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Mark My Words

Disney Cruise Line ships, Castaway Cay escape serious damage from Hurricane Sandy

Rating: 4 votes, 5.00 average.
In this week's Update, I shared reports of major storm damage aboard the Disney Fantasy and concern about Castaway Cay, Disney's private island in the Bahamas. A story on the CNN website had reported:

Water in the pool shown in the video was emptied into the surrounding areas and into some hallways. The two upscale restaurants (Palo and Remy) had major damage. One exterior door was destroyed near our cabin.
On Wednesday evening, Disney Cruise Line spokeperson Rebecca Peddie told MousePlanet that things were not as bad as the story had made it seem:

At this point in time, everything is business as usual for us. The Disney Dream called on our private island, Castaway Cay, today. We cleaned up some storm debris that washed up on the shores and replaced some sand, but overall the island was fine.

The Disney Fantasy had some minor, cosmetic damage such as cracked windows and broken furniture that was addressed. The ship left Port Canaveral for a seven-night Western Caribbean itinerary on Saturday, October 27, a little later than usual and as a result missed its stop in Grand Cayman on Monday. However, its scheduled itinerary resumed yesterday.
If you were on the Disney Dream or Disney Fantasy last week during the passage of Hurricane Sandy, or are aboard now, please let us know what you've seen.

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  1. rfassett's Avatar
    The mis-information or non-information coming out of the DCL camp is down right frightening. Rebecca Peddie also told another outlet that the Dream, missing its ports of call, was enjoying a sunny day at sea. She obviously was not on that ship. There was no sun, the wind was heavy enough to close down the outside decks - their was no magic on that ship. She needs to stop attempting to paint everything with a Mickey brush. It just is not that way. The truth is what we all want to hear. The pictures, video and testimony of those on the Fantasy belie Ms Peddie's statements.
  2. kroseycorn's Avatar
    In short, I think Disney is probably downplaying how bad the cruises were for liability reasons -- not wanting to admit any guilt in terms of the decision making that resulted in breeches of safety and discomfort (understatement!) that guests experienced. Here is my post from the site and the discussion happening there:

    My husband and I spent the night in the atrium on the 26th with some other folks, not wanting to be in our stateroom on deck 8. We were just too scared and felt we could get more information and have a better idea of our safety in a main area of the ship.

    It really was a terrifying night. I was standing in the rotunda surrounded by the gift shops when the boat listed heavily from side to side the second time. Cast members had locked themselves into the shops (possibly fearing we would loot?? where would we go with our smashed loot??) and were starting to clean up smashed mugs and the merchandise that had rolled off the shelves. When we suddenly arched from side to side, presumably broadsided by waves, I watched in horror as the merchandise displays smashed from wall to wall with cast members jumping for safety and trying to escape being crushed by the racks. People were laying on the floor, screaming, running for the doors (which were locked!). Many cast members were in tears in their pajamas on the floor of the rotunda after the experience. I called for someone to get medical help after watching the chaos unfold. I assumed someone was injured or worse. Disney says no one was injured.

    Watching this break in the stoicism of the staff shook me and I really felt that the roughness of the sea was not anticipated and that we could be in a situation that we were not capable of navigating. Some of you might this this naive, but I truly thought the ship was in trouble after witnessing that. I believe I went into shock for around a half-hour afterwards, grabbing my husband at every bump, fearing that we would be broadsided and “tip” again. Guests filtered into the atrium afterwards, holding blankets and pillows, some carrying their lifejackets, some in tears.

    We stayed there all night, buoyed by the confidence of cast members and more seasoned cruisers who assured us that, while miserable, we would survive the night and would have a tale to tell. I hope that Disney would not intentionally put us in harms way just to get back to Port Canaveral and get the boat turned around to sail. From the moment we headed north, it seemed like we were going the wrong way. I am not, however, a captain of a ship and do not have much seafaring experience. It’s possible that the company’s motivations were in the wrong place, but it is also very possible that we ended up in a bad situation because the storm slowed. I would hope that the company would not put families, individuals with disabilities, small children and the elderly in a very uncomfortable and (say what you want of my naivete) terrifying experience just to get new people on the ship. Again, this could be way over my level of understanding, but could we not have avoided the whole ordeal by staying in Miami, the Keys or a day at sea on the SW side of Florida? Or perhaps remained in St. Thomas?

    I must add that we had a really wonderful time right up to 10pm (sailing away party), and even had a very fun dinner at Palo the night of the 26th. The cast members were great, the ship is gorgeous and I would highly recommend it. Just avoid hurricane season.

    Also, here is a link to my interview with a local news station:

    Chad McGee, another poster in that discussion, says it best with "Not every bad decision leads to a catastrophe, but the catastrophe usually starts with a bad decision. Although they won’t admit any lack of good judgment, I hope that their outwardly oblivious view of what happened is only for legal reasons and that they’ve learned a lesson for next time."