A Central Florida travel agent is concerned with how Royal Caribbean handled a severe storm, saying it could turn passengers away from future trips.
FOX 35 was sent a video from aboard the Independence of the Seas cruise ship last Friday. Passengers on board were caught in a severe thunderstorm, causing damage and forcing people to scramble looking for safety.
Travel experts say passengers put a lot of trust in cruises when booking vacations, and this isn’t how you maintain that trust. In several videos, you can hear everyone screaming and see dozens running trying to find shelter.
It was a chaotic scene, and Kyleigh Cole was shocked that it even happened in the first place.
“There’s always something you can do, other than just letting the guests and the travelers get poured on, rained down on and being in the middle of a storm,” said Cole, who’s a licensed travel agent with Boardwalk Travel Agency.
She cruises herself and knows how important safety is before, during and after the ship docks.
“This could have ruined somebody’s cruise experience where they’ll never take another cruise again,” Cole added.
At least one person was caught on video getting hit by a flying beach chair. Fox 35 meteorologist, Brooks Garner, says there were severe weather warnings in the area at the time of the storm.”
On Friday, June 16, between 3:45 and 4:15 pm – there was a severe thunderstorm warning for coastal Brevard County for a storm producing wind gusts over 60 miles per hour, in fact the port recorded winds gusting over 55 miles per hour , so there was a lot of wind confirmed with this storm,” Garner said.
Passengers on board said they had no warning. “They should have at least given some kind of warning, you know, a minute or two or something, but they never made an announcement or anything,” said Lucas Sparrow who was safely inside during the storm but captured a lot of the chaos on video.
In a statement sent to FOX 35, Royal Caribbean said, “…Independence of the seas encountered a sudden gust of high winds. This lasted for a brief period and there were no serious injuries to our guests or crew…”. Whether there were injuries or not, this normal has passengers sounding the alarm on safety.
Since receiving the statement from Royal Caribbean, FOX 35 is pressing for more information on what weather safety protocols are currently in place and why guests weren’t notified earlier. At this time, we haven’t heard back.