It was indeed a terrifying experience for passengers aboard the Carnival Sunshine cruise ship when it encountered a storm on its way back to Charleston, S.C. The storm caused torrential rains and rough seas, resulting in flooded hallways and furniture being tossed around inside the ship.
The ship’s return to port was delayed by about nine hours due to the weather conditions. Passengers on board captured videos and photos that showed water flooding through the hallways, debris scattered in retail areas, broken glass, doors knocked off their frames, and large waves crashing against the vessel.
The situation was described as terrifying by one passenger, who sought shelter in their cabin and prayed for safety. There were concerns among passengers about the possibility of surviving in the water or launching lifeboats in such severe conditions. Sharon Tutrone, a passenger and professor at Coastal Carolina University, shared on Twitter that the ship did not wait out the storm but sailed directly into it, enduring 11 hours of pitching, diving, and rolling.
The ordeal lasted for 14 hours, and there was a moment when a wave hit the ship with a sound that resembled the vessel splitting in two, according to Tutrone. Another passenger, Daniel Taylor, mentioned that after the captain announced they would be navigating through the storm, he witnessed stage lights shaking, the disco ball swinging, and the LED wall on the stage rolling on its own.
Carnival Cruise Line stated that the weather and rough surf caused temporary damage to some crew cabins, but all public areas of the ship remained open and operational. The Carnival Sunshine continued its next cruise, a five-day Bahamas sailing, after addressing the water damage and cleaning up the affected areas.