A Norwegian Cruise Line ship returning from a weeklong voyage had to be pulled to Pier 88 in midtown Sunday morning when its steering and propulsion system malfunctioned, authorities said.
Passengers aboard the Breakaway, a 1,068-foot ocean liner that can carry 3,969 guests plus its crew of 1,651, were delayed about three hours, causing some to miss connections home, authorities said.
The ship reported a minor issue with its steering and propulsion system about 7:45 a.m., Coast Guard spokesman Frank Iannazzo-Simmons said. The system was intact, he said, but cruise officials decided to wait it out due to a strong current.
A civilian-contracted tugboat pulled the Breakaway to Pier 88 in midtown about 10 a.m., he said. The Coast Guard oversaw the operation.
The ship was returning from a seven-day cruise to the Bahamas and Florida and was originally scheduled to dock at 7 a.m., said AnneMarie Mathews, a spokeswoman for Norwegian. The cruise line told passengers leaving Sunday that the next departure had been pushed back to 5 p.m., about an hour later than scheduled.
Passengers streaming off the ship Sunday afternoon were not pleased. Sheila Mills-Kennedy, a 56-year-old travel agent from Philadelphia, missed her 10:40 a.m. bus home.
"Now we have to hope we get another bus," Mills-Kennedy said. "There were a lot of people who were frustrated."
Cindy Petrillo, 55, of North Haven, Connecticut, was waiting after the cruise for a taxi to Grand Central Terminal to catch a Metro-North train home. She said the ship's decks had become crowded and the delay was confusing.
"There were a couple of announcements, but I feel there could have been more," she said. "People were getting nasty toward the end."
Her husband, Richard, 56, said people were "elbow to elbow," a crowded situation made worse by the many suitcases.