Passengers on board a Royal Caribbean International ship struck by a severe winter storm in the Atlantic are being offered a full refund and 50% off a future cruise after their voyage was cancelled.
Images posted online by passengers showed damaged public areas of Anthem of the Seas after the ship encountered extreme weather as it sailed from Cape Liberty in New Jersey to Port Canaveral in Florida.
They described hurricane-force winds and giant waves which overturned furniture, smashed glass and collapsed part of a ceiling.
RCL's Anthem/Seas hit by storm off Carolina coast. Headed to Port Canaveral. Some damage aboard. Arrival about noon. pic.twitter.com/aJ9eRniNFf— NBC 6 South Florida (@nbc6) February 8, 2016
Passengers were confined to their cabins on Sunday afternoon until the storm passed. Four were reported injured, although not seriously.
A journalist on board told USA Today: “The captain told everyone that the day was among his most challenging – if not his most challenging – at sea.”
Launched last year, Anthem of the Seas was carrying 4,529 passengers and 1,616 crew on a seven-night cruise from its home port in Bayonne, New Jersey, to the Bahamas that set off on Saturday.
Royal Caribbean said: “Anthem of the Seas will turn around and sail back to Cape Liberty, New Jersey. This decision was made due to weather forecasted for the next few days that is likely to impact the ship’s original itinerary.
“We are also sensitive to the fact that our guests have already been through an uncomfortable ride. Returning to Cape Liberty minimises the risks of further bad weather affecting our guests’ voyage; we are optimistic that they will have a smooth sail home.
“We appreciate the patience and co-operation of our guests. We know it was tough day on Sunday and apologise for their discomfort.
“We also thank our captain and crew for guiding the ship safely back to better weather.
“Royal Caribbean International will provide each guest with full refund of the fare paid for their cruise. We will also provide each guest with a future cruise certificate for 50% of the cruise fare paid.
“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.”
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