News that Royal Caribbean’s cruise ship Anthem of the Seas was hit by a bad storm with hurricane force winds and huge waves on its current trip took me back to Lisa’s and my time aboard that very ship last year.
We sailed from Southampton in late October and docked in Bayonne in early November, having just enjoyed a nine-day crossing of the Atlantic Ocean.
It was the latest in a series of voyages that we have taken since the UK Multiple Sclerosis Society gave us a grant of £1200 to go on a two-week cruise in 2013.
Last year’s trip was the ship’s major relocation journey to its new home port in New Jersey.
That cruise experienced bad weather too. We went through two storms separated by some 100mph winds. There were huge waves too. At one point, while enjoying a meal in one of the ship’s many restaurants, we could see waves reaching the top of the windows.
Distances are so far on board a ship that they are well beyond my walking ability, so I have to rely on my wheelchair but, having a left-side weakness because of my MS, Lisa has to push me. Not that she minds, joking that she enjoys ‘pushing me about’.
Yes, it was a bit rocky for a couple or three days but nothing that the ship or its crew could not handle. However, for Lisa it was more difficult as normally level floorways could suddenly become uphill, downhill or even have a sideways slant. Still, we managed it without incident.
Throughout the rough seas, the calmness of all on board was personified by the ship’s master, Captain Claus Andersen, who exuded confidence and control.
At one point before encountering the first storm, he was addressing passengers assembled on the Esplanade. He asked if they thought the trip so far had been calm or rough. Having got a chorus of replies of ‘calm’, he said with a smile that, in that case, we could look forward to some variations of calm in the next few days.
Every day, Captain Claus (which he pronounces ‘Close’) went on the ship’s TV channel with the cruise director to look at the weather ahead. It was all explained easily and very clearly.
I had an opportunity to speak with the captain and asked him how much time he actually spent on the bridge, bearing in mind he has a team of experienced officers there. He explained that the job of captain was so demanding that, in fact, very little of his time was actually spent there. However, he agreed that during stormy weather, that was exactly where he was. That was where he needed to be, he explained.
During the storm that hit the ship this time, I am sure that Captain Claus remained as calm and in control as he was when crossing the Atlantic last year. He is a credit to not only himself but to Royal Caribbean too.
Also, in response to the captain’s decision to curtail the cruise and return to port, I have to commend the cruise line’s very speedy decision to refund all passengers 100% of the cruise ticket price plus give them 50% off the cost of their next cruise.
Well done, Royal Caribbean.