Over 4,000 passengers fled from Hurricane Irma aboard a cruise ship appropriately called Escape.
The Escape, along with another Norwegian Cruise Line ship, the Norwegian Sky, were scheduled to return to their homeport in Miami on Saturday and Friday, respectively. However, due to Hurricane Irma, the ships came back earlier to avoid sailing through the path of the storm.
The cruise liner awarded each passenger a pro-rated refund for the leg of the trip that was missed, but the early arrival created additional problems for those with no scheduled hotels or flights out of Florida – which the ship alleviated with a generous offer.
USA Today reported that the cruise liner was allowing those who couldn’t find transportation home on Thursday from Miami, or a safe place to stay, could sail back out to sea on the Escape to wait out the storm – free of charge.
A Norwegian spokeswoman, Vanessa Picariello, told USA Today that the company hopes to have the ship back in Miami by Tuesday, but it all depends on when the city’s port reopens.
The spokeswoman added that it's not certain where the ship will go, but it'll be somewhere safe and away from the storm.
"At this point the plan is to go west," Picariello said to USA Today.
Until that time, the ship will remain out at sea – but passengers don’t seem to be complaining.
The Escape is one of Norwegian’s newest ships and boasts water slides, a relaxing spa and theater shows – as well as unlimited access to alcohol and food at the multiple restaurants and bars.
"We're making every effort to have at least one port of call,” Picariello said. “If not, it will be a cruise to nowhere and everyone will have a good time.”