Tsunami delays Carnival Cruise ship in San Diego - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Tsunami delays Carnival Cruise ship in San Diego

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SAN DIEGO (CBS 8) - A cruise ship just off the coast of San Diego was delayed Friday because of the tsunami in Japan.

The captain of the Carnival spirit reportedly said it was too dangerous to dock. The ship was actually supposed to dock at 8 a.m., but because of the tsunami alert and thick fog, it didn't pull into San Diego until nearly 11 a.m.

Former News 8 reporter M.G. Perez was one of 2,500 passengers on board the Carnival Spirit cruise ship when the vessels captain explained why they would stay on the open sea off Imperial Beach for several hours rather than heading into San Diego Bay's port.

Perez, who was on his first cruise, snapped pictures of fellow passengers waiting out the delay in a lounge on the vessel's lido deck and also in a movie theater where they could watch TV reports on the tsunami and Japan earthquake that triggered it.

"There was a moment there where we weren't sure, because they took us back out and then we just sat there and it was like, are we going home, are we not going home? Are we sitting here for this huge wave that's coming? And the captain tried to reassure us it was the safest place to be in a tsunami," Perez said.

Cruise line officials thought it was the best to put off the port docking in an abundance of caution acting in the interest of safety. When it finally made it into the Harbor Drive terminal, the pilot elected to execute a couple of rare moves.

"They put out a couple more lines to secure the vessel to the pier. They've also dropped anchor, which is not the normal course of business when you come into San Diego Bay," Port of San Diego spokesman Ron Powell said.

Ramona resident Michelle Wrenn couldn't wait to hug her two boys Matthew and Mason, who were on the cruise with her parents Harlan and Lynn. They were grateful the tsunami didn't reach their boat.

"It's a part of being out at sea I guess," Harlan Malone siad.

"Thank god it didn't come here. But at least they had enough warning that if it did, we wouldn't have been in port," Lynn Malone said.

Normally the Spirit would be leaving San Diego for its next voyage at 4 p.m., but it was still docked as of late Friday afternoon. Cruise line officials expect to be departing sometime between 6 p.m. and 7 p.m. Friday.

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