NEW YORK – A cruise ship that unexpectedly heeled to one side during a trip through calm Atlantic waters picked up a new load of passengers en route to the Caribbean on Saturday for its first voyage since the mishap.
The Crown Princess arrived in Brooklyn from Florida for a quick stop before sailing later in the evening for the Turks and Caicos Islands.
Investigators on Saturday still were not finished investigating why the ship suddenly listed 15 degrees Tuesday while traveling about 11.5 miles off Port Canaveral. The unexpected lurch threw passengers and unfastened objects against the deck and walls before the ship leveled itself in about 40 seconds, by passenger estimates.
Inspectors, however, found that the ship was mechanically safe and cleared it to return to service, according to Coast Guard spokesman Dan Bender.
"The ship is entirely safe," said Princess Cruise lines spokeswoman Julie Benson.
Only a few vacationers appeared to be deterred by the incident. After some cancellations, the ship is sailing at about 15 percent below its capacity of 3,000 passengers, Benson said.
The ship was headed to sea for a week, stopping at Grand Turk and Bermuda before returning to New York.
The cruise was initially scheduled to start Thursday, but was delayed two days to allow time for the ship to be inspected before returning to New York.
Passengers sailing on the shortened trip will get a 50 percent refund of their fare, the cruise line said.
Investigators from the Coast Guard and National Transportation Safety Board traveled on board the Crown Princess to monitor it while it cruised without passengers from Florida.
Before the accident, the crew had reported a steering problem aboard the 113,000-ton vessel, which was christened only last month. The ship was sailing through calm seas, and there was no indication that a rogue wave or foul play contributed to the roll, officials said.
At the time of the accident, the ship was on autopilot and its captain away from the bridge.
The Coast Guard has now required the crew to manually steer the ship while in water less than 50 meters deep.