The ship was sailing off the U.S. Atlantic coast early Saturday morning when it was struck. The immediate damage was the shattering of balcony doors in two cabins located forward; the onrushing water then spread to 60 other staterooms. Norwegian Dawn diverted to Charleston for repairs to the windows. Four passengers were injured with what the cruise line described as cuts and bruises.
Upon arriving in Charleston, NCL flew home the folks residing in the damaged cabins. Another 200 decided to abandon ship and return home on their own.
Norwegian Dawn will complete its turn-around today as was announced this weekend. Since the ship actually arrived in New York earlier than anticipated, NCL spokeswoman Susan Robison says that "embarkation will begin earlier as Norwegian Dawn made really good speed last night."
Robison reports that passengers who had booked the 62 damaged cabins for this week's cruise have been informed that their voyage has been cancelled. These folks were provided with a full refund along with 50 percent off on a future cruise credit certificate.
Those passengers sailing on this week's now-abbreviated six-night cruise will, "in accordance with Norwegian Dawn's 'Winter Weather Guarantee,' receive a $100 per person ($200 maximum per stateroom) onboard credit. Additionally, the cruise fare will be prorated by one day, which will be refunded to the passenger's onboard account along with the onboard credit."
As we noted in Freak Wave Bashes Norwegian Dawn; Delays Return, our report this past weekend, by no means was Saturday's incident the first rogue wave ever to hit a cruise ship -- not by a long shot. In fact, rogue waves, defined as unpredictable waves that occur at random, have already sidelined two ships this year alone. The University of Pittsburgh's Semester at Sea, which has chartered the M/V Explorer (formerly known as Royal Olympic's Olympia Explorer), was battered by one in the Pacific and Iberojet's Voyager (formerly known as Royal Olympic's Olympia Voyager) was slammed off the coast of Spain.
In both cases, the ships reported far more damage than seems to have been experienced on Norwegian Dawn -- they were forced to offload passengers at the nearest port and cancel voyages in order for repairs to be made.
Actually, the most dramatic of all rogue waves -- at least in cruising's recent era -- occurred to Cunard's Queen Elizabeth 2, which was slammed with a 90-ft. wave while crossing the Atlantic Ocean. The captain had, according to a source who was onboard at the time, spotted it on the radar at virtually the last minute and "it was like a wall ... but he faced the ship right into the wave" (which is generally considered the appropriate reaction). There was some structural damage but the incident did not compromise the integrity of the ship.
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