Published on : Friday, September 8, 2017
Natasha Allen and her husband, Richard, embarked Monday on a relaxing five-day Royal Caribbean cruise to the Bahamas. They had known that Hurricane Irma was headed their way but the cruise line didn’t cancel the trip, so they thought they were in the clear.
However, the couple spent only one day in Nassau before learning Tuesday that their ship would be returning to Miami.
They arrived at 2:30 p.m. Thursday to a scene of unfolding chaos.
The couple is among some of the luckier cruise ship passengers. Their travel agent was able to get them a flight out of Miami back to West Virginia on Friday, and they found a hotel room for $89 near the airport where they plan to spend Thursday night.
Still, they worry about what they will do if their flight is cancelled.
With flights out of Miami difficult to find, rental cars sold out and hotel rooms scarce, thousands of cruise passengers who were forced to return to Miami are struggling to find ways out of the city as Irma approaches.
With Irma’s path difficult to predict, ships from over a dozen cruises have been cutting short and cancelling trips, and changing future itineraries, according to a website where people write reviews about cruises.
Relatives of people onboard affected cruise ships have expressed worry over social media.
Dianna Lauber said she had been trying for two days to book a flight for her daughter, Carmen, who was on a Carnival cruise in the Bahamas and arrived in Miami early Thursday.
Carmen went straight to the airport after her cruise ship docked in Miami, only to learn that her flight had been canceled, Lauber said.
Royal Caribbean did not immediate respond to phone calls or an email seeking comment.
Carnival Cruise Line spokeswoman Jennifer de la Cruz said in a statement that Carnival was “very sensitive to dropping people into a situation where they are going to have difficulty once they are on the ground.”
Apart from allowing passengers on the Carnival Victory ship to remain on board, she said that another ship was being sent to New Orleans and “a number of our other ships” would remain at sea.
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