section of the Sanibel Causeway collapsed into San Carlos Bay, cutting off access to the barrier island. Tropical Storm Ian updates.The death toll was rising and residents desperately sought rescue Thursday as historically powerful Hurricane Ian, now a tropical storm, hammered Florida with heavy rain and strong winds, one of the strongest systems in U.S. history.
However, some properties and units are closing. The following are closing Wednesday through Friday:
• Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground
• Copper Creek Cabins at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge
• Treehouse Villas at Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa
• The Bungalows at Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort
Closing Wednesday through Thursday are:
• Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon (Blizzard Beach is currently closed anyway)
• Winter Summerland Miniature Golf and Fantasia Gardens Miniature Golf
Disney Springs, a shopping, dining and entertainment area, remains open.
Universal Resort (Orlando)
The movie-themed park of thrill rides is continuing normal park operations currently. The park’s severe weather policy does have no-fee rescheduling or cancellation policies in place should it close.
“In the event that a hurricane or tropical storm warning is issued by the National Hurricane Center or a state of emergency is declared for the Orlando area or in your place of residence, within seven days of your arrival, you can contact our team in advance to reschedule or cancel your Universal Parks & Resorts Vacations Package, hotel room only accommodations and Universal Orlando theme park tickets booked directly with Universal Orlando, without any cancellation or change fees imposed,” the park said on its website.
South Carolina braces for deadly Hurricane Ian to make landfall within HOURS bringing 85mph winds
Scores of residents in Charleston, watching the devastation that Hurricane Ian brought to Florida on television, have fled the city in a steady stream of vehicles and are heading for higher ground. Hurricane Ian, now a Category 1 storm with 85mph sustained winds, is expected to hit the low-lying city at about 2pm ET today, bringing with it 'life-threatening' storm surges and floods, the National Hurricane Center said in its latest update.
Florida ports have a very active cruise schedules. Here’s the status of some of those ships’ routes as of 8:15 p.m. ET Monday:
Norwegian Cruise Lines: The company changed five ports on the Norwegian Sky, which left Miami on Sunday, the cruise line tells CNN. The ship was scheduled to port in George Town, Grand Cayman; Roatan, Honduras; Harvest Caye, Belize; and Cozumel in the Western Caribbean and will now make stops in San Juan, Puerto Rico; St. Thomas, Virgin Islands; Tortola, British Virgin Islands; and Nassau, Bahamas, to avoid the path of Ian.
“The safety and security of our guests and crew is always our number one priority. Due to the projected path of Hurricane Ian, Norwegian Sky’s itinerary has been modified to the below. Guests who booked shore excursions in any of the affected ports through Norwegian Cruise Line will have their excursions refunded to their onboard account,” a spokesperson for the cruise line said.
MSC: The company has changed course on at least one of their ships and monitoring the possibility of changing others, a spokesperson tells CNN. The MSC Seashore, which was originally scheduled to be in the Western Caribbean has been rerouted to ports in the Eastern Caribbean.
Pine Island residents recount horror, fear as Ian bore down
PINE ISLAND, Fla. (AP) — Paramedics and volunteers with a group that rescues people after natural disasters went door to door Saturday on Florida's devastated Pine Island, offering to evacuate residents who spoke of the terror of riding out Hurricane Ian in flooded homes and howling winds. The largest barrier island off Florida’s Gulf Coast, Pine Island has been largely cut off from the outside world. Ian heavily damaged the only bridge to the island, leaving it only reachable by boat or air. For many, the volunteers from the non-profit Medic Corps were the first people they have seen from outside the island in days.
The cruise line is also monitoring the MSC Divinia, which left Port Canaveral on a four-night sailing to Nassau and the Ocean City Marine Reserve on Sunday. MSC says both cruise ports are outside of Ian’s projected path, but advised passengers before leaving that conditions could prevent the ship from returning on Thursday. The cruise line says if there is a delay in their return, the cruise will be extended at no additional cost to guests.
The cruise line does not expect Ian to impact the MSC Seashore, which is set to depart from the Port of Miami on Saturday, October 1.
Carnival Cruise Lines: The company has made adjustments to two of its sailings.
The ship Carnival Ecstasy, which departed from Mobile, Alabama, on Monday for a six-day sailing will visit Progresso Mexico on Wednesday before vising Cozumel on Thursday. The change reorders the visits, as the ship was scheduled to visit Cozumel first, the cruise line tells CNN.
The Carnival Glory left New Orleans on Sunday for an eight-day sailing,and will now port in Mahogany Bay, Roatan, Belize; and Cozumel, Mexico. The ship’s original itinerary was to visit Key West as well as Freeport and Nassau, Bahamas.
Top image: The Magic Kingdom’s iconic Cinderella’s Castle. (Photo by Gregg Newton / Gregg Newton / AFP)
CNN’s CNN’s Jamiel Lynch contributed to this report
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Russia smuggling Ukrainian grain to help pay for Putin's war .
BEIRUT (AP) — When the bulk cargo ship Laodicea docked in Lebanon last summer, Ukrainian diplomats said the vessel was carrying grain stolen by Russia and urged Lebanese officials to impound the ship. Moscow called the allegation “false and baseless,” and Lebanon’s prosecutor general sided with the Kremlin and declared that the 10,000 tons of barley and wheat flour wasn’t stolen and allowed the ship to unload. But an investigation by TheMoscow called the allegation “false and baseless,” and Lebanon’s prosecutor general sided with the Kremlin and declared that the 10,000 tons of barley and wheat flour wasn’t stolen and allowed the ship to unload.