Royal Caribbean cruise ship heads home after storm wreaks havoc

4 passengers injured aboard Anthem of the Seas

PORT CANAVERAL, Fla. – A Royal Caribbean cruise ship that suffered damage as it sailed through a storm, sending passengers to their cabins overnight, has turned around to head back to to its home port of Cape Liberty, New Jersey, instead of continuing on its way to Port Canaveral.

Royal Caribbean announced the news Monday on its corporate Twitter account.

Passengers said the storm started midafternoon Sunday, and the captain of the ship Anthem of the Seas ordered them to their staterooms for their safety.

The ship was sailing down the U.S. East Coast when it encountered the storm. Winds gusted over 100 mph at the height of the bad weather. 

Four passengers suffered minor injuries, officials said.

The cruise line said in its tweets that the decision to turn back was made for guests' comfort because of weather forecasts that would have affected the ship's itinerary.

The tweets said guests will receive full refunds and certificates toward a future cruise.

"We appreciate our guests' patience and cooperation. We know it was tough day on Sunday," the cruise line also tweeted.

Passengers posted pictures on social media of tossed furniture and broken vases. 

Royal Caribbean released a statement Monday morning about the incident.

"On Sunday, February 7, while sailing to Port Canaveral, Florida, Anthem of the Seas experienced extreme wind and sea conditions, with wind speeds higher than what was forecasted. In an abundance of caution, the captain asked all guests to stay in their stateroom until the weather improved. At this time, there have not been any serious injuries reported. The ship has sustained some damage to the public areas and guest staterooms, which in no way affect the sea-worthiness of the ship," the statement said.

Anthem of the Seas is one of Royal Caribbean's newest ships, and it's among the largest cruise ships in the world. The vessel can hold nearly 5,000 passengers.

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Stay with News 6 and for updates on this developing story. 


About the Authors:

John Ambrogne is an executive producer for News 6 and has been with WKMG-TV since 2012. John graduated with a degree in broadcast journalism from Syracuse University and has covered breaking news and major events in Central Florida since 2002.