Anthem Sails into a PR Problem

by Cheryl Rosen

New York’s Channel 4 News this morning used the dreaded C word, calling the Anthem of the Seas “cursed” as it returned early to Cape Liberty in Bayonne, NJ.

This week, the Anthem was turned back mid-cruise for a second time in a month by bad weather, and this time also by reports of norovirus.

News 4 quoted a cruiser as saying there was “no one to clean, as staff was in lockdown,” and Royal Caribbean as saying it was just following its new and more careful policy of avoiding storms at sea.

Other news outlets used the word as well; New York Magazine called it the "bad luck cruise ship" and cruiseLawNews.com ran a story under the headline " ‘Curse of the Seas’ Returns to New Jersey for Noro Cleaning.”

Travel industry reporter Jay Campbell, who sailed on an uneventful cruise on the Anthem last week, told TMR that his trip was marred only by a broken window in the indoor pool area, which made it too cold to swim for the first few days until it was repaired during a stop in the Caribbean, and periodic closures of the iFLY because of high winds.

Traveling in an intergenerational group of 10 that included a disabled grandfather and four young children, Campbell commended the ship’s staff for exceptional service and said “everyone had a great time.” But others on the ship were grumbling and calling for rebates, he said.

Campbell also praised his Protravel travel agent, who had spent 90 minutes on FaceTime with a distraught client during the original ill-fated Anthem cruise, which ran into hurricane-force winds that forced all passengers into lockdown in their rooms. She then stayed in touch with the client by text for the rest of the trip.

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