TAMPA (WFLA) — Dense morning fog delayed the arrival and departure of three cruise ships Monday at Port Tampa Bay.
The US Coast Guard made the decision to temporarily shut down the channel because of the weather conditions, a Port Tampa Bay spokesperson told News Channel 8.
“We didn’t anticipate being out at sea all day,” Dave Cook said.
Cook snapped a photo of the thick morning fog from onboard the Norwegian Dawn cruise ship.
“Actually the fog started rolling in last night and the captain warned us that hey we may get a little bit of a delay,” he said.
Cook said the captain provided hourly updates while the ship waited for the all-clear to return to Port Tampa Bay.
“It was exacerbated by the fact that around lunchtime it was a beautiful blue sky and the port and Coast Guard weren’t giving us the OK to enter the port,” Cook said.
James Dean and his family from Chicago had been scheduled to board a Caribbean cruise ship at 11 am
“With the little information we did get in the morning,” he said, “we didn’t want to come here and sit eight, nine hours.”
Dean said the cruise line informed them because of the delayed departure, they are skipping a stop at Grand Cayman Island.
“It’s a little disheartening that we don’t get to go to the stop we wanted to but again we’re trying to make the best of it,” Dean said.
The three delayed cruise ships didn’t start pulling into the port until after 5 pm
“It’s nobody’s fault,” Bonnie Kelley from Alabama said. “You can’t blame anyone for its nature.”
After dark, Kelley joined hundreds in line waiting to board the Norwegian cruise ship at Terminal 2.
“This is the bad part, you got 3,000 people trying to get on, 2800 trying to get off,” Ronnie Mckillip from Ocala said after disembarking.
Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Deputies helped with traffic control as the delays caused a backup at the port and on Channelside drive.
“Honestly, I’m glad I’m off the ship and not having to fight this crowd to get back on,” Cook said.