Royal Caribbean Cruise Ship Damaged In “Extreme” Storm Turning Around, Heading Back To Port

A Royal Caribbean cruise ship is turning around and heading back to where it started in New Jersey, after the vessel was damaged in an “extreme” storm that forced passengers to take cover in their cabins overnight. Four passengers were injured during the rough ride, though the cruise line says none of those injuries are serious.

The ship Anthem of the Seas was on its way to Port Canaveral, FL yesterday, when it experienced “extreme wind and sea conditions, with wind speeds higher than what was forecasted,” the cruise line said in a statement (via WFTV).

The rough seas prompted the captain to ask guests to stay in their rooms until the weather improved, “in an abundance of caution.” A spokeswoman also told the Associated Press that guests were allowed complimentary access to their minibars while they were stuck in their rooms, which likely helped take some of the edge off.

“At this time there have not been any serious injuries reported,” Royal Caribbean said in its statement. “The ship has sustained some damage to the public areas and guest staterooms, which in no way affect the sea-worthiness of the ship.”

Passengers onboard the ship have been posting on social media and speaking to the press about the experience, describing the waves as reaching as high as 30 feet, the AP reported.

“I was shaking all over,” one passenger told the AP. “Panic attack, things like that … I’ve been on over 20 cruises, I’ve been through a hurricane, it was never like this. Never.”

The seven-day cruise has been canceled, and the ship is on its way back to Cape Liberty, NJ with its 4,500 guests and 1,600 crew members where it was expected to arrive today. Passengers will be offered refunds for the canceled trip.

While the cruise line is calling the weather a surprise, the Huffington Post points out that the storm the ship sailed into has been in the forecast for days.

Royal Caribbean ship to return to Jersey after battling strong storm [WFTV]
‘I was shaking all over’: Cruise ship damaged during storm [Associated Press]