NEW ORLEANS, La. (WVUE) - With ports closed along the Florida coast due to Hurricane Dorian, thousands of cruise passengers got an unplanned stop in the Crescent City as Norwegian Cruise Lines diverted two ships to New Orleans.
Cruises are often considered a stress-free trip, but during hurricane season things can take a turn. Norwegian Breakaway passenger Donna Hocevar said they still had fun.
“Everybody was nice on board. We had a good time," Hocevar said.
Jessica Fernandez, another passenger on the Norwegian Breakaway, described the normal cruise activities.
“We went to some snorkeling and interact with dolphins. It was fun," Fernandez said.
Hocevar said when getting ready for their trip, Hurricane Dorian was not on her mind.
“We were on the ship before the hurricane started, so we knew we would get on the ship. Just didn’t know when we were going to get off," she said.
As Dorian lashed the Bahamas and threatened Florida, the wind and rain shut down ports and shipping lanes, making plans a little uncertain for passengers like Ian Rimerman.
“After five itinerary changes I’m just glad to be back in the U.S," Rimerman said.
The Norwegian Breakaway left Miami last week with a scheduled return Sunday (Sept. 1).
Mathew Skidmore was also aboard the ship.
“Thursday they said we were going to be in Cozumel for three days. Then on Friday night they changed it and said we were going back to Miami,” Skidmore said.
Hocevar said the constant rescheduling was unnerving.
“Everybody was just shocked because they kept changing it," Hocevar said. “They said we’d be back like Monday, then they said Wednesday. Nobody ever knew what was going on or when we were coming back.”
The Fernandez family said they are ready to get home.
“I’m kind of homesick because we have to fly all the way back to New Jersey. I miss my home," Jessica Fernandez said.
Plus, It’s time for a different adventure to begin.
“We were going on the right track and then they said we would come back on September 3rd, which was one day before our school started and then my parents got stressed," Jessica Fernandez said.
While the Norwegian Breakaway docked at the Erato Street cruise terminal, a second ship the Norweigian Sun is also being redirected through New Orleans.
A representative from the Port of New Orleans said the cruise line is using charter buses to get thousands of passengers out to Louis Armstrong International Airport and Baton Rouge airport.
Rimerman is from Philadelphia and is now facing an unplanned extended vacation.
“I’m stuck here until tomorrow. I get home Thursday and I was supposed to be back Sunday. Some are staying in hotels awaiting a flight," he said.
The port said no one will be stuck with a long bus ride.
“They take care of you very well. It’s just the communication that wasn’t very good," Hocevar said.
The Sun departed from Port Canaveral Thursday and was scheduled to return on Labor Day.