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:
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.
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