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Wednesday, February 10, 2016

The Anthem of the Seas Storm: An Interview

As you may have heard, Royal Caribbean’s Anthem of the Seas decided to leave port late last week, despite the fact that 30ft seas and gale force winds were predicted.  The results have been all over the news.

Now what you might not know – My in-laws were on that ship.  It was their wedding anniversary.  To put it mildly, they will not forget this anniversary.

Below are some of their comments.  They sent us updates via Google Hangouts, since RC gave everyone free wifi during their torturous journey.

 

CMDTA - When did you first realize something was wrong?

The seas were rough, but we didn’t think much of it.  Then on Sunday afternoon we were told to go to our staterooms and not leave until we were told otherwise.  That was around 4pm.  Another announcement came to let us know that we could eat and drink anything in our mini-fridges at no cost.  Things escalated quickly.  The seas went from bad to awful.

CMDTA – One of you was in the Navy.   Did this compare to anything experienced there?

It’s hard to compare.  This was possibly the worst storm I’ve ever been through, but the ship was a lot larger.   It doesn’t matter if this storm didn’t have a name.  It packed winds of 120 miles an hour and the seas were crashing almost halfway up the ship.   This was a hurricane.   It was so bad, we were afraid that the furniture on our balcony was going to shatter the glass from getting tossed around so much.  We were too afraid to open the door to bring it inside.  It was that bad outside.

CMDTA – How long were you stuck in your stateroom?

From about 4pm Sunday evening to nearly Noon the next day.   All we had for food and drink was what you could find in the mini-fridge.  That amounted to a lot of sugar, junk food, alcohol, and a small amount of water.  At least we didn’t want to eat or drink much.  If you did open a drink, you could not put it down.  The ship was pitching so bad it would have tipped right over.

CMDTA – What happened after the storm?

They finally let us out of our staterooms, but only one dining room was open.  The ship was a total mess.  The ceiling was collapse in some place, there was broken glass everywhere, and furniture was scattered everywhere.  It looked like a warzone.   To try and appease everyone, they opened on bar for one hour and gave free drinks.

CMDTA – There were over 4,000 guests on board.  They opened ONE bar for ONE hour?

Yes.  That was it.  Most people were too sick and tired from not sleeping to even think about leaving their staterooms.

CMDTA – When did they tell you that your cruise was canceled?

You found out hours and hours before we did.   They told us nothing.  We noticed that the sun was setting on the wrong side of the ship.  That scared us a little.  We thought something was wrong with the ship.  Finally, hours later they told us that they were heading back because of the forecast.  We had a good laugh over that.

CMDTA – So you went back and got off right away?

No.  We sat out at sea off the coast of Rhode Island.  They couldn’t get permission to dock right away.  It took them a while to get it ironed out.

CMDTA – When did you hear about compensation?

When you told us.  They said NOTHING.  You found out long before we did.  That was the theme.  They never told us anything.  We were kept in the dark most of the time. 

There you have it.  A firsthand account of what it was like to be stuck on the Anthem in a hurricane.  There is one thing I’d like to point out.  I want to drag RC on the carpet for their “returning due to the forecast” claim. 

I DECLARE SHENANIGANS!

That is a bold faced LIE.  The FORECAST didn’t stop you from sailing directly into a hurricane.  Anyone who steps back and looks at things realizes why you headed back early.  You had a ship full of people you had to refund.  On top of that, you offered them a 50% credit on a future cruise.  You had to find a way to cut your losses.  Your brand new ship was so banged up, you could not sail again it its current state.  By your own admission, it sustained cosmetic damage.  From the photos coming off that ship, it was some severe cosmetic damage.  You wanted to get back to port and fix it up before you had to cancel ANOTHER cruise.  Limping back to port and kicking all the people you tortured  off, gave you a shot to be ready for the following week.

Stepping back – you screwed up bad, but I can’t help but think that Carnival or NCL wouldn’t have offered as much in compensation.   It still doesn’t make it right.  Next time bite the bullet and make the right call up front.