Hurricane Sandy could boost Brevard business

Storm forcing cruise ships to Port Canaveral

PORT CANAVERAL, Fla. - The 18th named storm this hurricane season is expected to bring dangerous conditions to Brevard County's beaches late this week, but officials say there will be some positive effects on the Space Coast.

The Category 2 hurricane, with winds of 105 mph, is weakening as it continues to move north through the Bahamas, weather officials said.

In the storm's path Thursday and Friday are the Bahamas, which means that cruise ships have begun to adjust their itineraries and at least one airline has canceled flights. Orlando International Airport officials said two Bahamas Air flights scheduled for Thursday had been canceled, though there had been no reported changes to flights at Melbourne International Airport.

Officials with Disney Cruise Lines told Florida Today that the Disney Fantasy and Disney Dream, which depart Port Canaveral, will substitute stops at Castaway Cay with days at sea. Two Carnival cruise ships plan to dock in Port Canaveral, new stops added because of the hurricane.

"Some of the ships from Norfolk and Miami are coming to Port Canaveral. The passengers will be able to go to the beach and we'll still sell shore excursions to the area attractions," said Vance Gulliksen, a spokesman for Carnival Cruise Lines. "Right now, the storm is not impacting any of our Port Canaveral-based ships."

County officials say the ships will bring a boost to the local economy.

"Obviously, it's a great thing when you have literally thousands of people coming into your area and doing these excursions and spending time and money in Brevard County," said Tom Williamson, vice chairman of the Brevard County Tourism Development Council.

Far out in the Atlantic, Tropical Storm Tony posed no threat to land.

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