Royal Caribbean Ship Caught In Storm Off South Carolina

Royal Caribbean Cruise Ship Caught in Storm, Anthem Of The Seas Forced To Return To Port

A Royal Caribbean cruise ship, the Anthem of the Seas, has been forced to abandon its journey to Florida and the Bahamas after being caught in a nor’easter storm of up to 150 mph winds off the coast of South Carolina, according to the Daily Mail. Four passengers were injured on board, although none seriously. Jacob Ibrag, a Royal Caribbean passenger traveling with his family, described being on board.

“‘At one point a group of ten people got stuck in the middle of floors in an elevator. People banded together to help the mechanic on site to get the people out’ he said the ship’s rocking was so intense, he’s sure people on board became ill.”

Another passenger, Adam Middleton, told The Mirror the Royal Caribbean captain said, “[it] was the worst day at sea he’s ever had.”

“He had to turn the ship around when it got bad. We had to take things off the tables and secure fragile belongings as everything was sliding around. It was scary because we didn’t expect it to be so bad…[we’re] relieved to say the least. It’s quite scary being out at sea during that knowing there’s nowhere to go.”

The Anthem of the Seas, which was carrying over 6,000 passengers plus crew members and is the world’s third-largest cruise ship, left Cape Liberty, New Jersey, for its Caribbean destination on Saturday despite the storm, which had waves of up to 30 feet. In a statement on their official blog, Royal Caribbean wrote there was “damage to public areas and guest staterooms which in no way affect the sea-worthiness of the ship.”

“On Sunday, February 7, while sailing to Port Canaveral, Florida, Anthem of the Seas experienced extreme wind and sea conditions, with wind speeds higher than what was forecasted (sic). In an abundance of caution, the Captain asked all guests to stay in their stateroom until the weather improved.”

The decision was made by Royal Carribbean to turn the Anthem of the Seas around and return to New Jersey. Royal Caribbean took to Twitter in an attempt to reassure passengers.

Meanwhile, several passengers tweeted about their Royal Carribbean adventures using the hashtag #anthemoftheseas, including some pretty terrifying videos.

There were also pictures posted of the damage on board the ship, which according to Ship-Technology cost Royal Caribbean around $940 million after its launch in early 2015.

The Coast Guard was on standby just in case the worst happened. Speaking to CBS News, they said the Royal Caribbean ship “…wasn’t in distress, adding that it was in touch with the Royal Caribbean every hour, and that the weather was improving.”

The Royal Caribbean blog reassured passengers that the Anthem of the Seas could take the weather in its stride.

“Safety is our highest priority and ships are designed to withstand even more extreme circumstances than Anthem of the Seas encountered. While the weather was unpleasant, the ship remained seaworthy at all times.”

As an apology, Royal Caribbean is refunding the cost of the ill-fated cruise and is offering a 50 percent discount on any future voyages with the line. During the storm, the minibars in guests’ cabins were free of charge, although it isn’t known if any passengers were capable of eating or drinking at the time.

At least there was a little good news for Royal Caribbean and those on board. Although passenger Robert Huschka told USA Today that the storm was “truly terrifying” and “a very nervous cruise director kept coming on…[who] didn’t sound very reassuring,” he was pleasantly surprised that the television signal for the Super Bowl held out.

“It was a ‘perfect picture during the height of the storm…that certainly improved my mood.'”

[Image via Shutterstock]