A cruise ship vacation is everyone’s dream vacation, especially when getting Sunkissed by the tropical sunlight and enjoying clear seas all night is part of the package. Getting to enjoy the deck and watch whales and other sea creatures from your cabin is a heavenly experience. Cruise ships make news for bad things though. The most common bad news from ships involves people jumping overboard in accidents or suicides. While you pray that your cruise is memorable and most importantly, arrive safely, it doesn’t always end like that. While none of these was as terrible as The Titanic, they are still horrifying experiences that passengers would rather forget.
This was the infamous repeat of the Titanic which occurred on the 13th of January 2012, just three months before the anniversary of the Titanic. The Costa Concordia was on a 7-day cruise around Italy cruising from Civitavecchia towards Savona with 4229 people on board. The ship changed course when it neared the coast of Tuscany and steered closer to the island of Giglio where the ship hit a rock that bore a hole in its haul.
It went from bad to worse as the crew caused the ship to capsize while trying to steer it away from the rocks. The captain got six years for manslaughter after abandoning the ship before all passengers had been evacuated leaving 32 dead and hundreds injured. The captain was apparently trying to entertain his Moldovan girlfriend on the bridge when the accident happened.
The Carnival Triumph
This is the 2013 cruise disaster that was renamed “the poop cruise” because of the conditions the 4000 plus passengers on board faced after the ship caught fire. The Triumph was supposed to cruise for four days off the coast of Mexico, but two days into the journey, the ship lost power and started drifting. With no electricity, water and air conditioning for the 4,000 people on board, the cruise turned into an 8-day nightmare.
People were forced to leave their cabins and sleep on the decks because the corridors were dark and full of poop in hazardous-labelled bags because toilets were not working. The smell was difficult to withstand, but the biggest fear for the passengers was the thought of the 102,000-ton ship sinking in the Gulf of Mexico. When they were finally towed to port, Carnival promised a refund of $500 to each passenger, a free trip back home and credit for their next cruise, if they ever thought of taking one.
The Adventure Hornblower
Whale-watching cruises are one of those vacations everyone considers safe because you aren’t at sea for days and they don’t have 14 floors of dangerous balconies you can slip off of. However, everything has a first time and the Adventure Hornblower had its first in March 2016 when the ship’s throttle got stuck in forward propulsion and wouldn’t turn back. The ship rammed into the walkway at San Diego’s Embarcadero almost injuring other passengers who were waiting for the next trip to see the whales. The passengers on the decks were the worst affected as they were thrown off their chairs by the impact. Luckily, no one died and only 7 injuries were reported out of the 144 people on board.
Explorer of The Seas
Having four to six thousand people crammed on the deck of a floating boat is a perfect environment for spreading diseases. When the Covid 19 Pandemic hit, many cruises were denied entry into ports as they were hotspots for the spread of the pandemic. None of the Covid 19 hotspot cruises was as bad as the 2014 outbreak on Royal Caribbean’s Explorer of The Seas. The ship was supposed to go on a 10-day trip from New Jersey to the US Virgin Islands when people started getting sick midway through the trip. Of the 3052 passengers on board, at least 700 became sick from what was later discovered to be norovirus which causes irritation in the gut and also causes headaches. The “sick cruise” was forced to cut the trip short and return to N.J two days early with all the passengers being quarantined rather than enjoy the seas.
The Celebrity Mercury Norovirus Outbreak
Explorer of the Seas was only the second Royal Caribbean ship to suffer a norovirus outbreak on board in four years. The Celebrity Mercury suffered a similar incident in Feb 2010 while cruising from Charleston S.C to the Caribbean. Nearly a quarter of the ship’s population including the crew suffered from diarrhea and vomiting among other symptoms of the virus causing the ship to go on lockdown. More doctors and nurses were called on board as the quarantined ship cut its cruise short and headed back to the US. Royal Caribbean gave the ailing passengers a free ticket for a cruise but they probably never want to step foot on one again.
The Carnival Valor Traumatic Incident
On Feb, 17, 2022, the Carnival Valor was off the coast of Louisiana while completing its trip from Cozumel, Mexico to New Orleans when the incident happened. A 32-year-old African American woman was restrained by security after an altercation with a man in the hot tub. It was at 12.30PM so everyone was enjoying their afternoon on the deck when the restrained woman leaped from security officers with her arms still restrained.
All the passengers on the 10th deck watched in horror as her body hit the railing and a lifeboat before landing face-first into the water. A passenger threw her a personal floatation device but she didn’t go for it. Everyone was left traumatized as the woman’s lifeless body was left behind by the ship. Search efforts didn’t rescue her and the search was called off 17 hours later.
The Eastern Star Yangtze River Disaster
Cruising the famous Three Gorges is one of China’s most popular cruise dreams. In 2015, the Eastern Star was cruising with over 400 passengers from Nanjing to Chongqing when storms hit it in June. The ship capsized with only 14 of the 450 people on board surviving the ordeal. The ship is believed to have been too heavy to stay afloat amid the storm that hit the river’s course. It went down as China’s worst shipping disaster since the start of Communist rule.
The MSC Opera Crash in Venice
In June 2019, the MSC Opera which had just done its tour of the historical Italian City came to dock at the port. The large ship with passengers on the decks failed to slow down while approaching the sea wall and seemed to accelerate instead. The ship crashed into a smaller river cruise ship named the River Countess which was in the harbour. The panic at the port resulted in five injuries as passengers of the River Countess scampered for the safety of the port. No one died in the incident as most of the boat passengers made it to safety. The ship damaged the river cruiser badly before smashing into the sea wall and nearly crashing into the apartments closest to the port. The captain and crew were later sentenced for negligence and endangering public safety in an Italian court.
The Anthem of The Seas High Winds Scare
From black eyes to recorded farewell messages for family and friends, the passengers on Royal Caribbean’s Anthem of the Seas saw hell in February 2016. Everyone thought the ship would tip over as the storm battered the ship causing furniture and people to go flying. The ship was travelling from New Jersey to the Caribbean when it was hit by a powerful storm with winds as strong as 130MPH. People were thrown off their furniture with some people reporting that they were almost crushed by a wall of glasses at the bar. Other passengers described the experience as being inside a washing machine. The ship had to cut the trip short two days into the cruise and go back to N.J with Royal Caribbean being forced to apologize for the hell the passengers went through and refund everyone’s money.
The Norwegian Sun’s 16 Days of Hell
When boarding a cruise, you pray for calm seas, a good captain and peace on the ship but the last thing you expect is to board a ship that is still under construction. The passengers were only told that some upgrades would be happening on board. They were shocked to discover that there was no end in sight as metal started dropping into rooms and on balconies all over the ship. The passengers had to endure long hours of hammering and scrapping in what everyone called a nightmare cruise.
Have you ever been on a cruise ship? Have you heard of any other incidences involving cruise ships? Do let us know in the comments below.