Four cruise ships headed toward the Texas port of Galveston carrying some 20,000 passengers can not return home following the destruction wrought by Hurricane Harvey, now a tropical storm but still packing heavy rains.
The port of Galveston, where some Carnival cruise trips begin and end, was closed because of the storm.
Passengers aboard the Carnival Freedom told CNN they were anxious about their vehicles, which were left at Galveston's port. The storm also forced the U.S. Coast Guard to close multiple ports along Texas Gulf Coast, including those at Houston, Galveston, Texas City, Freeport and Corpus Christi.
The port, which hosts all three ships year-round, closed Friday ahead of the storm and remained closed Saturday afternoon.
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Carnival Valor and Carnival Freedom are now keeping a safe distance from the storm as they make their way back to Galveston. Carnival Breeze is now docked in Cozumel and will remain there overnight, added de la Huerta. Not only will the ships be adding food and supplies for the extended journey, but they will also allow passengers to disembark and return to Galveston by other means of transportation if they choose.
The Carnival Freedom and the Carnival Valor each carry about 4,800 passengers and crew. If a passenger has a medical emergency on board, emergency officials will still be able to access the ship with a medical helicopter.
Carnival and Royal Caribbean cruise lines are both monitoring the storm to figure out the best course of action between now and the weekend. "Guests who sail on modified voyages will receive a prorated refund equal to the number of cruise days missed".
Royal Caribbean's Anthem of the Seas did sail into a storm off the Atlantic coast previous year, forcing the ship to turn around, and subjecting the passengers to the consequences of high wind and waves.
"Liberty of the Seas is keeping a safe distance behind the storm as she making her way back to Galveston".