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Cruise Ship Back To Sea After Mishap

A cruise ship that rolled suddenly to one side will depart on a new voyage this weekend, despite the mystery over what caused the accident that threw passengers across the decks and seriously injured 20 people off the Florida coast.

The Crown Princess left Florida on Thursday for New York, where it was scheduled to depart for another Caribbean trip. Investigators from the Coast Guard and National Transportation Safety Board planned to go along to monitor the voyage, officials said.

Coast Guard Petty Officer Jennifer Johnson said the investigation would be a long process.

"It doesn't mean the cruise ship can't continue to operate," she said. "It has no holes on it, so it's free to transit."

The ship was scheduled to arrive Saturday in Brooklyn, pick up 3,000 passengers and depart later that day.

The Crown Princess rolled 15 degrees to its right Tuesday about 11½ miles off Port Canaveral, throwing passengers, TV sets and other objects against the deck and walls. The ship slowly came back up after 30 to 40 seconds, by passengers' estimate, then returned to port.

The crew had reported a steering problem aboard the 113,000-ton vessel, which was christened only last month. The ship was sailing through calm seas, and there was no indication that a rogue wave or foul play contributed to the roll, officials said.

At the time of the accident, the ship was on autopilot and its captain away from the bridge.

The trip from Florida to New York will determine whether the ship can travel again with passengers. Although the crew does not need Coast Guard clearance for another voyage, the port could hold the vessel if investigators determine it is unsafe, Coast Guard Petty Officer James Judge said.

Princess spokeswoman Julie Benson said investigators had not found any "ongoing mechanical issues" aboard the ship.

The cruise line was waiving cancellation fees for customers who booked the trip leaving from New York but no longer wanted to go. Benson said some passengers did cancel, but the company was already receiving new booking inquiries.

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