It’s every passenger’s nightmare – hunkered down in your cabin, clinging to your bunk as your ship is being battered by cyclonic winds and monstrousl waves.
Earlier this week, passengers onboard Royal Caribbean’s Anthem of the Seas were confined to their cabins after the captain made the decision to sail through a hurricane.
One passenger, Maureen Peters, told CNN she thought she would never see her family again. She clung to her mattress to avoid falling off her bed as waves up to 30 feet high battered one of the world’s biggest ships like a paper boat.
Many passengers are furious about the captain’s decision to sail through the storm, despite storm warnings.
“The boat should have never gone out,” said Ms Peters.
So is she right? Should Anthem of the Seas have set sail with 1,500 crew and 6,000 passengers, four of which returned home with minor injuries?
So who is responsible?
According to the RCCL’s senior vice president of Global Marine Operations Bill Baumgartner, it’s up to the captain, and the captain only, as to whether the ship leaves port.
According to Mr Baumgartner, the captain will weigh the options of a “fleet of captains ashore” who review the situation and make recommendations on the safest route to take
What did the captain know before he sailed?
Mr Baumgartner said that all of Royal Caribbean’s captains receive and review multiple weather forecasts, some being sophisticated enough to even predict the development of storms.
But in this case, the captain who has been at Royal Caribbean for more than 15 years spotted the storm with winds forecast at 63 to 74 mph.
The National Weather Service’s ocean predicted that winds were forecast to be 46 to 57 mph and 23 to 31 foot seas on Sunday night.
No one anticipated the ferocity. “We simply didn’t anticipate that it could be 125 mile per hour winds,” said Mr Baumgartner.
For 12 hours, passengers confined to their cabins.
Do passengers stand a chance of getting their money back?
The line has issued an apology to passengers, but has not mentioned anything about financial compensation.
Maritime attorney Jim Walker told CNN that it’s highly unlike passengers will get reimbursed for their trip unless they have travel insurance.
Mr Walker said passengers have contacted him to represent them but without serious injury, they don’t have a legal claim.
A Royal Caribbean spokesperson said, “Royal Caribbean International announced right away that it will provide each guest with full refund of the fare paid for their cruise as well as providing each guest with a future cruise certificate for 50% of the cruise fare paid.”
But in Australia, remember, a number of passengers have filed a class action against Carnival Cruise Line for rerouting a trip, bound for Vanuatu, to Melbourne and Hobart while Cyclone Pam battered much of the South Pacific.
So what would you rather? A rerouted cruise or for your ship to battle Mother Nature? Speaking to an industry expert who just simply shrugged their shoulders and said, “It seems like the cruise lines will never win.”
Tell us what you think?
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