Photo: Ahead of Hurricane Irene Cruise Ships Left Passengers in San Juan, PR and NY declares state of emergency
In preparation for the incoming Hurricane Irene, cruise ships were warned to leave the ports of Puerto Rico to ensure they would not get caught in the storm. However, when the ships left, they did so without all of their passengers.
Sunday afternoon, cruise lines were informed that due to the storms approach, harbor traffic was going to be limited, and they were advised to leave before they were originally scheduled. Upon this alert, Carnival Cruise’s Victory and Royal Caribbean’s Serenade of the Seas ship left four and six hours early.
Carnival left about 300 passengers in San Juan Sunday, and Royal left 145.
Left-behind Carnival passengers were provided hotel rooms by the cruise line, which also offered to fly them to the next scheduled port on Wednesday, Barbados. However, since the cruise was within a U.S. territory, only about half were able to take the flight to Barbados as they had not brought their passports. And while cruises urge passengers to bring passports, it is not required since they were leaving from a U.S. territory.
Unfortunately, Royal Caribbean cruisers were not given the same accommodations and were told that only the 15 people that purchased their tickets directly from the cruise line would be given hotel rooms. The remaining 130 were left to find their own hotels or accommodations. And those that wished to meet up with the ship at the next port, Aruba, had to pay for their own plane tickets.
In the end, Hurricane Irene hit the island nation Sunday and left more than 800,000 without power.
As Irene continues on, as many as 200,000 people have evacuated North Carolina, many from outlying islands like Ocracoke Island.
And in New York, Governor Andrew Cuomo has just declared a state of emergency, in preparation for Hurricane Irene.