Norwegian Cruise Lines offered passengers the chance to take refuge from the storm on board their ships.
Passengers aboard the Norwegian Cruise Line ships the Escape and the Norwegian Sky were enjoying an otherwise peaceful, relaxing getaway when things took a nasty turn: Hurricane Irma decided to pass through Florida. The cruise ships were supposed to return to Miami at the end of this week, but fearing that they would be passing through the eye of the storm by that point, the ships' captains decide to return home last Thursday, cutting their passenger’s vacation short. It was quick thinking on their part, but the return to safe harbor posed a problem: Some passengers didn’t have flights or hotels booked that early, thinking, of course, that they would still be on vacation. Norwegian Cruise Lines had a convenient solution, however: Invite the stranded passengers back on board the ships, where they could return to sea, and wait out the storm in safety.
The Escape has spent the last few days out to sea—a safe distance from Irma’s path—where passengers have been enjoying unlimited free food and drink as they wait for Miami’s port to reopen. The massive cruise ship features water slides, a spa, and even a “snow room” where people can play in a fake blizzard, not to mention multiple bars and restaurants—not a bad place to take refuge as Irma makes its way toward Miami. Of course, passengers were also refunded for the leg of the trip they missed out on because of the hurricane.
“At this point, the plan is to go west," the spokesperson told USA Today. "We're making every effort to have at least one port of call. If not, it will be a cruise to nowhere and everyone will have a good time."
A spokesperson for the cruise liner expects that the passengers will be safely returned to land, where they’ll hopefully be able to book safe passage out of Florida, late tomorrow, after their unexpected adventure aboard the Escape.