The decision came three weeks after Anthem encountered hurricane-force winds during a storm-tossed 18 hours off Cape Hatteras Feb. 7-8. At least two passengers have filed lawsuits in connection with that incident, alleging the company endangered lives by sailing into a known storm.
Royal Caribbean said four people sustained minor injuries, and the ship cut that cruise short. The company subsequently strengthened its storm avoidance policy, and added resources at Miami headquarters to provide additional guidance to its captains.
This time, Royal Caribbean tweeted that Anthem's captain followed the company's new storm avoidance policy and consulted with experts. The decision to turn around was to 'provide guests a comfortable journey back home.'
In a statement, the company said: 'On a recent sailing, Anthem of the Seas experienced bad weather that was much worse than forecast; therefore, we want to be extra cautious about our guests' safety and comfort when it comes to weather in the area. That is why we have decided to head back to Cape Liberty immediately so that we can stay a safe distance from the storm.'
Royal Caribbean is providing each passenger with on-board credit in the amount of two days of the cruise fare paid for the Feb. 21 sailing. This is being applied directly to shipboard accounts and can be used for any on-board purchase or service. Any unused balance will be refunded.
Furthermore, passengers are getting a future cruise certificate for 50% of the fare paid. This can be applied to a future cruise on any Royal Caribbean ship within the next year.
Meanwhile, Royal Caribbean said the fact that some passengers are experiencing norovirus symptoms did not impact the decision to return.