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Long IslandSuffolk

Stony Brook family’s cruise to Bahamas rocked by winter storm

The Breakaway encountered “stronger than forecasted weather conditions” due to the storm, according to Norwegian Cruise Line.

Del Ross of Stony Brook said on Sunday, Jan. 7, 2018, that he and his family embarked on their Norwegian Cruise Line voyage Dec. 29 from New York. On the return trip 4 days later, he said the ship rocked violently, water spilled down stairways and elevators, and some rooms became flooded, forcing passengers -- including Ross' three daughters -- to sleep in the ship's atrium. (Credit: Del Ross)

A Stony Brook family said their cruise to the Bahamas took a frightening turn during last week’s winter storm, and now wants to know why they set sail in such perilous conditions.

Del Ross said Sunday he and his family embarked on their Norwegian Cruise Line voyage Dec. 29 from New York for Ross’ father’s 80th birthday. Aboard the Norwegian Breakaway, the 21-person party celebrated the octogenarian, also Del Ross, and a surprise marriage proposal.

Ross’ daughter, Alexandra Ross, 26, became engaged on the ship, just before things “went sour,” Del Ross said.

After four days of smooth sailing, they reached the Bahamas and instead of spending the day on Norwegian Cruise Line’s private island, Great Stirrup Cay, they headed back north toward the unrelenting wind and rain, said Del Ross, 48.

On the return trip, the ship rocked violently, water spilled down stairways and elevators, and some rooms became flooded, forcing several people — including Ross’ three daughters — to sleep in the ship’s atrium, Del Ross said.

“People were getting sick,” he said. “They were miserable. You couldn’t walk down an aisle without falling.”

A representative for Norwegian Cruise Line said the ship encountered “stronger than forecasted weather conditions” due to the storm.

“The safety of our guest and crew is always our top priority and the ship’s Captain adjusted the ship’s speed and itinerary accordingly to maintain the safest possible route, delaying the ship’s arrival,” Norwegian Cruise Line said in a statement emailed Sunday to Newsday. “We sincerely apologize to our guests for the stronger than expected weather conditions and any resulting discomfort or inconvenience they may have experienced.”

Braving swells that buffeted the ship for days, the cruise liner returned to New York on Friday about 4:30 p.m., a few hours after it was scheduled to arrive.

Kevin Gilligan, another passenger on the Breakaway, said he’s disappointed the cruise line hasn’t contacted passengers to issue an apology or explanation.

“They did potentially put our lives in danger,” said Gilligan, 36, of Manhattan. “There’s been no offer of anything.”

Ishan Byrde, 44, of Oakville, Ontario, said it was a terrifying experience for him and his family, and he too wants to know why they set sail during the storm.

“I’m shocked to see they made the decision to sail right into it,” Byrde said. “It was just a bad experience.”

Del Ross said he expects a full refund for the cruise and that someone will be held accountable for “endangering everyone on board.”

When asked if passengers would be reimbursed, a Norwegian Cruise Line representative said Sunday via email: “We are working directly with those guests’ whose staterooms were affected.”

“I want answers,” Del Ross said. “I want to know why they decided to drive directly into the storm.”

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