Passengers Describe Nightmare as Norwegian Cruise Ship Sailed Into Bomb Cyclone

Jan 6, 2018

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If you think being in the middle of a bomb cyclone on land is unpleasant, be thankful that you didn’t experience one on the ocean.

According to CBS New York, the Norwegian Breakaway, a cruise ship on a round-trip from New York to the Bahamas, ended up sailing directly into the huge storm that has battered the US east coast over the past week during the ship’s return to New York on Tuesday night. Frightened passengers called the journey a “nightmare” as the high surf, heavy rain and strong winds caused the boat to list and take on water during the voyage.

Passengers took to social media to post scenes from the two days spent traversing the storm, with water flowing down stairwells and elevator shafts and into hallways and staterooms.

“I thought I’d never be in a situation where I would say, ‘That’s the scariest moment of my life,’” cruise passenger Karoline Ross, who was part of a group of 21 who were on the voyage together, told CBS New York. Olivia Ross, a family member, reported that, “There were people crying, everyone was throwing up. It was a nightmare.”

“We are not allowed to use any of the interior stairs. All the outdoor decks have been closed off. We are allowed to be in our cabin and in the eating area,” Sherrie Rubin told Fox 5 San Diego from the ship. “Sometimes it feels like we will tilt all the way to one side, and as a matter of fact, we do.”

The Norwegian Breakaway has over 1,200 staterooms and suites, with a capacity for nearly 4,000 passengers and more than 1,600 crew members. The boat was christened in 2013 and is homeported in New York, generally sailing on 7- and 14-day cruises to Bermuda and the Bahamas.

On Twitter, passengers onboard the Breakaway reported a lack of communication from the captain, furniture being tossed about and sick passengers. Some sent out a request for prayers.

Fortunately, the ship made it through the storm without any injuries to passengers or crew. The boat arrived in New York on Friday, a day later than originally scheduled. In a pair of statements issued to CBS New YorkNorwegian Cruise Lines at first made no mention of the situation at sea, but then later apologized for the weather issues.

“During the early morning hours of January 4, Norwegian Breakaway encountered stronger than forecasted weather conditions due to winter storm Grayson during the trip’s return to New York from the Bahamas. All guests and crew are safe. We sincerely apologize to our guests for these stronger than expected weather conditions and any resulting discomfort they may have experienced.”

While the cruise company is offering partial refunds to passengers on the next Breakaway cruise — which will be delayed one day due to the boat’s late arrival in New York — it has not yet said whether it will offer any refunds or compensation to those who sailed through the storm.

Featured image by Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images.

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