SCRANTON, Pa. – What was supposed to be a relaxing New Year’s cruise to the sunny Bahamas still haunts some passengers who say they feared for their lives after winding up in the middle of a powerful nor’easter.
A group of Pennsylvania residents who booked the cruise from New York to the Bahamas through Norwegian Cruise Line told WNEP they’re still recovering from what turned out to be three days of terror.
“Sincerely, it sounded as if the boat was just going to break in two,” said Brenda Walsh-Matias.
On their way back to New York at the end of last week, passengers aboard the Breakaway ship sailed through the massive storm system known as the bomb cyclone.
“It was the scariest thing I’ve ever experienced,” Walsh-Matias said. “The waves were over 40 feet and it was continuous — children crying, people seasick, vomiting all over the boat.”
The Coast Guard says that waves on the Atlantic were up to 40 feet. With winds howling and the cruise ship rocking, passengers feared for their lives.
“The main night that the storm happened, I woke up and things were falling out of the closet and onto me and I literally started saying prayers because I was so scared,” Julia Weidow recalled.
Weidow was also on the cruise with her 3-year-old son. She says the conditions on the cruise were extremely dangerous.
“Generally, 3-year-olds run around and they bounce around and in that kind of condition, you couldn’t have him running around. He’d end up falling into something, getting more hurt.”
In a statement, Norwegian Cruise Line said, “We sincerely apologize to our guests for these stronger than expected weather conditions and any resulting discomfort they may have experienced.”
For Walsh-Matias and other passengers, the response from Norwegian Cruise Line was far from adequate.
“I felt that it was extremely irresponsible to bring 4,000 people, including children, through that storm. It was so ferocious. I can’t even explain it.”
That nor’easter and the so-called “bomb cyclone” was in the forecast for days last week.
Walsh-Matias requested a refund from Norwegian but only received an offer for a $500 credit toward a future cruise. Weidow has filed multiple complaints.