Not even The Apprentice‘s recently fired crybaby contestant Chris Shelton could have created a tempest this size. On Saturday morning, Norwegian Cruise Lines’ ship Norwegian Dawn sailed into storm that sent a 70-foot wave crashing into the bow, flooding 62 staterooms, injuring four passengers, and necessitating a day-long stop in Charleston, S.C., for repairs. Turns out the Dawn had changed its itinerary hoping to get in to New York five hours earlier than scheduled for a product-placement deal for the ship on The Apprentice. Instead, because of storm damage, the Dawn didn’t arrive in New York until Monday. ”We would love to have had them, but obviously they weren’t able to make it,” Donald Trump told the New York Post.
According to the Bergen, N.J., Record, passengers were informed by letter after the ship set sail that a stop in Nassau, the Bahamas, had been canceled so that the Dawn could dock in New York at 5 a.m. Sunday instead of 10 a.m. ”because of a special event happening onboard the ship that day.” That event was supposed to be an 8 a.m. shoot of the NBC reality competition. According to the Post, Norwegian had paid $1 million for the appearance. ”They wanted to be on The Apprentice because it’s such a hot show,” a source close to the series told the paper.
Some passengers wondered if the ship’s crew had dared to brave the storm in order to make the shoot. ”Weather happens. We could have hit that storm anyway,” passenger Noah Puckowitz told the Record. ”But they shouldn’t put people in harm’s way for any reason.”
In interviews with both the Post and the Record, Norwegian spokeswoman Susan Robison denied that the captain chose not to wait out the storm in order to hurry to the Apprentice shoot. ”The captain acted completely appropriately, with his No.1 interest being the safety of the passengers and crew,” she told the Post. ”We were not rushing anywhere.”