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For Hurricane Joaquin, travel agents, cruise lines 'wait and see'

Travel agencies, airlines and cruise lines said Thursday they are taking a "wait-and-see" approach, for the most part, before canceling travel plans to the Caribbean, noting weather forecasters' reports of Hurricane Joaquin's uncertain path.

"We have not had any cancellations yet," said Carmela Bleich, office manager of Creative Travel/American Express in Huntington. That could be because of the differing predictions of Joaquin's trajectory, she said.

"One says it's going to come; the other says it's going out to sea," she said.

Marcia Bader, owner of Travel Solutions by Marcia in Baldwin, who specializes in destination weddings, was relieved that she has no Caribbean bookings next week.

"Thank goodness I don't have a wedding next week," she said, adding, "I steer them away from this week because it's the tail end of hurricane season."

Ross Feinstein, spokesman for American Airlines' headquarters in Fort Worth, Texas, said the airline was "monitoring the movement of this storm pretty closely right now."

"There's a few different tracks of this thing," Feinstein said. "It's a little too early to start putting in larger waivers in effect."

He said American so far had put into effect waivers affecting three airports in the Bahamas: Freeport, Marsh Harbour and Nassau. The waivers allow clients to change flight plans without incurring a change fee.

The airline had only canceled one flight to the Bahamas so far, he said Thursday afternoon, and all departures out of Nassau were "still going on time."

JetBlue officials also were monitoring Joaquin.

"We haven't made any changes yet" to flight plans, spokesman Jared Mandel said. "Right now, we are waiving change fees for customers traveling to and from the Bahamas if their flight is affected."

Norwegian Cruise Line, in a statement released to the media, said: "We have been closely monitoring Hurricane Joaquin, which is forecast to pass near the islands of the Bahamas this week. Due to the storm's projected track, Norwegian Getaway will be altering her itinerary, to ensure our guests have the best vacation experience possible. Norwegian Getaway will not call in Nassau, Bahamas this week. Instead, the ship will remain at sea on Friday and return to Miami as scheduled on Saturday morning."

Meanwhile, Carnival Cruise Line posted a message on its website,, saying, "We are closely monitoring Hurricane Joaquin. At this time, no changes have been made to itineraries for cruises departing this weekend. Updates will be posted here if there is any change in the status of upcoming voyages."

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