ORLANDO, Fla. – A Norwegian Cruise Line ship that calls Port Canaveral home reportedly got stuck while leaving the Dominican Republic Monday. The company is now helping passengers make arrangements to fly back.
The Norwegian Escape was leaving Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic when the cruise line says the ship “made contact with the channel bed.” Norwegian says there was minor damage to the ship’s hull, and repairs will need to be made.
“The current cruise will be shortened, and the cruise scheduled to embark on March 19 will be canceled so that the necessary repairs can be made,” said a statement from a Norwegian Cruise Line spokesperson. “All guests currently onboard will disembark in Puerto Plata. We are communicating with all impacted guests directly and arranging their return flights”
Viewers tell News 6 that the ship had been stuck for hours, waiting for high tide. A passenger told News 6 the ship was freed around 12:40 a.m. Tuesday and it was docked back at the pier in the Dominican Republic. The passenger said they were told they can go back ashore until 3:30 p.m. but the status of the cruise or itinerary was not discussed.
Jason Van Dyke, who is from Michigan and celebrating his 10-year anniversary with his wife, said when the boat got stuck it was “shaking quite a bit.”
“There was a tone in the captain’s voice that sounded like he was a little nervous as well,” he said. “... Took a look around and you could tell that we were stuck.”
He said within 15 minutes or so, tug boats showed up to try and pull the ship loose.
“A couple decent thuds here and there. All of a sudden, we just kind of broke free and you could feel that we were floating again,” he said.
The Norwegian Escape currently sails out of Port Canaveral for part of the year.