Royal Caribbean Cruise Ship Gets Battered By Storm

Anthem of the Seas, one of the newest and biggest cruise ships on the ocean, got the stuffing beat out of it in a storm today.  Coincidentally, my wife’s parents just finished a cruise on this ship literally the day before the ship headed back out to sea.  My mother-in-law is pretty glad she’s not on board.

If you haven’t seen the pictures of what happened they’re quite disturbing.  Twitter has plenty of folks who have captured the action:

As noted by USA Today, passengers were confined to their cabins amidst abnormally high seas:

A buoy in the Atlantic about 260 miles south of Cape Hatteras reported wave heights of 30 feet and wind gusts of 74 mph late Sunday, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. A screen shot of the wind gauge on Anthem cabin TVs posted by a passenger on Twitter shows wind speeds as high as 106 knots, the equivalent of 122 mph.

A passenger posting on a message board at CruiseCritic.com reported waves crashing as high as the Deck 5 promenade, with water seeping into the ship through the doorways before watertight doors were closed. Another passenger posting at CruiseCritic.com said a large white structure broke off the top of the vessel and landed in a pool.

That sounds like a pretty scary situation even for the most experienced of cruise passengers.  While these ships have plenty of safety systems, no ship is completely safe.  Even in hurricane force winds and waves, the ship seems to have taken only minor damage with only a few injuries reported.  And, the cruise line seems to be doing the right thing by their customers:

Royal Caribbean said passengers will receive full refunds of the fare they paid for the cruise and a credit for a future cruise equal to 50% of the fare.

There’s a big outcry that Royal Caribbean was irresponsible for leaving port when the storm was already forecast to be in the area.  My general experience here is that ships are safer out to sea than in a port when a big storm blows in.  My best guess here is that they felt the amended path they were taking would be far enough away from the eye of the storm to be considered safe.

They obviously guessed wrong, but I don’t think for a minute that a publicly held company as big as Royal Caribbean is going to knowingly risk 6,000 lives to save a ship.  I’m glad to hear most everyone is safe.  With the size of the storm this could certainly have been worse.

Featured image is Quantum of the Seas, sister ship to Anthem.

The post Royal Caribbean Cruise Ship Gets Battered By Storm was published first on Pizza In Motion.

22 Comments

  1. Apparently a new perk of RCL – in-cabin mini bar is free when with 100 knot winds!. I’m still not sure I ever want to be in 100 knot winds! I’ve been out running boats in near 50 knot winds, and while I’m I could do more, that was certainly an experience!

  2. So as far as I know, there’s some sort of a legal issue with taking passengers on a non-US flagged vessel between two domestic US ports, similarto how airlimea are mot allowed to do that. I think that’s the Jane’s act, but I might be wrong. Royal Caribbean ships are registered in Bermuda and the Bahamas and maybe in other countries. Does anybody know how is it possible for them to take passengers between two domestic US ports?

    1. The NYC area to Canaveral leg is just one. As long as the itinerary includes a stop at a foreign port, it is considered compliant. Ultimately, this cruise will have turned into a “cruise to nowhere” which are no longer allowed from the US on foreign flagged ships. But will likely fall under some kind of exception given the storm experience. They’re probably doing the right thing by cancelling the cruise and going home. It will give them some time to make repairs and clean up, and the folks that want off, and I’m sure there are a handful, can get off the ship and go home.

      1. MJ, I think given some of the reports after (like 180 mph winds) make returning to port the easy call. Might disappoint some folks, but I can’t imagine pushing on in the face of those variables would have been wise.

  3. Krembo is correct, except it is called the Jones Act. Among other things, it requires that ships must be ‘materially’ constructed in the US, with a portion of US crew, etc. NCL actually augmented a couple of their ships to serve Hawaii without the long trip to stop at a non-US territory.

    That said, good maritime practice is to render assistamce, and this ship clearly needed assistance, I’m sure they will get a pass.

  4. Ships are safer at sea, but a responsible crew doesn’t say lets go guys you’ll be safe with us at sea. Take the boat out to sea and leave the pax on land. Sounds like profits got in the way. I was on RCCL Raphsody in 2009 Alaska cruise and we got hit with 45 foot waves. They sent everyone indoors and cancelled all events. I didn’t make up the 45 foot waves data. The cruise director said it on the PA next morning. Hallway partitions moved like snakes side to side the length of the ship. It was pretty terrifying. Next morning some pax said that waves were knocking down the stuff from their shelves. I didn’t feel safe that night. So again, profits. They took a chance so they wouldn’t have to cancel the cruise, and they screwed up.

  5. As far as the Jones Act, I believe there is no violation since they did not go to another port. The ship is returning to Bayonne, NJ, where they left from, on Tuesday morning. If they had docked in Port Canaveral, as was the plan, then they would be subjected to the $300 pp fine unless it was waived. Since Bayone is their home port, repairs would be done there as well as restocking dinnerware, food, etc. The captain made mention of another storm off the coast of Jacksonville and didn’t want the passengers to go through it again. He is hoping to get to New Jersey between these two systems. Also, although the reports have said that there is only cosmetic damage, who knows until everything has been inspected and gone over thoroughly.

    Also, the captain today as he was being interviewed by the Cruise Director stated that at one point, the wind was 180 mph – quite a storm

      1. Yes, it was way outside of the forecast. I got that information from the captain’s video chat (link post in next comment). That’s why some weathermen are calling it a “bombogenesis” – a mid-latitude cyclone that drops in surface barometric pressure by 24 or more millibars in a 24-hour period. The height contours pack around the center of rotation and the number of height contours increases rapidly in the developing stages (definition from Wikipedia). Jane

  6. I feel bad for the first-time cruisers. I’m sure this experience will turn some of them off of cruising, which is a real shame since it can be a great experience.

    1. Arcanum, agree. Though we haven’t been on a ship in a while, we really love it. My wife likes to unpack in one place and I like to explore multiple destinations. Cruises give us both exactly what we want. We’re RCCL cruisers. You?

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