The Norwegian Escape ran aground in the Caribbean on Monday March 14 after departing Puerto Plata in the Dominican Republic. The 164,000 ton vessel struck the channel bed causing damage to the hull. The Escape departed Orlando on March 12 for a seven-day voyage to several Caribbean islands.
There were no reports of injuries to passengers or crew.
Crews managed to refloat the massive ship, which can hold up to 4,000 passengers, and brought it back to dock. Passengers were able to stay on the ship during the ordeal and are making the best of the situation.
Several passengers spoke with WKMG and said people were in high spirits despite the abrupt end to their trip.
“Other than us being moored, you wouldn’t know there was a problem,” Jason Van Dyke noted.
“Hanging out, having fun,” said Kevin Hipes. “I wish we went to the other islands, but you know we’re on a boat with nothing but fun people and lots of restaurants.”
The cruise line is working with officials in the Dominican Republic to help get all passengers home on charter flights. There were a few hiccups because the Dominican Republic won’t let people get off the ship without a passport. Because passengers were only required to show their driver’s license to board the cruise liner, not everyone brought their passport with them.
“We learned about an hour ago that the government of the Dominican Republic does not allow passengers traveling without passports to disembark at this time,” he added. Ben Will said the news station.
Despite the problems, Norwegian said it expects everyone to be able to return home in the coming days.
Norwegian canceled the remainder of the cruise and also canceled the next scheduled voyage, which was scheduled to depart on March 19. Passengers received a full refund and credit for another cruise in the future.