U.S. senator calls for probe of storm damage to Anthem of the Seas

MIAMI (AP) — Federal transportation officials might soon be looking into a Royal Caribbean cruise ship that ran into high winds and rough seas in the Atlantic Ocean over the weekend.

Sen. Bill Nelson has called for the National Transportation Safety Board to investigate the voyage that forced frightened passengers into their cabins overnight Sunday as their belongings flew about, waves rose as high as 30 feet, and winds howled outside.

“The thing about this storm was that it was forecast for days. So why in the world would a cruise ship with thousands of passengers go sailing right into it?” Nelson said Monday on the Senate floor, according to a news release from his office.

The National Weather Service’s Ocean Prediction Center had issued an alert for a strong storm four days in advance, Susan Buchanan with the weather service said. The first warning was issued Saturday for possible hurricane-force winds in the area the ship was scheduled to sail through.

Royal Caribbean announced Monday that the ship was turning around and sailing back to its home port in New Jersey. No injuries were reported, and the ship suffered only minor damage.

“I was shaking all over,” passenger Shara Strand of New York City wrote to The Associated Press via Facebook on Monday. “Panic attack, things like that. … I’ve been on over 20 cruises, I’ve been through a hurricane, it was never like this. Never.”

Sixteen-year-old Gabriella Lairson says she and her father, Sam, could feel the ship, Anthem of the Seas, begin to sway by 2:30 p.m. Sunday. The captain directed passengers to their cabins. There, the Lairsons heard glasses shatter in the bathroom, and they put their belongings in drawers and closets to prevent them from flying across the room. They ventured to the balcony, where Sam Lairson shot video of wave after wave rising below.

“The winds were so strong that I thought the phone would blow from my hands,” Sam Lairson, of Ocean City, New Jersey, said in an email. “After that we had to keep the doors to the balconies sealed.”

The ship — with more than 4,500 guests and 1,600 crew members — sailed Saturday from Cape Liberty, New Jersey. It was scheduled to arrive for a stop at Port Canaveral, Florida, at noon Monday, then move on to other stops in the Caribbean. But Royal Caribbean said on its corporate Twitter account that the ship would turn around and sail back to Cape Liberty.

“This decision was made for guests’ comfort due to weather forecasts” that would continue to affect the ship’s itinerary,” Royal Caribbean tweeted.

Guests will get a full refund and a certificate toward a future cruise. Passengers onboard buzzed happily about that news, Strand said.

Gabriella Lairson said that by early Monday morning, people were out and about on the ship, checking out the minor damage in some public areas.

Lairson praised the crew and captain. “They did everything they could to make us feel comfortable,” she wrote to the AP on Facebook. She said she and her father were a little disappointed the ship was turning around, but she called it “the best thing for the safety of everyone.”

Fellow passenger Jacob Ibrag agreed. “I can’t wait to get home and kiss the ground,” said Ibrag, who saw water flowing down stairs and helped some people who were stuck in an elevator Sunday as he made his way to his cabin per the captain’s orders. The 25-year-old from Queens, New York, then stayed in his cabin until noon Monday, at one point filling his backpack with essentials in case of an evacuation.

Robert Huschka, the executive editor of the Detroit Free Press, was onboard and started tweeting when the inclement weather hit. He told USA Today that the ordeal was “truly terrifying.” He described the cruise director nervously giving updates, and he later posted photos of shattered glass panels on a pool deck.

But Huschka was among passengers who found a silver lining in the storm. On Monday, he posted: “The good news? They never lost the Super Bowl signal. Perfect TV picture throughout storm!”

Royal Caribbean gave guests free Internet access and a complimentary cocktail hour, spokeswoman Cynthia Martinez said in an email. “Feeling better after the happy hour they just put on for the guests,” Sam Lairson joked.

And despite her own worries, Strand said her daughter, 8-month-old Alexa, slept through the entire episode.

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Explorer of the Seas damage does not affect safety

Explorer of the Seas damage does not affect safety

The Explorer of the Seas has sustained a bit of damage during a storm, although the Royal Caribbean has said it does not affect the safety of the cruise ship. A large wave smashed into Explorer of the Seas and hit its lifeboats, where one sustained some damage, but seeing as though new cruise ships have more than enough lifeboats, there is still enough for all passengers and crew.

According to Royal Caribbean Blog a huge wave that measured around 40 feet hit the lifeboats on deck four, which you can see an image of above. We would imagine that these passengers were scared when sailing through those rough waters, although it is to be expected at this time of year in certain regions.

We do love a good cruise, but there are areas where we tend to stay away from, choosing to go places where the waters are calmer.

Doors are closed so that water cannot enter the ship during bad weather, but some water managed to get through a sliding door on deck four, which in turn flooded the aft of the deck. Water then came into the Aquarium bar, dining room lobby and flooding down the stairs

There are no reports of injuries and the ship has continued on its normal course.

Crew Member Sacked For Posting Photos of Costa Fascinosa Damage

Crew Member Sacked For 

Posting Photos of 

Costa Fascinosa Damage

Crew MemberOver two weeks ago the Costa Fascinosa had a lot of onboard damage from bad weather that hit the ship. Many cruise sites reported on it and most got photos and a video from a crew members Facebook page who was working on the cruise ship at the time.

The ship heavily listed on one side and according to reports the captain announced for passengers to put on life jackets as he lost control of the ship. 90 mph winds were hitting the ship while it was sailing towards the Greek islands from Venice, Italy.

Well now according to the popular Cruise Law News site that is operated by maritime lawyer Jim Walker that crew member has now been sacked from Costa Cruises. Not just that but all the photos and the video he posted on his Facebook timeline have now been removed. The footage and photos showed smashed plates and spilled food all over the ships galley. The crew also seemed shocked at all the damage.

Costa Fascinosa

The crew member in question is Jimmy Hernandez and he was a pastry chef onboard the 114,500 ton Costa Fascinosa. It does now seem from his Facebook page that he is now home in the Philippines with his family and looking for new employment.

Below is the video footage that was posted to Facebook by Jimmy Hernandez, it has now been re-posted to YouTube by another crew member:

Video below of the damage caused.

 Video: Damage to Costa Fascinosa

Video: Damage to Costa Fascinosa

There is now also more video footage from YouTube that seems to have been filmed by another crew member working in the ships dining room. It shows dining room staff cleaning up all the smashed plates and glasses after the ship got hit by strong winds. One crew member even says in the video “We Survived”:

 Video: move coverage of the damage

Video: move coverage of the damage

The big question is, should the crew member have been sacked from posting on his Facebook timeline for the entire world and cruise sites like this to report it. Well as I’m the editor of Cruise Hive and did in fact work onboard Carnival ships for over 8 years it is surprising that Costa took this action. This is what happens in China when the government doesn’t want its citizens posting photos, videos and content that makes them look bad in any way.

Usually when a crew member is sacked they given an early morning wake up call by the ships security staff who then give the crew member around 30 mins to collect all belongings and pack. Security then escort them off the ship and to the airport. All fellow crew members will see whats happening and gossip about it throughout the voyage. Does this crew member in question really deserve this?