Shaken Cruise Passengers Return to Land After Ship Was Battered By Storm: 'It Was Hell!'
Passengers whose Royal Caribbean cruise ship turned around after being battered by a storm have finally made it back to dry land.
The 168,666-ton Anthem of the Seas finally docked in Bayonne, New Jersey on Wednesday night after it was hit by high-speed winds on its way to the Bahamas.
Relieved passengers streamed out from the ship, carrying their belongings.
"It was hell!" one passenger told INSIDE EDITION. "Seventeen hours, nothing tied down, 45-degree angle..."
Another passenger added: "It was scary, man. We didn't think we were going to make it. They really should have never set sail."
The cruise line continues to come under attack for his failure to steer clear of the storm. One weather service warned four days before the ship set sail that "storm force winds possible."
Today show weather anchor Al Roker said the cruise line should have known the weather was going to be bad. “They had plenty of warning,” he said.
One passenger shared an on-board weather map online showing winds of 66 knots, or about 76 miles an hour. "This is horrendous," she wrote.
"They are taking no responsibility," another passenger, Lisa Huscher, told IE. "They knew the storm was coming."
Mike Waterson, who was on board with his wife and two small children, slammed the captain, saying: "He put all of our lives at risk."
More than 6,000 people were on board the ship. The cruise line said passengers will be refunded the total cost of the trip and will also receive 50 percent off a future cruise with the company.
Some of the passengers compared the ordeal to being inside a washing machine.
One passenger suffered a black eye, while another was so fearful that he recorded a farewell message to his family in case he didn't make it.
Passengers took to social media to show the devastation inside the ship.
But while many are relieved to be home, some passengers actually defended Royal Caribbean and the captain.
One passenger, George, who travelled with his nine-year-old daughter Gina, decribed it as "an awesome experience." He said: "We had a scary night. That is what you get when you cruise."
He said the captain was "very informative." He's already booked his next cruise, he said.
Another passenger, Mary-Kate Sherwood, added: "The captain had it under control. Everytime he talked to us over the intercom he was calm."
Royal Caribbean says in a statement posted online: “We apologize for exposing our guests and crew to the weather they faced, and for what they went through.
“Despite that fact, the event, exceptional as it was, identified gaps in our planning system that we are addressing. Though that system has performed well through many instances of severe weather around the world, what happened this week showed that we need to do better.”