Cruise diverted after superstorm
By BRIDGET MURPHY
BOSTON — Some spent the time gambling or drinking, but others were vomiting in hallways.
Scores of cruise ship passengers who were stuck riding out the superstorm at sea docked in Boston on Wednesday because of a New York port closure.
Many shared stories of 40- to 50-foot waves rocking cruise ship Norwegian Gem and trying to make the best of being stuck on the water for two extra days.
Boston has turned into a safe haven for New York-bound cruise ships because of the storm.
Massachusetts Port Authority officials said Wednesday that two cruise ships have diverted to the New England location since Sunday and another two are expected by Friday.
It’s the first time since the 9/11 attacks that multiple cruise ships that should have gone to New York instead have come to Boston.
“I want to get down and kiss it,” Norwegian Gem passenger Chrissy Cole said Wednesday after reaching land.
The 33-year-old resident of Scranton, Pa., lined up to catch a bus home after the trip she took with eight relatives turned into a different adventure than they’d expected.
Norwegian Cruise Line officials gave passengers the choice of ending their trip in Boston or getting back on the ship until the vessel can return to New York.
Many left on buses or in rental cars, including some New York City residents who worried they still wouldn’t make it home.
“Everyone’s on a wing and a prayer, hoping every highway is open,” said 32-year-old Brian Moreland, of Astoria, Queens.
Honeymooning couple Nicole and Brad Dooley, from Santa Rosa, Calif., said they could watch waves coming over the ship’s bow during the storm’s height from their berth.
“I was seasick the whole time,” she said.
“We’re glad to be here and on land,” he said.
Nancy and John Prehl, of Auburn, Pa., were aboard Norwegian Gem to celebrate their 41st wedding anniversary. She said the ship’s motion made them bounce in their bed and the refrigerator and bathroom doors in their berth swing open.
“The captain kept telling us: ‘Don’t worry. We’re safe,’” Nancy Prehl said of ship announcements.
“Two extra days of drinking and partying. That’s about all you could do,” John Prehl said of conditions that made even sober passengers stagger. “When you walked, it looked like everybody was drunk on the ship most of the time.”
Multiple passengers said they believed the ship rode out the worst of the storm near Nantucket.
But cruise line officials said Wednesday that that occurred when the ship was 400 nautical miles southeast of New York on Monday evening.
College student Randy Davis, 23, of Tower City, Pa., said not all passengers kept their cool as waves rocked the ship.
“A lot of people were freaking out and crying, but I just took motion sickness pills and I was good to go,” he said.
Norwegian Gem sailed to the Caribbean before skipping one port of call along the way and coming to Boston instead of docking back in New York on Monday.
A second ship, Princess Cruises’ Caribbean Princess, diverted to Boston on Sunday because of weather conditions and was still docked in the port Wednesday.
Starting Saturday, the ship was supposed to make a four-day roundtrip journey from New York to Bermuda.
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