The cruise ship rocked by hurricane-force winds earlier this month has curtailed another trip to avoid the possibility of a repeat encounter, according to the cruise line.
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Royal Caribbean International's Anthem of the Seas will be returning to its New Jersey home port two days early in an effort to avoid a major storm and is expected to dock Wednesday.
“Anthem of the Seas is heading back to Cape Liberty immediately to avoid a severe storm and provide guests with a comfortable journey back home,” the company said in a statement. “We have been closely watching a weather system gaining strength off the coast of Cape Hatteras. Based on the most recent weather forecast, if Anthem of the Seas continues on its regular scheduled itinerary, the ship would encounter the brunt of the large and powerful storm on the return to Cape Liberty.”
#AnthemoftheSeas is returning early bc of severe forecast storm. Captain followed our new storm avoidance policy and consulted with experts.— RCLcorp (@RCLcorp) February 29, 2016
#AnthemoftheSeas sail home has been smooth. Nothing is more important to us than the safety of our guests and crew.— RCLcorp (@RCLcorp) February 29, 2016
There have also been an undisclosed number of passengers who are suffering from norovirus during the Caribbean cruise, but the company said the illnesses did not affect the ship's itinerary.
Some #AnthemoftheSeas guests have experienced norovirus symptoms. About 10 per day from 6,000 total pop. Didn't affect decision to return.— RCLcorp (@RCLcorp) February 29, 2016
John Turell, an Associated Press executive who’s on board the ship, reported that the captain made announcements about the spread of the disease.
"Sanitation levels on the ship have been boosted," Turell told the AP. "[Ship] workers are scurrying around like ants, scrubbing down handrails, tables and any other surfaces that can be washed."
Turell said passengers were told Saturday night that the cruise was being cut two days short because of a storm developing off Cape Hatteras. As a result, planned stops in Barbados and St. Kitts were being skipped, he told AP.
In the statement, Royal Caribbean said it would “like to provide guests with the opportunity to sail with us again. We will be providing each guest with a future cruise certificate for 50% of the cruise fare paid.”
On a trip earlier this month, the ship ran into hurricane-force winds and waves reaching 40-feet off the coast of the Carolinas.
Passengers recalled the traumatic experience after they docked, saying how they were told to stay in their cabins for hours at a time because of the stormy weather.
There are no indications that the weather on this trip was as ominous, but Royal Caribbean officials said they have been "closely watching a large storm off the coast of Cape Hatteras" in North Carolina, tweeting on Saturday that they "want to be extra cautious when it comes to weather in the area."