Norwegian Breakaway Endures Winter Cyclone (Videos)

norwegian breakaway winter storm new york
Norwegian Breakaway was caught at sea as a major winter storm hit the east coast. - Photo by CNN

Cruise guests didn't get the vacation they were hoping for on a New Year's sailing aboard Norwegian Breakaway. As a huge winter 'bomb cyclone' raged off of the east coast, the 145,000-ton ship sailed right into the angry storm. 

For three days, extremely heavy winds, rain, and rolling waves caused damage and general fear among the passengers on the voyage that was on its way back to New York City from the Bahamas. Video footage shows flooding in hallways and public areas across the ship, water leaking from ceilings and the stairs in the vessel's centerpiece atrium, and things falling down as seen below. 

“I thought I’d never be in a situation where I would say that’s the scariest moment of my life. This was the worst moment of my life... When you’re on a boat in the middle of the ocean and water is pouring down the stairs, you’re thinking ‘this is not going to end well,'” passenger Karoline Ross told CBS New York

Family member Olivia Ross continued, “There were people crying, everyone was throwing up. it was a nightmare,” said Olivia Ross. “It was so tilted I was shaking.”

Another guest, Emma Franzese, told CBS "I'm completely traumatized. I'll never go on any type of boat again in my life after this."

Norwegian Cruise Line released a statement on the nightmare cruise, saying "Due to winter storm Grayson, Norwegian Breakaway will have a delayed arrival into New York today. As a result, Norwegian Breakaway’s 14 day cruise that was originally scheduled to depart on January 5, will now depart on Saturday, January 6, at 3 p.m. Due to the ship’s late arrival today, and the ongoing weather situation, embarking guests are encouraged to arrive to the pier on Saturday morning. All guests must be onboard by 1 p.m. on January 6. Guests unable to adjust their travel are welcome to board on Friday evening between 6 p.m. and 10 p.m. The ship will now sail a slightly adjusted itinerary, which will be communicated to guests onboard. All guests will receive a refund of one day of their cruise fare, in the form of an onboard credit. We sincerely thank our guests for their understanding of this unexpected change due to the weather and apologize to our guests for any disruption to their schedule.”

They did not make mention of the guests that were weathering out the storm on board until a second statement emerged: “During the early morning hours of January 4, Norwegian Breakaway encountered stronger than forecasted weather conditions due to winter storm Grayson during the trip’s return to New York from the Bahamas. All guests and crew are safe. We sincerely apologize to our guests for these stronger than expected weather conditions and any resulting discomfort they may have experienced.”

Below, winds howling outside the doors on Norwegian Breakaway.

Some reviews of this sailing have already come into Cruiseline.com. Here's what some of our members experienced on the harrowing journey back to the Big Apple. 

"The first 4 days were good. The last 3 were hell. Ship is over crowded. We were out in the wind storm which is not Norwegians fault but the lack of communication while the ship is getting tossed around was terrible. We didn’t know if we were on a cruise ship or a fishing vessel. There was water coming in through the deck doors. We were unable to go on deck for the last 3 days and that is when you realize that the ship has too many people." - ShipMate29

Cruiseline.com member boatmen71 was disappointed in how the situation was handled, but says it won't stop him from cruising again. "Found concierge David lacking during our emergency as storm destroyed Owner's suites and Penthouse balconies one of the guests had to call the hotel manager as he would not. Big disappointing experience. The Captain and/or corporate made a bad decision putting us in this storm. Not only did it put passengers in harm's way it damaged the ship costing stockholders money for repairs. We sail Breakaway a lot...Met a lot of great people had a good time in spite of this. And yes [we] will keep cruising."

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