As the word spread about massive 150 mph winds that rocked the line’s Anthem of the Seas and terrified passengers on Sunday and Monday, Feb. 7 and 8, industry insiders and media wondered how could the captain and his staff not see the storm coming. According to an article today, Feb. 9, on USA Today, the 168,666-ton vessel should not have sailed southward from New York into the path of the growing weather system, which eventually packed winds of up to 100 mph and created waves higher than 20 to 30 feet, according to WeatherBell meteorologist Ryan Maue.” The risk was easily avoidable as the storm was well-forecast by private and public forecasting outfits,” Maue said.
Meteorologists had reported the possibility of a large storm in the Atlantic on Friday while the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Ocean Prediction Center issued its first alert at 1 p.m. Friday for hurricane-force winds Sunday in the Atlantic, according to NOAA spokeswoman Susan Buchanan. USA Today reported that another warning came from the Ocean Prediction Center in the offshore waters forecast at 3:34 p.m. Saturday, Buchanan said. The warning predicted hurricane-force winds increasing to 63 to 75 mph, in effect through Sunday night. Some storm watchers felt that, at the very least, Royal Caribbean is guilty of poor weather analysis.
Criticism is running rampart about the handling of the situation and according to USA Today some suggesting that the company “should invest either in an in-house meteorological staff or someone to consult with the National Weather Service for cruise-specific weather forecasts.”
Royal Caribbean spokeswoman Cynthia Martinez on Tuesday told USA TODAY the line couldn’t immediately comment on its decision to allow Anthem to sail toward the storm as it still was gathering information. But in a tweet on Monday, the line said the storm had been “unexpectedly severe,” and a Monday statement from the line said wind speeds were higher than what was forecast.
In case you missed the story the behemoth, 4,529-passenger ship was bashed and battered by giant waves and wind causing much damage on board to furnishings and scaring passengers who were confined to their cabins. A few of the thousands of passengers on board did sustain injuries. The biggest criticism of the captain is that he didn’t heed warnings ignoring several weather predictions of an impending storm. Not only were passengers deprived of a safe, smooth cruise (they are being compensated with a full refund) their safety was greatly imperiled.
Although this happened on Sunday news stories and Tweets from frightened passengers are still flowing in, many of them with a negative effect on the cruise line.