Caribbean open to cruises, tourism despite storms

Nearly two months after Hurricanes Irma And Maria devastated parts of the Caribbean, the cruise industry wants you to know that most of region's ports are now open for business.

Last month the Florida Caribbean Cruise Association launched a multimillion-dollar advertising campaign called "The Caribbean Is Open." leaders of the association point out that while some ports were hard hit the majority of Caribbean destinations fared well in the storms. Many are open for tourists and the rest should be open by later this month.

While many cruises were disrupted or cancelled in the immediate aftermath of the storms, a number of cruise lines instead used their ships to aid in hurricane response by delivering supplies and, in some cases, evacuating residents and tourists from hard-hit areas to southern Florida.

Stewart Chiron is known as the cruise guy. He has traveled on 250 cruises and runs a cruise booking website. He says booking a cruise to the Caribbean can help the islands recover. A single cruise stop on an island can generate half a million dollars for that local economy, according to the Florida Caribbean Cruise Association. Chiron says those dollars are especially needed now as the islands try to bounce back.

Chiron says that despite the three- to four-week hiccup in cruise reservations right after the storms, bookings have since resumed a normal pattern and are actually ahead of last year. Prices are also slightly up, he says, but that doesn't mean there aren't deals. Chiron has found deals as low as $699 per person for a six- to eight-night trip on Carnival's new Vista and as low as $499 a person on a seven-night Princess cruise.

Your best bet is to avoid holidays and weeks when schools have vacation, if you can.