Cruise ship passengers document mess after hurricane winds and high waves

Tempest tosses chairs, tables aboard luxury liner

Royal Caribbean Storm

A weeklong cruise to the Bahamas started Saturday from Cape Liberty, N.J., but ran into high seas off the Carolinas. (LeannePetronne/Twitter Jacob Ibrag/Twitter)



Passengers on board Royal Caribbean's Anthem of the Seas cruise ship documented the effects of hurricane force winds and waves that reportedly reached nine metres in height on Sunday night. 

The Anthem of the Seas was travelling south from New Jersey to the Bahamas when a storm hit off the coast of South Carolina, reported Florida Today.

The ship carrying 5,000 passengers departed for a weeklong trip on Saturday from Cape Liberty, N.J., in fair weather, but near the Carolinas the weather turned extreme. 

The local weather service declared that the region off the coast of Cape Fear, N.C., would experience hurricane force winds, according to the Washington Post. The ship had been heading to Port Canaveral, Fla., at the time. 

Passengers reported being stuck in their cabins and that the winds outside reached roughly 240 km/h. The Washington Post notes, however, that this speed is much higher than the coast guard reported. 

Several passengers caught the thrashing waves on video. 

"In an abundance of caution, the captain asked all guests to stay in their stateroom until the weather improved," Cynthia Martinez, a Royal Caribbean spokeswoman, said in a statement.

Executive editor of the Detroit Free Press, Robert Huschka, and his family were on the ship. He told USA Today that the experience was "truly terrifying."

He added that the announcement to stay inside the cabins came around 3:30 p.m. ET, and that the captain didn't return to make further announcements that night. 

"A very nervous cruise director kept coming on. He didn't sound very reassuring. He said, 'We are OK,'" Huschka told USA Today.

Fixtures and tables were tossed around the ship. 

Some planter pots and chairs were knocked over or smashed.

Inside their cabins, passengers found it impossible to keep their belongings in place.

The storm continued into the following morning, with the Royal Caribbean reporting that there had been four minor injuries.

By 2:30 a.m. ET Monday, the storm appeared to have passed. 

When people were allowed to return on deck, some commented that the Anthem of the Seas was definitely worse for wear.

The Royal Caribbean said on its blog that it will be heading back to Cape Liberty to avoid the possibility of more bad weather. Passengers will receive a full refund and a voucher covering 50 per cent of the cost of a future cruise. 

"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," the company wrote.

Skies cleared the following morning. 

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