A Norwegian Cruise Line ship heading to Boston with nearly 3,500 passengers and crew has been freed about 6 hours after it ran aground while leaving Bermuda, officials said.
Small boats, divers and tug boats circled the liner Norwegian Dawn for hours before high tide helped push it off the reef and into deeper water, where the ship dropped anchor for the night, the company said in a statement.
“All guests and crew are safe and there were absolutely no injuries,” cruise officials said.
The ship ran aground after a temporary malfunction in its steering system forced it slightly off course, the company said. It added that a team of experts would inspect the ship before it set off again for Boston. There are 2,443 passengers and 1,059 crew members aboard.
Passenger Rachel Hansen, from Londonderry, New Hampshire, spoke to The Associated Press by phone and said the ship was about three miles from Bermuda when it ran aground.
“We definitely felt it,” she said. “We were in the middle of eating dinner ... There was a shudder for maybe 30 seconds to a minute and then there was a sudden stop.”
Hansen said she and her family gathered essential belongings and joined other people who went to the top of the ship to see what had happened.
“We had crew members running around in a panic, and we felt like we had to panic,” she said, adding that overall, the majority of crew members reacted calmly and quickly.
As the hours went by, she said passengers settled into their evening routine and the ship still held entertainment shows as planned.
The Norwegian Dawn was on a seven-day, round-trip cruise to Bermuda, where it spent three days in port.
The situation raised concern among those scheduled to travel from Boston to Bermuda aboard the Norwegian Dawn on Friday, including Nicole Boucher of Uxbridge, Massachusetts.
She said she had plans to travel with her mother and young daughter to celebrate their birthdays, but Norwegian cruise officials told her they didn't know yet if the ship will available.
“It was a girls' trip,” she said. “My mom actually let me know through Facebook and said, 'Oh, this is our luck.”'