A vacation dream turned into a nightmare after torrential downpours flooded some Carnival Cruise Line passengers over the weekend.
The Carnival Sunshine was returning to Charleston Saturday after a six-day voyage to the Bahamas when the ship was hit by a storm. Torrential rain flooded the ship’s corridors and rough seas made some passengers sick.
“You could smell people walking down the hall sick,” one passenger told daily mail.
Carnival representatives said all passengers were safe in the incident.
“Carnival Sunshine’s return to Charleston was affected by weather and rough seas on Saturday. Guests on board are safe. Our medical staff assisted a small number of guests and crew who required minor assistance,” the company told WCIV. “The long-term effects of weather in the Charleston area delayed the arrival of ships on Sunday and, as a result, boarding for the next cruise has also been delayed. We thank all guests for their patience and understanding.”
Some guests who have experienced sailing seem more frustrated than patient.
“We didn’t wait for it to end. We drove straight into (the storm) and spent 11 hours pitching, diving and rolling,” Sharon Tutrone, a professor at Coastal Carolina University and a passenger on the Carnival Sunshine, tweeted said. “We were surrounded by lightning, the boat was hit by a huge wave and it sounded like it was split in two.”
In a follow-up tweet, she tagged Carnival and suggested “Maybe you should put a pilot on board so we don’t have to sit adrift and wait 6 hours.”
Photos from the ship showed water rushing down corridors and stairwells and the ship’s shops looking as if they had been looted by the force of the storm.
Another traveler, Daniel Taylor, told daily mail Shortly after the captain announced the ship would be sailing in rough weather, he visited one of the ship’s performance venues.
He recalls hearing the sound of a boat crashing into a huge wave in the music.
“The ceiling-mounted stage lights started to shake, the disco ball started to swing, and the LED wall on the stage,” he estimates to be about 20 feet wide and 3 feet high, “started rolling side by side by itself.”
By 8 p.m. Friday, crew members began evacuating public decks. Passengers lost their internet connection and were unable to check the weather themselves during Friday and Saturday nights.
According to reports, at 7:30 the next morning, the cruise director confirmed to passengers that the ship was in port but needed to wait to dock.
The ship finally docked again at 5.30pm on Saturday night, about nine hours behind schedule.