At 1330 Thursday, September 13, we weighed anchor
and sailed westerly out of the fjord on which Qaqortoq is located and then
turned SSW on a course to St Johns, Newfoundland. At first, the wind was
moderate from the SE, but it soon developed into a full gale and the seas became
very rough. The ship slowed from the planned 19 kts to 14, then 10, then 7. We
had an early dinner in the dining room at a window table, where Judy spotted a large ice
berg on the horizon. It was tricky to see because crests of many of the large breaking
waves looked like temporary icebergs. The wind continued to increase and
developed into a storm (64 – 72 mph). The ship motion was severe, with much
banging and pitching. At about 1900 my GPS showed the ship turning SE into the
waves and slowing to about 5 kts. The motion was still strong but the banging
lessened somewhat. During the night objects fell off cabin walls and some
passengers were injured.
The next morning the Captain announced that the ship had "hove to" the previous
evening to ride out the storm “for the safety of the ship and for comfort”, and
had slowed to just maintain steerageway. (Many passengers had
also "heaved to") Due
to the delay, the port call at St Johns was cancelled. The barometer had fallen
from 30.2 in to 29.4 in and the storm continued during Friday. Green water
occasionally covered our window on deck 5, and we had to look up to see the tops
of some waves. All outside areas were closed, including the area on deck 14
around the pizza and burger counters. I went up to the Skywalker lounge on deck
17 at the aft end of the ship to have a look. The sea was violent and the ship
was really pitching, but the roll was fairly well stabilized except for a
constant list and occasional sharp rolls which opened drawers and sliding doors.
I took photos and video, but it’s not possible to depict the intensity of the
storm thru images.
At about 0915 Friday the Captain announced the ship was going to turn back to
the SW and try to out run the storm (the Log of the Cruise said this was a
“bold” maneuver). He advised passengers to sit or lie down and make themselves
secure, because the ship might roll violently during the turn across the big
seas. In the event there wasn’t much roll and we soon doing 17 kts and sailing
with the waves. After a few hours the seas were noticeably diminished and the
barometer started rising. During Friday night the winds were 20 to 30 kts.
Saturday morning the barometer was 30.3 in, the sun was shining, the seas were
slight, and the speed 20.5 kts.
Early Sunday morning the wind was a “Fresh Gale” from the SE, it was raining,
and the seas were rough. Ship speed 20 kts with lots of motion.
Monday the weather was fairly clear and we sailed at a comfortable 20.5 kts.
Early Tuesday, November 18, the ship sailed the approach to New York. We sailed
under the Verrazzano Narrows Bridge in darkness and neared the Statue of Liberty
at dawn. The ship docked at the Brooklyn Cruise Terminal on time at 0730.
The Brooklyn Cruise Terminal is not convenient to anything for passengers not
just taking a shuttle
bus to an airport. The Manhattan Cruise Terminal on the Hudson River near
54th Street we visited on a previous cruise is within walking distance of Times
Square and the approach or departure offers spectacular views of the New York
In conclusion, we found the Grand Princess to be a
fine ship with a great crew. The itinerary was spectacular and we would
highly recommend this voyage.