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Updated: Bahamas Celebration Cruise Ship Runs Aground: 'No Danger Of It Sinking'

BY DENISE MAYCOCK

Tribune Freeport Reporter

dmaycock@tribunemedia.net

SEVEN hundred passengers and crew members were evacuated from the Bahamas Celebration after the cruise ship ran aground outside Freeport Harbour on Friday night.

Salvage crews have spent the day assessing the damage caused by “a small hole in the side of the vessel” after it ran aground 200 yards outside the port around 9pm. The ship returned to port and all passengers and crew left the ship safely.

James Verillo, owner of the Bahamas Celebration cruise line, said on Saturday afternoon that a small hole on the side of the vessel has been repaired and the ship is in no danger of sinking.

“The ship is listing at about 10 per cent and there is a whole host of professionals on board dealing with the issue. There was a small hole on the side of the ship that has already been patched,” he said.

Mr Verillo said they do not know the cost of the damages at this stage. Earlier reports had suggested there was a 50-50 chance the ship might sink.

All passengers and non-essential crew-members, including casino staff, bartenders and waitresses have left the ship. Only technical staff are still on board. Passengers have boarded another ship and were expected to be returning to Florida on Saturday evening.

The cruise ship initiated emergency procedures and all passengers were instructed to put on life jackets when the vessel ran aground. Salvage crews have been assessing the damage since 2am on Saturday.

According to a statement issued by the Celebration Cruise Line, passengers were never in any danger and were being accommodated at various resorts on the island. It is not known how many passengers were onboard at the time.

“As a precaution, all passengers we're asked to put on life jackets and emergency steps were taken as the ship staff practices every week. No passengers were ever in any danger and everything was handled in an organised and efficient way by the ship,” it stated.

The Celebration had been expected to return to the port of Palm Beach around 7pm on Saturday but the cruise line said it will remain in the Bahamas while damage can be assessed.

The cruise line has cancelled scheduled cruises for Saturday and Monday and all booked passengers will be notified and a refund or other arrangements will be made.

Celebration Cruise Line said they will issue more information at a later time. “Our focus at this time is taking care of our passengers who were on the ship or had planned to be on the ship over the next few days,” it said.

Comments

ThisIsOurs 1 year, 6 months ago

Glad to hear noone was hurt. Did they say that was the SS PLP?

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pat242 1 year, 6 months ago

Thisisours. You living in the wrong era. The SS PLP was a election slogan in the 80s. You are taking politics so serious that someone could of gotten seriously hurt or killed, and you are using the incident to make light of an aposeing political entity. How childish, it's about time you grow up.

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ThisIsOurs 1 year, 6 months ago

Pat, you're back! Looking forward to "interesting" comments. Thanks for the well wishes. All aboard!

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TalRussell 1 year, 6 months ago

No thanks can I have my luggage back? Comrade Verillo you say there was no risk of your ship sinking? You'd have wonder how many of the 700 passengers and crew members who had be evacuated from the Bahamas Celebration, after the cruise ship ran aground outside Freeport Harbour on Friday night, would have boarded, had they been told prior boarding that there was a 50% chance during the voyage that the ship might sink? Check and see what insurance premiums would be on ship with 50% chance sinking? If a 50% danger present of a ship sinking is not a reason for passenger alarm, what in hell would cause alarm? Say a 100% chance sinking?

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Fitmiss 1 year, 6 months ago

Maybe I am insensitive. I give God thanks that no one was hurt. With that in mine I found the sinking ship comparison to our governing party's future to be a funny analogy. It was a cute joke and at this rate our country is in a far worst state than the Celebration ship. After all these people had the good sense to quickly call in professionals to fix the problem unlike our government. I have come across a lot of crass and rude comments and jokes on this site, but I personally feel Thisisours made a fitting remark. The rebuke which was made was not call for and quite insulting. Let us be nicer people. TalRussell you make a valid point about how nonchalant it is to say only 50/50 chance of sinking.

