A one-day delay of the Royal Caribbean Wonder of the Seas’ return to Port Canaveral created a logistical challenge at the port on Monday that caused some traffic congestion.
The Wonder of the Seas — the world’s largest cruise ship — was returning from St. Kitts to Port Canaveral’s Cruise Terminal 1 when the captain was forced to turn the ship around and divert to San Juan, Puerto Rico, to get care for a passenger suffering a medical emergency, the cruise industry website Cruise Hive reported.
The Wonder of the Seas was scheduled to arrive at Port Canaveral on Sunday, but got there early Monday morning instead.
But the Royal Caribbean Independence of the Seas also was supposed to arrive at Terminal 1 on the south side of Port Canaveral on Monday.
So the port, working with Royal Caribbean, instead shifted the Independence to Terminal 6 on the north side of the port, while the Wonder of the Seas was at Terminal 1.
That required passengers getting off the Independence at Terminal 6, who had driven to the port before their cruise started, and were ending their cruise on Monday, to catch a free shuttle bus from Terminal 6 to Terminal 1 to pick up their vehicles.
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Also, passengers of the Independence who were starting their cruise on Monday and had driven to the port, had to drop off their luggage at Terminal 6, drive to Terminal 1 to park their vehicles, then take a shuttle bus to Terminal 6 to board the ship.
Adding to the logistical issue was that there were three other cruise ships letting off and boarding at Port Canaveral on Monday: the Carnival Liberty at Terminal 3, the Disney Wish at Terminal 8 and the Norwegian Getaway at Terminal 10.
Port Canaveral officials say there were about 50,000 passengers either getting on or off cruise ships there on Monday. Typically, there is about one private vehicle parked at the port for every seven cruise passengers.
Port officials said all five ships departed from Port Canaveral on schedule on Monday afternoon and evening.
Carnival Cruise Line recently had a somewhat similar situation at Port Canaveral, when the Carnival Freedom departed from Terminal 6, but returned to Terminal 3 at the end of its cruise because another ship, the Carnival Magic, was using Terminal 6 on the same day the Freedom returned. Passengers of the Freedom were transported by bus from Terminal 3 to Terminal 6 to get their vehicles.
C.A. Bridges contributed to this report.
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