A cruise liner completing its journey from the Bahamas to Charleston, South Carolina, was battered in its final stretch Friday by a powerful storm, which left glass shattered, hallways flooded, and some passengers praying for relief.
The gargantuan waves and strong winds that rocked the Carnival Sunshine, a 102,853-ton ship with a guest capacity of over 3,000 souls, were resultant of a low-pressure storm system that hit the East Coast over the weekend.
Daniel Taylor, a passenger aboard the vessel, told the Daily Mail that around 4:30 p.m. on Friday, the ship sailed into choppy waters, prompting the captain to both issue an advisory about adverse weather conditions and warn of a possible delay.
“He said that the staff would do everything they could to minimize discomfort,” said Taylor. “I went to a show in the Liquid Lounge at the front of the ship at that time. … The sound of us crashing into the swells could be heard over the music playing.”
Taylor’s intended distraction at the lounge served only to highlight the intensity of the storm.
“Stage lights mounted on the ceiling began to shake, the disco ball started swinging, and the LED wall on the stage … began rolling side by side on its own,” added Taylor.
Sharon Tutrone, a professor at Coastal Carolina University who was a passenger on the battered ship, noted on Twitter that the Sunshine spent “11 hours pitching, diving, and rolling,” all the while surrounded by lightning.
Tutrone added that at one point, “the ship took a huge hit by a wave and sounded like it split in two.”
The situation reportedly continued to deteriorate into the night, with only sporadic updates from the crew as water began pouring from the ceilings and into the hallways.
WCIV reported that passenger Christa Seifert-alicea said the silence from crew members amid the dark and rocking was the “worst part.”
“What we endured is indescribable, not only to feel it yourself but to hear and see it set in on every single person around you from adult, child, and the elderly is something I will never forget,” said Seifert-alicea.
Videos shared online by various passengers show the ominous weather that delayed the ship’s return as well as the damage wrought within the vessel.
The Daily Mail reported that minor injuries were sustained and one person aboard indicated, “You could smell people being sick walking down the halls.”
Vomit ejected by the panic-stricken was not the only thing racing down the halls during the ship’s Odyssean thrashing.
One video of a lower deck shows debris, broken doors, and waste traveling down one hallway on a surge of water:
Passenger Brenda Shobert wrote on Facebook, “We had a 40 foot wave hit our side of the ship,.. we almost fell out the bed.. things were crashing all around us and the carpet on my side of the bed was soaked bc water came in thru our balcony door.”
The cruise line said in a statement to Fox Weather, “Carnival Sunshine’s return to Charleston was impacted by the weather and rough seas on Saturday. The weather’s prolonged impact on the Charleston area delayed the ship’s arrival on Sunday and as a result, the next voyage’s embarkation was also delayed. We appreciate the patience and understanding of all our guests.”
Carnival added, “The weather and rough surf led to some crew cabins being temporarily taken out of service while we clean up water damage. All the public areas of the ship are open and in service and Carnival Sunshine is currently operating its next cruise, a five-day Bahamas sailing.”
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