SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (CBS/AP) — Nearly 3,500 passengers and crew were allowed to disembark Wednesday in Bermuda after their cruise ship became grounded on a reef close to the British island as it tried to depart for Boston.
Norwegian Cruise Line said a team of experts inspected the ship that was stuck for nearly 6½ hours late Tuesday before a rising tide helped push it into deeper water. A spokesman said the structural integrity of the ship was confirmed and the problem that caused the steering malfunction was corrected.
"The ship is fully operational and guests are enjoying all onboard amenities and services," a company statement said.
The ship ran aground as it departed Bermuda after a temporary malfunction in the steering system forced it slightly off course, the company said. The ship has 2,443 passengers and 1,059 crew members.
The cruise line said the ship is expected to depart Bermuda on Wednesday and arrive in Boston on Friday as scheduled. The ship's next cruise on May 22 will also go on as planned.
Passenger Rachel Hansen, from Londonderry, New Hampshire, said the ship was about three miles from Bermuda when it ran aground.
"We definitely felt it," she told The Associated Press by telephone. "We were in the middle of eating dinner ... There was a shudder for maybe 30 seconds to a minute and then there was a sudden stop."
Hansen said she and her family gathered essential belongings and joined other people who went to the top of the ship to see what had happened. As the hours went by, she said passengers settled into their evening routine and the ship still held entertainment shows as planned.
The Norwegian Dawn was on a seven-day, round-trip cruise to Bermuda, where it spent three days in port.
The situation raised concern among those scheduled to travel from Boston to Bermuda aboard the Norwegian Dawn on Friday, including Nicole Boucher of Uxbridge, Massachusetts.
She said she had plans to travel with her mother and young daughter to celebrate their birthdays, but Norwegian cruise officials told her they didn't know yet if the ship will available.
"It was a girls' trip," she said. "My mom actually let me know through Facebook and said, 'Oh, this is our luck.'"
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