Franklin Family Experiences Hurricane Sandy While On Vacation
by Emily Luxen
FRANKLIN, Tenn. – A local family had an up close encounter with Hurricane Sandy while on vacation in the Caribbean.
The McGees booked the 7 day trip on a Disney Cruise Ship as a treat for their extended family. It was their first time to take a cruise.
"The first four days were great, and we had a good time exploring the ship," said Heather McGee.
During the final two days of the trip, when the ship was heading back to the dock at Port Canaveral, it traveled into the wake of Hurricane Sandy. McGee said the relaxing trip quickly turned terrifying.
"By the last night of the cruise, Friday evening, it was so bad in the dining room that servers had a hard time moving around," said McGee. " Things were falling off the table."
"You could hear patio furniture hitting the window, things above you, and below you smashing, and everything came off the counter tops."
McGee captured the damage in several photos, and other passengers shot video on their cell phones. She said during the scariest point, at around 2 a.m. Friday, passengers had still not received any instruction or details from the cruise line staff.
"I think it's only by the grace of God that there wasn't any serious injury," said McGee. "I would really appreciate it if Disney would say, ‘We made the wrong decision. We shouldn't have done that to our guests.'"
Rebecca Peddie, a spokesperson for Disney Cruise Lines, sent a statement saying: "Last Friday night, the Disney Fantasy experienced rough sea conditions en route to Port Canaveral, and as a result, our guests had a difficult evening. While it was a difficult evening, never was the safety of our guests or crew members compromised. Rough seas can be a reality for any sea vessel from time to time, and our captains and crew members are highly trained and experienced in navigating through inclement weather."
Disney offered the McGees and the other passengers onboard the ship a 25 percent discount on a future Disney vacation.
McGee acknowledged there are risks traveling during hurricane season, but still believes the Disney staff could have done more to assist passengers or put them at ease.