Free Cruise Fails To Keep Passengers Escaping Hurricane Irma Happy

Hundreds of passengers were stranded in Miami when two vessels belonging to Norwegian Cruise Line had to dock early to escape the wrath of Hurricane Irma. So, as a peace offering, the company decided to allow those stuck in Florida a place on the ship, free of charge, with full access to free food, drinks and entertainment.

By now your 'sounds too good to be true' senses may well be tingling - and some passengers are claiming that was certainly the case.

Before the cruise ship set off on a journey to nowhere, Vanessa Picariello, a spokesperson from Norwegian Cruise Line, told USA Today: "Everyone will have a good time."

Norwegian Cruise Ship
Norwegian Cruise Ship

Credit: Norwegian Cruise Line

There were high hopes that everyone would, indeed, have fun, with Margaret Cunningham telling the Sun: "They've been very clear that they're not going to run out of food. They're not going to run out of water.

"They're not going to run out of booze - very important - and so we're just going to stay on and enjoy the ride."

But it seems as though some passengers aren't exactly enjoying the adventure, with Washington DC resident Stephanie Smith telling the New York Post: "It's just awful. I just want to go home."

Bar on cruise ship
Bar on cruise ship

What passengers were looking forward to: the free bar. Credit: Norwegian Cruise Line

She explained that the offer for free booze and food was nice, but claimed passengers have still had to reach into their wallets. Stephanie said that a 24-pack of bottled water would set you back $54 (£40), while WIFI for just one day is $30 (£22).

"It's really frustrating and extremely humid and hot here," she added.

A spokeswoman from Norwegian Cruise Line has told LADbible: "The safety and security of our guests and team members has been our top priority since the arrival of Hurricane Irma. Norwegian Escape sailed close to full capacity with displaced guests from both Norwegian Sky and Norwegian Escape that were unable to secure flights back home when the ships returned early to Miami on Thursday, September 7.

"These guests were provided with six nights of free accommodation, food and entertainment. Prices did not change onboard during this time; however it was at guests' own discretion if they decided to purchase additional items, beyond those always included on every cruise and every ship in the Norwegian Cruise Line fleet (such as alcohol and spa access/treatments).

"This sailing was by no means 'a free booze cruise to nowhere' but instead a measure that the company took to keep our guests and crew safe from the devastating impact of Hurricane Irma."

Bottled Water
Bottled Water

Credit: PA

Elsewhere, there have been further accusations of price gouging during the horrific weather event, which has claimed 22 lives in the US and 34 in the Caribbean and left a trail of destruction. Before Irma even made landfall in America, Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi told CNBC there had been 7,000 complaints made about places jacking up their prices.

Several airlines were criticised for not capping their airfares for people wanting to get out of Florida before the storm hit. Some passengers were seeing prices for as much as $2,370 (£1,785) to fly from Miami to Los Angeles.

Amazon was also called on to watch the price that third party sellers were setting for basic necessities, like water. According to USA Today, BestSource Office Supplies listed a 24-pack of standard sized water bottles for a whopping $99.99 (£75).

Despite the actions of some individual companies, Attorney General Bondi says most industries have been brilliant: "We're really seeing a lot of good of people working together, along with the bad people who I will put out of business."

Sources: New York Post, Sun,, USA Today, CNBC, Metro

Featured Image Credit: PA/Walt Disney

Stewart Perrie

Stewart Perrie is a Trending Journalist at LADbible. His first job was as a newsreader and journalist at the award winning Sydney radio station, Macquarie Radio. He was solely responsible for the content broadcast on multiple stations across Australia when the MH17, Germanwings and AirAsia disasters unfolded. Stewart has covered the conflict in Syria for LADbible, interviewing a doctor on the front line, and has contributed to the hugely successful UOKM8 campaign.

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