MIAMI (CBSMiami/AP) — A Halloween cruise took a frightening turn as passengers were heading to Florida.
The ship hit an unknown object, officials said, forcing it back to port.
“All I know is that it just went black. The lights went completely out,” said passenger Sandra Douglas from Houston, Texas. “Then they came on for a second and then they went back out. And then the sirens started and they said this was the real thing. Then we had to go back to our floors to get the instructions and the life preservers and things like that.”
The Bahamas Celebration returned to Grand Bahama Island after the accident late Friday. The Celebration Cruise Line company said in a statement that passengers were evacuated from the ship and placed in several resorts pending their return to Florida. There were no reported injuries.
“People did panic but that’s human nature,” said Douglas. I tried to see the bright side of it and I think by trying to stay calm, because there’s nothing you can do anyway, so you might as well try to go with the flow.”
The ship was supposed to have arrived in Palm Beach, Florida, early Saturday.
Passengers on the ship arrived in Miami at PortMiami late Saturday night. They were put onto a shuttle to West Palm Beach.
“This trip has turned out to be an absolute disaster and it made us never want to go on a cruise ship again,” said passenger Joan Fischer from Boynton Beach. “We all got stuck last night at 8 o’clock, the lights blew out [while] we were all eating. It became total chaos, there was no one able to manage what was going on. But they had us waiting for four hours this afternoon before we could get on the next boat. They gave us no food, they gave us nothing. There was chaos upstairs, chaos downstairs. There was no organization, it was the worst trip I’ve ever been on and I will never cruise again.”
The cruise line released a statement that reads, in part: Passengers were evacuated from the ship and placed in several resorts pending their return to Florida. There were no reported injuries, though one passenger’s account of the events says otherwise.
“They did not have life jackets for us in the rooms,” said Fischer. “We had to go meet on certain stations. I fell three times, my girlfriend broke her toe. Then it went dark, they had no generators going. And then we had to wait almost four hours before they got a ramp to get us down. Then they took us to a hotel and we slept in a hotel. Then this morning they told us we had to be back by 11 o’clock and we got there at 11 and we had to wait until 5 o’clock until we were able to get on another ship.”
Crews were working to assess damage to the ship and the company said it would cancel at least two cruises planned for the vessel.
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