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Usernineteen 1 year, 6 months ago

As a passenger of this ship when this happened I can honestly say this was the most unorganized chaos! NO ONE I mean no one knew what was going on or what to do. The crew members treated passengers with disrespect. Our lives WERE in danger or we would not have been escorted off the boat and sent home and another! Truly the worst vacation I've ever been on and will not be returning to this cruise line ever! If this would have happened on a carnival or royal Caribbean boat we would have never experienced half the struggles we did! For example not being offered food or water for almost 24 hours! Staying in a resort means nothing when you arrive at 4 in the morning and leave at 10am!

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Uk_raven 1 year, 6 months ago

As a fellow passenger I absolutely agree. To the author of this story I ask ... Were you approached by the owner to write this STORY (because that's what it is!) If you wanted TRUTH why did you not write the truth from those that experienced it? Only Celebration PR are concerned with the deployment of the ship, at a time when overnight hotel vouchers should have been handed to their passengers returning at 2am after a 30 hour fright night!

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Uk_raven 1 year, 6 months ago

The captain himself caused hysteria! His tone was full of terror! We had no information except for him telling us that the boat had a hole in it & that we were on back up generators. In the same breath he said to put life jackets on. I was drinking coffee at the time so I did not see or hear any safety information I asked a member of staff running past and she shouted "they are on the 7th floor - I was on the 4th. There was no order because there was no information. My dinner reservation was at 9pm so I did not eat for 24hrs. No food was provided to me. We had jackets on and no air on - it was extremely hot. There was no communication to remove the jackets it took 5 hours for me to get off longer for those behind me. The ship was tilting and difficult to line up with the plank.., it fell at least once and they had to keep adjusting it.

There were lots of rumours I'm the absence of official information. Staff were extremely rude in particular Copeland & Paola Caseillo who tried to restrict movement of breathing equipment in her ignorance, and passengers trying to move to cooler areas. No formal I information was given following the Captains panic blast.

We did not know where we were going when we left the ship and once at the hotel I was mot told that I needed to be ready to return to the dock at 10am. I learnt that from front desk the next morning. There were people staying in an all I inclusive resort that didn't know that breakfast was provided.., do they didn't eat and others in a paying resort that didn't eat because they were told by the hotel that breakfast was not covered by celebration.

The busses arrived 45mins late... At the port the aircon was so high we cold not stay on the room and the wind was raging outside. We waited until 3:30 when the Bimini arrived. We were told at the port that we would be back to US in 2.5 hrs we did not leave Freeport until 6:30 and arrived Miami at 12:30am.

This whole process was far from organized, we were not treated with the dignity that human beings should have been given, let alone paying passengers! One thing was clear... We all want compensation Mr. Verillo and to know how this could have happened & who is responsible?

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Uk_raven 1 year, 6 months ago

Thank God one that this did not happen outside of the port. With this level of incompetance we would have died.

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topclements 1 year, 6 months ago

I was on the ship as well and have quite a different take on it. First I agree the Captian made a mistake by not coming back on and giving updates, that is the only thing we agree on. First the crew did as good a job as possible. I doubt that those who responded are either combat vets or first responders, because if you were you would know the difference between training and real life situations. This crew was trained and did the best they could. You try and deal with hundreds of people whos vacation was enterupted at one time, add the fear of the ship being in danger. Let's not even mention that half were drinking. I saw passengers disrespecting crew as though they were non Americans and had no right to tell the paying customers what to do. I heard fellow passengers yelling at everyone to "Shut up " so they could hear the crew call cabin numbers, even then people were laughing and joking.I heard to day the comedian who was onboard talking about the crew, I was near the entertainers and told them thry would become famous if they started to play (see Titanic) they just laughed and kept talking, did nothing. There was a man Mr. Turner from JAGS International who organized the busses as well as the rooms, he worked tirelessly to help, answered his phone everytime someone called,, I know I called him about 6 times to let the people at my hotel what was going on. He always told us what he knew and for the most part he was right on the money. I travel all over the world and what most of the other passengers don't understand is we do thing differently in US. Think about it, if you owned a small stand right outside the stricken cruise ship wouldn't you have opened it to serve 1000 stranded customers? Only 2 0r 3 had enough business savvy to open on an off day. Give these brave crew members there due.

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couponlady 10 months, 2 weeks ago

Nice to know about that, Thanks for the wonderful post.

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