The Royal Caribbean Anthem of the Seas was attacked by merciless forces of nature again, having some wondering whether the luxury cruise ship is cursed. Just a few weeks ago, a hurricane-like storm battered the cruise ship with 30-foot waves severely injuring several of the passengers. On Saturday, Royal Caribbean announced on Twitter that the ship had to end its cruise prematurely again.
Saturday’s announcement of the premature end to the Anthem of the Seas’ journey occurred not just because of another fierce storm — but also because of a norovirus outbreak on the ship, reports CBS News on February 28. “The Royal Caribbean cruise ship battered by a major Atlantic storm earlier this month was headed back to its home port in Bayonne, New Jersey on Sunday as another squall and a norovirus outbreak threatened its current voyage.”
While many passengers on the luxury cruise ship are disappointed that the cruise is being cut short two days because of a storm developing off Cape Hatteras and that they will be missing the planned stops in Barbados and St. Kitts, others are happy to be returning back to Bayonne by Wednesday.
According to the captain of the Anthem of the Seas, the cruise ship is not going to tempt the forces of nature again, and in regard to the norovirus, crew members “are scurrying around like ants, scrubbing down handrails, tables and any other surfaces that can be washed.”
“Over the past eight days we have averaged fewer than 10 cases per day from a population of 6,000 people. Those guests have responded very well to over-the-counter medication. These cases did not affect our decision to return,” the ship’s statement said.
In contrast to the official statement by the Anthem of the Seas, at least some are asking whether the ship is cursed: “Something about this ship just has bad Carma,” wrote boatmen on the Anthem of the Seas Twitter page.
Just earlier this month, the luxury cruise ship was battered in a major storm with more than 30-foot waves and winds over 75 mph. The vessel was damaged in the storm and its thousands of passengers on board experienced “sheer terror” according to a class-action lawsuit against Royal Caribbean:
“This Class Action lawsuit deals with Defendant RCCL’s knowing and intentional decision to sail the Anthem of the Seas, carrying more than 4,000 paying passengers, directly into the path of a Hurricane. More than 4,000 passengers were subjected to hours of sheer terror as the gigantic cruise ship was battered by hurricane force winds and more than 30 foot waves. This terror was amplified by the recent El Faro tragedy, wherein a cargo ship knowingly sailed into a hurricane and 33 crewmembers all perished. Just months after one of the worst maritime tragedies in recent history, Defendant RCCL’s knowing, intentional and reckless conduct subjects RCCL to the imposition of punitive damages.”
According to the lawsuit, NOAA had issued a hurricane-like storm warning for Sunday, February 7, but despite the warning, the luxury cruise shift left the Cape Liberty Port in Bayonne, New Jersey, around 4 p.m. on February 6 with 4,000 passengers on board. Instead of heading the warning, Captain Claus Andersen told the passengers that he intended to head to the Bahamas anyway and that he intended to outrun the growing storm.
The lawsuit describes in detail what happened to the Anthem of the Seas in the storm:
“As predicted, by 3:40 p.m. on Sunday, February 7, 2016, the hurricane-force winds and rough seas were battering the vessel so severely that Captain ordered all passengers to be confined in their staterooms until further notice. While confined to their staterooms for approximately twelve hours, passengers were holding onto their beds and/or whatever they could find in order to keep from falling due to the severe crashing of waves and listing of the vessel. Furniture was overturned and tossed throughout the vessel; broken glass littered all levels of the vessel; a portion of the ceiling collapsed; elevators became inoperable; waves crashed through open and/or shattered balcony doors; and water rushed in through numerous other areas of the vessel. Waves were crashing over the top of the lifeboats tethered along the side of the Anthem of the Seas as the ship listed heavily to either side. At times the vessel listed (tilted) as far as 45 degrees and the passengers were violently thrown across their cabins. Passengers scrambled to search for life jackets or floatation devices but were unable to do so. There were numerous families with small children aboard the vessel and parents did their best to protect themselves and their young children who were crying uncontrollably and screaming in sheer terror.”
Quite understandably, the class-action lawsuit against Royal Caribbean includes physical and emotional damages that passengers of the luxury cruise ship endured: “All of the conditions previously alleged and endured by the Plaintiff caused severe suffering and emotional distress as these conditions not only led to immediate risk of physical harm but also caused severe discomfort, anxiety, feelings of helplessness/hopelessness as the Anthem of the Seas battled the violent storm.”