Royal Caribbean apologized today for sailing into a massive storm on Sunday, saying it had “identified gaps” in its planning system.
The 1,100-foot Anthem of the Seas was rocked by the low pressure system off coast of the Carolinas, one that the company called unexpected but that meteorologists said had been well forecast.
“What happened this week showed that we need to do better,” a statement from the company said. “We apologize for exposing our guests and crew to the weather they faced, and for what they went through.”
The company says its luxury liner experienced 120 mph winds during the storm that left passengers confined to rooms and triggered a request for an investigation by a leading Florida lawmaker.
It is adding resources at its Miami headquarters to provide additional guidance to captains.
Still, it says the severity of the storm far exceeded forecasts.
Meteorologists called the company out for claiming the storm wasn’t predicted.
U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla., requested that the NTSB review the incident as part of its investigation into the circumstances of the cargo ship El Faro, which sank in October after sailing into the path of Hurricane Joaquin. All 33 crew members aboard the ship were killed.
Today, the NTSB said the cargo ship investigation includes a weather group that is reviewing the decision process by the ship’s owner, TOTE Maritime, in operating ships in hurricanes.
“The Anthem of the Seas incident may provide us an additional opportunity to learn best practices that cruise line operators employ for operating in heavy weather,” the NTSB said in a statement.
Much of the superficial damage to Anthem of the Seas has been repaired and the company expects Anthem of the Seas to resume her planned itinerary for next week’s cruise.
Of more than 6,000 people on board the 18-deck ship, four reported minor injuries.