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Royal Caribbean ship damaged in storm expected to return to New Jersey port Wednesday

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BAYONNE, N.J. – It was a vacation nightmare but passengers aboard the Royal Caribbean's  Anthem of the Seas are expected to return to shore in New Jersey Wednesday night.

The more than 4,500 guests and 1,600 crew members are grateful to be alive and counting the minutes until they get on dry land. Much different than days ago when they were experiencing 30-foot waves and 100 mile per hour winds, causing the ship to shake and flinging passengers' belongings all-around.

"The first thing I do when I get there [on land] is kiss the ground," one passenger told PIX11 via Skype.

How was the ship allowed to sail when meteorologists were predicting a storm in the area four days earlier?

While the ship's captain admitted they were caught off guard, lawmakers are calling for a federal investigation.

Fortunately for the vacation goers, they will receive a full refund and a certificate toward a future cruise, and guests now have free Internet access and a complimentary cocktail hour, according to a spokesperson with the cruise line.