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Premature round-trip for cruise passenger

Cruise passengers who expected a sunshine cruise to Bermuda were disappointed to find themselves sailing to Halifax, Nova Scotia, instead because of fears over Hurricane Florence.

The diversion was a big blow to one passenger on the Norwegian Dawn because he had just driven 660 miles to Boston for the cruise — from Halifax.

Passenger Paul Cunningham told the The Star newspaper in Halifax: “The ultimate story for anyone interested was the fellow that drove down from Halifax to Boston, got there and they announced the change and he's now coming home to let the dog out, I guess.”

The Norwegian Dawn was due to set sail to Bermuda on Friday, but the ship went to Canada because of concerns about the hurricane.

The change of itinerary was not popular among some guests.

Elaine Imbrogna told the newspaper that customers should have been given a chance to switch ships.

She said: “We got voicemails, we got e-mails, but nothing about a chance to change.”

“I'm very frustrated, very frustrated. I have six deposits on future cruises that I'm contemplating cancelling because ... we just experienced too much. It's just a hassle from the minute we checked in.”

Samuel George and his wife had been to Halifax the previous year.

He said: “We took a back-to-back so we were here for two weeks and we expected to go to Bermuda, so kinda disappointed.

“You don't really have a choice. I understand Norwegian's safety is first, we understand that, but we're just a little disappointed. We just came from here.”

Shipping agent Meyer Agencies said six cruise ships decided to go elsewhere due to weather worries.

Joe Simas, vice-president of the Meyer Group of Companies, said: “They made the decision last week to be proactive.

“Lo and behold, the hurricane isn't going to affect us at all. It is what it is.”

George Butterfield, vice-president of Meyer Freight, said the Bermuda Islander was still scheduled to set sail for Salem in New Jersey last night.

He said: “She will experience adverse sea conditions, however it is our hope that she will arrive safely on Thursday.

“The Somers Isles arrived in Fernandina Beach, Florida, yesterday afternoon and is scheduled to make the return trip on Friday.

“She should arrive in Bermuda on Tuesday.”

Hurricane Florence reached Category 4 strength yesterday but is forecast to remain at least 350 miles from Bermuda. The Bermuda Weather Service said this morning that the storm was still a potential threat to the island as it was expected to pass inside the threat threshold of 460 miles in the next 72 hours.

The hurricane was 390 miles south of Bermuda, moving west-northwest at 16mph at noon today.

The storm is expected to pass 360 miles off the island at 11pm today.

The US-based National Hurricane Centre said Florence was packing 130mph winds with higher gusts.

Hurricane-force winds extend up to 40 miles from the centre of the storm and tropical storm-force winds extend 150 miles.

Bermuda is expected to escape the storm's winds, but marine conditions are expected to remain dangerous.

The NHC said: “Swells generated by Florence are affecting Bermuda and portions of the US East Coast.

“These swells are likely to cause life-threatening surf and rip current conditions.”

About turn: the Norwegian Dawn berthed in Dockyard (File photograph by Akil Simmons)

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Published September 11, 2018 at 9:00 am (Updated September 11, 2018 at 1:47 pm)

Premature round-trip for cruise passenger

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