Florida opens up hotel rooms, ports to Florence evacuees

ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — Long accustomed to its residents evacuating north when hurricanes threaten, Florida is in the unusual position of accommodating diverted cruise ships and hotel-room seekers hoping to escape the wrath of Hurricane Florence.

Florida emergency officials said Thursday they had no way of tracking how many residents from the Carolinas had escaped to Florida this week. But some hotels were offering special discounts for evacuees and Florida ports were opening their terminals to cruise ships making unexpected ports of call.

Port Canaveral along Florida’s Space Coast had two ships visiting unexpectedly. Thousands of passengers on both ships took excursions to Orlando theme parks, local beaches and the nearby Kennedy Space Center.

In Orlando, hotelier Harris Rosen was offering substantial discounts to evacuees at his nine hotels.

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