Tropical Storm Ernesto
Tropical Storm Ernesto's expected path NOAA

Tropical Storm Ernesto, the fifth of just six named storms in 2012, has caused nearly a half dozen cruise ships to scramble their schedules in the Western Caribbean.

The meandering storm was just to the east of Honduras on Monday morning and is expected to scrape the nation's coast Monday night with maximum sustained winds of around 50 miles per hour.

Several Carnival ships have altered course to avoid the 125-mile-wide storm. Carnival Legend, which left Tampa on Sunday, will forgo its scheduled calls in Belize and Mahogany Bay, Honduras, this week and instead call on Montego Bay, Jamaica.

Carnival Freedom, which departed Fort Lauderdale Sunday, will likely reverse the order of its stops in Grand Cayman and Ocho Rios, Jamaica, visiting the latter on Wednesday instead of Thursday.

Carnival Triumph, which departed from Galveston Saturday, will also reverse the order of its calls in Progreso and Cozumel, Mexico, scheduled for Monday and Tuesday.

Carnival Magic, which left from Galveston Sunday, is expected to announce a new schedule Monday that will feature stops in the Bahamas and "fun days" at sea rather than visits to Grand Cayman and Montego Bay, Jamaica.

Disney Fantasy, which departed Port Canaveral Saturday, opted to sail through the Eastern Caribbean for its voyage this week instead of the planned trip through the Western Caribbean.

According to the 8:00 a.m. EST alert from the National Hurricane Center, Tropical Storm Ernesto was about 145 miles east of Cabo Gracias a Dios on the Nicaragua-Honduras border moving west at 12 miles per hour.

A hurricane watch is in effect for the Yucatan Peninsula of Mexico from Chetumal to Punta Gruesa. A tropical storm warning, meanwhile, is in effect for the coast of Honduras from the Nicaragua border westward to Punta Sal, including the Bay Islands, while a tropical storm watch is in effect for Grand Cayman, the coast of Honduras from west of Punta Sal to the Guatemala border and the Yucatan Peninsula of Mexico from north of Punta Gruesa to Tulum.

Interests in Belize have been urged to monitor the progress of Ernesto, which is expected to make a direct hit early Wednesday if the current predictions hold. Forecasters anticipate some strengthening before then, but Ernesto is expected to remain a tropical storm when it hits land.