FT. LAUDERDALE (CBS4) – The crew of Royal Caribbean’s Allure of the Seas picked up some unexpected passengers on Saturday as it made its way back to home port.
Royal Caribbean spokeswoman Cynthia Martinez said as the ship was sailing back to Ft. Lauderdale, around 2 p.m. the crew spotted a makeshift boat with a yellow tarp; onboard were nine Cubans’ – eight men and one woman.
The Hinch family said they were hoping to see the sights when they booked the seven night cruise but they hadn’t expected that the rescue of Cuban migrants from the middle of the ocean would be part of the itinerary.
“I was actually really exciting while it was all happening,” said Colleen Hinch. “The captain made an announcement so everyone went over to the side to see what was happening. We turned around and there was a little tiny boat that didn’t look very sea-worthy.”
Hinch said she thinks the ship’s crew got to the just in time.
“They had like broomsticks for paddles is what it looked like,” said Hinch. “So really rickety and not very safe looking; very, very small.”
“I think it would be very scary to be on that boat cause its very small,” said Hinch’s daughter Savannah.
Cruise ship crew members in a launch rescued the migrants and brought them back to the ship where they were given food, water and medical attention.
Hinch said the passengers were told the migrants have been at sea for eight days and were anxious for food and water.
“It was great that they were rescued and everyone cheered when they were rescued and they were waving at us,” said Hinch. “You know it was really good.”
The Coast Guard was notified and the migrants were turned over to them around 4 p.m.
Sunday morning the Allure of the Seas arrived back in Port Everglades.
The Coast Guard did not say where the migrants were on Sunday, but odds are they would be repatriated after being interviewed.