Royal Caribbean’s Anthem of the Seas cruise ship made its way safely back to its New Jersey port Wednesday after the ship was caught in hurricane-force wind and waves Sunday.
According to CNN.com, the Anthem of the Seas made its way back to Bayonne, New Jersey, where the 6,000 people onboard were finally permitted to leave the vessel. During Sunday’s storm, passengers were confined to their cabin for around 12 hours while the captain fought 125-mile-per-hour winds and waves reaching 40 feet high off the coast of Cape Hatteras, North Carolina.
There were four minor injuries reported during the storm.
Royal Caribbean released an apology to its customers on the company’sofficial website:
“We apologize for exposing our guests and crew to the weather they faced, and for what they went through.
Our ship and our crew performed very well to keep everyone safe during severe weather. Of more than 6000 people on board, only four minor injuries were reported.
Despite that fact, the event, exceptional as it was, identified gaps in our planning system that we are addressing. Though that system has performed well through many instances of severe weather around the world, what happened this week showed that we need to do better.
The severity of Sunday’s storm, with its 120-mph winds, far exceeded forecasts. Even so, it is our responsibility to eliminate every surprise we possibly can.
As of today, we are strengthening our storm avoidance policy, and have added resources at our Miami headquarters to provide additional guidance to our ships’ captains.
As for Anthem of the Seas, much of the superficial damage caused by the storm has been repaired. We expect to resume her planned itinerary for next week’s cruise.
Again, we offer our apologies to our guests and crew.”
While the apology is a good start for the passengers who dealt with hours of rough seas that pitched the vessel at 45 degrees, the cruise company will now be forced to answer questions about why it made the journey in the first place if a storm of this size was on the radar.
ABC News is reporting that the United States National Transportation Safety Board is now considering a formal investigation into why the Anthem of the Seas made its scheduled voyage despite the approaching storm.
Royal Caribbean senior vice president of global marine operations Bill Baumgartner told CNN.com that the Anthem of the Seas suffered superficial damage in the storm. He also went on to say, “If we knew that we were going to have those kinds of winds, the winds that we actually experienced with the ship, we would not have sailed into that. No. Absolutely we wouldn’t have (left port).”