Isaac Delays Carnival Cruise Ships in Miami

Passengers claim wait for port to reopen wasn't comfortable

Tropical Storm Isaac delayed several cruise ship departures from the Port of Miami over the weekend, leaving hundreds of passengers stuck on land for much longer than anticipated.

The Port of Miami reopened Monday at 2 p.m. after officials deemed it safe. It was shut down late Saturday due to the storm.

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Many Carnival passengers say they were not so much upset with mother nature, but unhappy with the cruise company because no announcement was made to explain the delays.

"We all just felt like cattle or prisoners - they wouldn't tell us what was going on," wrote NBC 6 South Florida viewer Deni Carise in an e-mail. "It's starting to look like WalMart at 6 AM the Friday after Thanksgiving."

Carise said a Carnival employee eventually told her the ship's computers were down. Other passengers believe the hold up was strictly weather-related.

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Carnival bused hundreds of passengers from the Port of Miami to the DoubleTree Hotel and convention center in downtown Miami while they waited for further notice.

"They did feed us and tried to make us comfortable but it wasn't," said traveler Anna Searles. "We were just waiting for them to announce things and it never seemed to happen."

In a statement Tuesday, the cruise line said it also provided complimentary hotel rooms for guests debarking from its two delayed ships, the Carnival Valor and Imagination, who missed their flights or had their flights cancelled. The company blamed the issued on the port closure.

"Carnival Cruise Lines sincerely apologizes to its guests for this disruption to their vacation plans," the statement read.

The Carnival Valor set sail just before 3 a.m. Tuesday, two days behind schedule.

"We've been waiting since two o' clock today at the DoubleTree. Yesterday the cruise got delayed a day so we changed our flight to today," said traveler Joshlyn Calloway. "I'm hoping it's going to be a lot better but it's been chaotic. The police had to come, it was really dramatic."

Calloway described the scene much like a riot, because passengers were angry, hot and confused by the delays.

The Carnival Imagination also left several hours late early Tuesday.

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