Royal Caribbean cruise ship thrashed by storm returning on Wednesday

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(Reuters) -- A Royal Caribbean cruise ship forced to turn back early after being battered by an Atlantic storm was expected to return to its New Jersey port at 9 p.m. on Wednesday (0200 GMT Thursday), bringing with it 4,500 rattled guests and 1,600 crew, cruise line officials said.

EARLIER: Insane passenger footage captures cruise ship being rocked by hurricane-force winds

The Anthem of the Seas ship departed Saturday for what was supposed to have been a seven-night cruise. On Sunday it encountered a storm with high winds and 30-foot (9 meter) waves off Cape Hatteras, North Carolina.

See more of the damage in the gallery below:

6 PHOTOS
Storm hits Royal Caribbean Anthem of the Seas
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Royal Caribbean cruise ship thrashed by storm returning on Wednesday
Deck 14 needs some work... #anthemoftheaeas https://t.co/oBn5Q862qs
Don't think I've ever missed land this much. In other news, wish I took those swimming lessons... #anthemoftheseas #royalcarribean
Things are a little out of place #anthemoftheseas https://t.co/Z3B4wfu0P8
...and some more. #anthemoftheseas #overthis #rocktheboat https://t.co/pvBjYa6CrM
just a little bit of the damage so far. boat is still rocking. #anthemoftheseas #overthis #150mphwinds #rocktheboat https://t.co/veRMtGzBbE
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At least four people suffered minor injuries as the rocky ride toppled furniture, collapsed ceilings and shattered glass on the vessel. Passengers posted images and video to social media of rough seas and cabin rooms in disarray.

Royal Caribbean said the storm was more severe than expected.

The company said in a statement that the ship's operation was not affected but concerns about more rough weather prompted the decision to return to Cape Liberty, New Jersey, rather than continue on to Port Canaveral, Florida.

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