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Hurricane Harvey Has 20,000 Cruise Ship Passengers Stuck at Sea

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As Hurricane Harvey begins to bear down on Texas, thousands of vacationers aboard cruise ships are left stuck at sea until the storm passes.

Four cruise lines with a total of 20,000 passengers on board previously scheduled to dock in Galveston, Texas, will likely be postponed well into next week, the Houston Chronicle reports. Three of the ships are Carnival cruise lines, while the fourth belongs to Royal Caribbean.

Hurricane Harvey strengthened to a category 3 storm Friday afternoon ahead of its anticipated landfall late Friday night or early Saturday morning.

Carnival spokesperson Christine de la Huerta said in a statement to the Chronicle that two Carnival ships previously scheduled to dock in Galveston on Saturday will instead stop in New Orleans.

“Guests who wish to terminate their cruise at that point and disembark in New Orleans may do so,” she said. “However, given the severity and projected path of the storm along with potential challenges guests may encounter attempting to travel back to Galveston independently, we are strongly encouraging them to remain on board as we intend to return the ships to Galveston as soon as feasible.”

The third Carnival ship will dock in Cozumel, Mexico, and head to Galveston on Saturday, the Chronicle reports.

Royal Caribbean did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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Write to Mahita Gajanan at mahita.gajanan@time.com