25 Jun 2023
A Royal Caribbean cruise was battered by gusts of rain and wind before its departure Friday.
Passengers shared videos of patrons sliding along the deck during the storm.
The cruise line says no serious injuries or damage occurred as a result of the storm
Passengers on a Royal Caribbean cruise ship ran for cover as umbrellas, chairs, and other furniture flew around them during a sudden, spectacular storm that struck Florida's Port Canaveral on Friday.
As the Independence of the Seas prepared to depart, strong winds and rain battered the 15-deck ship. In multiple videos posted to YouTube and Twitter, passengers are shown slipping and sliding across the decks while attempting to get safely inside.
The ship departed for the Bahamas despite the storm and arrived at CocoCay on time, according to a Royal Caribbean statement to Insider. The company called the storm "brief" and said there were no serious injuries to crewmembers or passengers.
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Passengers took to the internet to describe their personal experiences.
"Instead of telling people to come up to the top deck when we have a severe thunderstorm warning, maybe you should be more worried about your guests and employees and tell them to get inside," tweeted one passenger who filmed the storm.
Jerry Pike, a photographer and Florida local, told Insider he watched the storm hit the Independence of the Seas while sitting in a car in Jetty Park facing the port. Though the storm lasted only minutes, he said it was "exceptionally strong."
Pike estimated winds reached between 40 and 50 miles per hour at the height of the storm, which he added was "terrifying" to watch. A meteorologist for Fox 35 reported winds reached from 55 to 60 miles an hour at their peak strength.
"The Independence was just getting battered by winds as it was trying to push off the dock," Pike said. "Then [it] was covered by the gray cloud of rain and we couldn't see more than 20 yards out the window."
The storm is just one of many expected to hit the Florida coast as hurricane season begins in the Atlantic Ocean, which runs from the beginning of June to November 30.
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