From The Sun:
The passengers – including Brits -have been told not to worry by the vessel’s captain as he says it can outrun the storm
A CRUISE ship which had to flee Miami as Hurricane Irma closed in is now stranded at sea with 4,000 passengers stuck on board with “unlimited” booze.
The aptly named Norwegian Escape set sail late Thursday from Miami with thousands of displaced passengers who had earlier left other voyages cut short by the mega-storm.
The passengers – including Brits – had arrived in Miami on Thursday aboard Escape and another ship the Norwegian Sky.
When they first boarded the Escape a week ago, passengers knew exactly where they were going.
Now they have no idea.
The ship departed from Miami last Saturday and was scheduled to return today, after making stops in Honduras, Belize and Mexico.
The boat made it as far as the Honduran island of Roatan on Monday and Belize the following day.
But on Tuesday, passengers were told that their ports of call at Mexico’s Cozumel island and the Costa Maya had been cancelled.
Irma was headed straight for Florida, home to a fair number of passengers on the ship.
Many of those passengers were eager to get home to secure their belongings and ensure the safety of their pets.
Michael Davis, 42, who lives near the water in St. Augustine, Florida, was one of them.
“Once they said, ‘We’re heading back,’ then the mood shifted from vacation time to, ‘Alright, let’s get home and get it taken care of,'” he said.
But there was only a short window of time to drop them off before it would be too dangerous to dock in Miami.
So the ship arrived in port Thursday afternoon, two days early, allowing those who wanted to head home to do so.
The Escape then headed back out to sea with no idea where it was headed or when it will return.
A lot of it, passengers were told, would be up to Irma: which path she decides to take and how long she lingers.
“We said to guests that we cannot confirm when or where you’ll be coming back, but obviously we’ll make every effort to return the ship to port as soon as it’s safe to do so,” said Norwegian Cruise Line spokeswoman Vanessa Picariello.
Picariello said the ship “is heading west,” but she did not have a more precise route.
She said the ship will try to make a port of call if it’s safe to do so “but if not, guests will enjoy a cruise to nowhere and be able to be safe and out of the storm.”
Picariello added that the ship plans to return to Miami, but that cruise officials will look into alternate ports if the one in Miami is damaged.
Margaret Cunningham, 65, of Washington, said she decided to stay on board after the captain assured them the ship could outrun the hurricane.
“They’ve been very clear that they’re not going to run out of food. They’re not going to run out of water,” she said.
“They’re not going to run out of booze – very important – and so we’re just going to stay on and enjoy the ride.”