The Crystal Symphony, a cruise ship from Crystal Cruises, sailed to the Bahamas instead of its original destination, Miami, after a US judge granted an order to seize the vessel as part of a lawsuit over unpaid fuel.
Cruise trackers show that the cruise ship has docked in the Bahamian Island of Bimini.
Passengers were taken by ferry to Port Everglades in Fort Lauderdale on Sunday.
“We all feel we were abducted by luxurious pirates!” passenger Stephen Heard Fales posted on Facebook.
There’s conflicting evidence on how many passengers were on board. Fortune reports that there are at least 300 passengers on board, while The Daily Mail reported 700. According to the company’s website, the vessel can carry up to 848 passengers.
The ship was meant to wrap up its Caribbean voyage in Miami on Saturday, but a federal judge issued an arrest warrant for the ship on Thursday, a maritime practice where a US Marshal goes aboard the vessel and takes charge of it once it enters US waters.
Passengers and entertainers on board said on social media that they were surprised to find out about the legal case.
A guest posted a letter on Facebook from Crystal Cruises Management that said the change in course direction was due to “non-technical operational issues”.
The lawsuit was filed by Peninsula Petroleum Far East in a Miami federal court against the ship under a maritime procedure that allows actions against vessels for unpaid debts.
Travel Weekly reached out to Crystal Cruises for a comment however they did not respond.
The suit said that Crystal Cruises and Star Cruises, which chartered or managed Crystal Cruises, are both in breach of contract for owing $4.6 million in fuel.
Crystal Symphony’s diversion comes after Crystal Cruises announced last week that it would temporarily suspend operations and take time to “evaluate the current state of business and examine various options going forward”.
This followed the parent company of Crystal Cruises, Genting Hong Kong, making the announcement that it has filed to wind up its business after running out of cash.