Hurricane Matthew muddies plans for some cruise lines

The Grand Celebration cruise ship sails through the Palm Beach Inlet toward its home at the Port of Palm Beach after a trip to the Bahamas, July 23, 2016 in Palm Beach, Florida. (Greg Lovett / The Palm Beach Post)
The Grand Celebration cruise ship sails through the Palm Beach Inlet toward its home at the Port of Palm Beach after a trip to the Bahamas, July 23, 2016 in Palm Beach, Florida. (Greg Lovett / The Palm Beach Post)

Port restrictions in effect because of Hurricane Matthew have prompted itinerary adjustments for several cruise lines, AAA said Wednesday in a news release.

The Coast Guard has set port condition “Yankee” for all ports from Miami north to Jacksonville. Condition Yankee means no vessels may enter or remain in the port without the Coast Guard’s approval.

» COMPLETE LIST OF SHELTERS, EMERGENCY RESOURCES

The Grand Celebration cruise ship, which sails out of the Port of Palm Beach, had to receive Coast Guard approval to drop off its load of passengers Wednesday morning after the Coast Guard set the Palm Beach port’s condition to Yankee at 9 p.m. Tuesday.

Port of Palm Beach spokeswoman Tara Monks said there were about 500 passengers on board the ship.

» The latest on how Matthew is affecting flights in South Florida

“If (the ship) had happened to ask to stay, it would be up to the Coast Guard,” Monks said.

Cruise ships along Florida’s east coast are facing the same dilemma, AAA said, of whether to head out to calm seas or find a different port.

“Cruise line officials have already adjusted itineraries to avoid island-destinations impacted by the hurricane, but these port closures makes returning home very tricky,” AAA director of field travel support Vicky Evans said in a news release.

Cruise lines affected by Matthew include Royal Caribbean, Carnival, Disney, MSC, Norwegian and Princess, AAA said.

Three ships scheduled to return to port Thursday now will return Friday: the Empress of the Seas and Carnival Sensation, out of Port Miami; and the Carnival Victory out of Port Canaveral.

Evans advises travelers to reach out to their cruise lines to see if their trips will be affected by the storm.

More coverage of Hurricane Matthew:

The latest from The Post’s weather reporter, Kim Miller

Make sure you have your hurricane supplies

Which Palm Beach County gas stations can pump without power?

AAA, Budweiser offer free “Tow and Go” service Labor Day weekend

AAA and Budweiser have teamed up to offer rides to drivers who may have had too much to drink this Labor Day weekend. TRAFFIC PENNSYLVANIA TURNPIKE

The auto club said the free service will be available to both members and non-members beginning Friday and running through 6 a.m. Tuesday.

AAA said the service will transport drivers and their vehicles either home or somewhere safe within a 10 mile radius of the pickup location.

“Labor Day weekend is a great opportunity to get together with friends and family,” said Amy Stracke, Executive Director for AAA’s Auto Club Group Traffic Safety Foundation. “Please plan ahead to make sure all of your loved ones get home safely – especially when alcohol is involved.”

Since its inception in 1998, Tow to Go has safely removed more than 24,000 impaired drivers from roads across the Southeast. It is designed to be a safety net for motorists who did not plan ahead when drinking away from home on celebratory holidays. It is offered based on the availability of AAA drivers and tow trucks during times of high call volume. The Auto Club Group Traffic Safety Foundation provides Tow to Go to help keep all motorists safe from the dangers of impaired driving.

“The Tow to Go program is an effective way to promote the use of Designated Drivers and help prevent impaired driving,” said Katja Zastrow, Vice President of Corporate Social Responsibility for Anheuser-Busch. “We are proud to partner with AAA and their roadside assistance drivers to help keep our roads safe.”

Drivers in Florida, Georgia, Tennessee and parts of Nebraska can access the service by calling (855) 2-TOW-2-GO or (855) 286-9246.

Tow to Go Guidelines:

  • Confidential local ride within a 10-mile radius to a safe location
  • The AAA tow truck takes the vehicle and the driver home
  • Free and available to both AAA members and non-members
  • Tow to Go is provided in Florida, Georgia, Tennessee and Nebraska (Omaha and Lincoln only)

West Palm Beach Hilton wins AAA’s Four Diamond award

The Hilton West Palm Beach,  located next to Palm Beach County’s Convention Center, has joined a list of more than a dozen other hotels that have been honored with a AAA Four Diamond Rating.

Alex Sasieta of Miami, left, talks to Dana Esposito, of Miami, center and Ashley Newman, of Boynton Beach, at the pool at the Hilton West Palm Beach, May 28, 2016 in West Palm Beach. (Greg Lovett / The Palm Beach Post)
Alex Sasieta of Miami, left, talks to Dana Esposito, of Miami, center and Ashley Newman, of Boynton Beach, at the pool at the Hilton West Palm Beach, May 28, 2016 in West Palm Beach. (Greg Lovett / The Palm Beach Post)

The 400-room Hilton, which opened in January, was recently awarded the coveted rating, making it the only large-scale hotel in West Palm Beach to receive the honor. Only 5.7 percent of the nearly 28,000 hotels approved by AAA make the Four Diamond list.

To celebrate the accolade, the Hilton is holding a special champagne toast. Throughout the month of August, guests will receive 10 percent off a glass of bubbly at Galley, the hotel’s nautical-inspired bar every day at 4 p.m., the hotel said.

In all, 15 local hotels have earned AAA Four Diamond award.

Three local hotels – Eau Palm Beach Resort & Spa in Manalapan, the Four Seasons Resort Palm Beach, and The Breakers in Palm Beach – received AAA Five Diamond rating.

 

 

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