USA Today – reports about 300 passengers were left behind in San Juan Sunday when approaching Hurricane Irene forced the ship to depart the island early. But unlike Royal Caribbean, which faced a similar problem, Carnival put all the passengers up in hotels and offered to fly them to the next port. In both cases, the cruise lines learned early Sunday afternoon that due to the approaching storm, harbor traffic would be limited. Two ships, Royal Caribbean’s Serenade of the Seas and Carnival’s Victory, were scheduled to start seven-day cruises that evening, and officials decided to leave early. Serenade of the Seas left at 5:30 p.m., three hours early. Victory left at 6 p.m., four hours early. Carnival provided hotel rooms for two nights to all the guests left behind, and offered to fly them to the next port, Barbados, on Wednesday. About half of the passengers took them up on the offer. Most of the others didn’t have a passport and couldn’t continue because the next port was in a foreign country. Although cruise lines urge passengers to bring passports, they are not required for sailing from Puerto Rico, a U.S. territory.