New video shows cruise ship rocked by rough seas

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A warning, a watch and 6 advisories in effect for 4 regions in the area

Cruise ship passengers left terrified after ship sails through rough seas, guests aboard carnival sunshine post videos on social media.

The Associated Press

Associated Press

CHARLESTON, S.C. – A cruise ship that navigated rough seas off the South Carolina coast over the Memorial Day weekend has resumed sailing on its next cruise, Carnival Cruise Lines said Monday.

Terrified passengers on the Carnival Sunshine took to social media to post video of water pouring through a flooded hallway on a cabin level and pictures of on-board stores in shambles, with merchandise strewn about on the floor as large waves swelled on the sea.

Passenger Daniel Taylor said the crew “left us blind, not reassuring us what was going on, where we were heading to, what the plan was," WCIV-TV reported .

"They could have updated us and let us know something,” he said.

The Carnival Sunshine's return to Charleston, South Carolina, from the Bahamas on Saturday was delayed by prolonged bad weather and rough seas in the area, the Miami-based company said in a statement to The Associated Press on Monday. The vessel's next cruise scheduled to leave Charleston this weekend was delayed, but is now sailing, the statement said.

No serious injuries were reported.

“We appreciate the patience and understanding of all our guests,” Carnival said.

Copyright 2023 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.


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Video: Why Cruise Ships Don’t Tip Over Even In Rough Seas

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Ah! A majestic Snow White cruise ship looks like a piece of art. It’s a city in itself with cafes, stores, swimming pools, gyms and a water park. Everything from its impressive size to the number of passengers on board leaves unprepared observers speechless.

The biggest mystery for some people is how does that big guy stay afloat and avoid Keeling over? Well, imagine something as large as the Empire State Building in length and 10 giraffes both in width and in height. The weight of the biggest cruise ships can equal the weight of 2000 Blue Whales piled on top of each other. One of the world’s largest cruise ship can transport almost 7000 passengers and more than 2000 crew members.

Cruise ships are surprisingly well prepared for all the bad weather one can expect out at sea. They’re designed to handle even severe storms during the hurricane season. Before construction, the naval architects make a ship scale model and put it through all kinds of extreme weather simulations. This way they check how the future full size vessel will react in any given situation.

Coming back to our question that how cruise ships manage to stay upright and afloat in almost any weather? Do they probably have a massive and heavy underwater part that helps them to keep the balance? Not at all. Cruise ships have narrow and wide bottom surfaces. Usually no more than 30 feet (9.1 metres) of a vessel sits under the water, which is only about 10% of the ship’s overall height. These vessels are massive, and incredibly heavy.

Keep in mind that a cruise ship carries not only its own way, but also the weight of at least several thousand passengers and crew members, all their luggage, food, furniture, swimming pools filled with water elevators and a whole lot of entertainment. But even loaded with all this hefty cargo, a vessel is still filled with air, which makes it buoyant-capable of floating.

Buoyancy is tightly linked with how dense the object is. If it’s denser than water, like a stone, it will sink otherwise it will stay on the surface. Now one more thing, if you put a floating object on the surface of the water, it will make the water push upward against it. This pressure is what keeps the object from sinking. The only difference between a cruise ship and a piece of wood is that the vessel sits in the water way, way lower than the wood because of its immense weight.

It doesn’t explain why cruise ships don’t tip over, though. If you look at a cruise ship’s hull, you’ll notice its unusual shape. It’s wide and rounded. This helps the vessel to move smoothly and with minimal drag. That’s a force which slows a ship down. Round edges also increase the ship stability, preventing the vessel from swaying and rocking and passengers- from feeling seasick.

Even though a cruise ship towers above the surface, its centre of gravity is far below the waterline. The heaviest equipment, engines, tanks with fuel drinking water and waste, all of this is at the very bottom of the ship on the lowest decks. And that’s not all. Among these bulky tanks and containers, there’s something crucial for the ship’s balance, ballast tanks. They contain water that can be pumped from one side of the ship or the other. In case of an emergency or rough seas, it helps to keep the ship balanced, counter the waves and reduce rocking. A large cruise ship usually has several ballast tanks.

So buoyancy, low centre of gravity, and ballast keep a cruise ship stable , but there is one natural phenomenon that can still put this vessel at risk. And it’s not wind . Surprisingly, experts say that no wind can be strong enough to cause a ship to turn over. The danger is rogue waves . These are the waves that can be twice as tall as others and come from any direction. They appear out of nowhere, and no one can predict when and where they will pop up. It’s a good thing Rogue waves are extremely rare, and chances that a cruise ship will meet one are really low.

Sometimes, a cruise ship doesn’t manage to dodge a storm and has to force its way through the waves. If that happens, the most important thing is to keep the ship’s front (the bow) pointed into the waves. For onlookers, the view will be terrifying, giant waves rising right in front of the bow. But seamen know that only this way the ship can plow through the waves safely.

A wave crashing against the side of the ship is way more dangerous because they can easily turn the vessel over. Cruise ships are equipped with special stabilisers that prevent them from tilting to one side too much, but they don’t help with pitching- front to back movements. For this purpose. cruise ships have long and narrow bows that help them cut through the waves more effectively. Combined, stabilisers and long bows help cruise ships to weather even powerful storms.

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Do cruise ships ever encounter rough seas?

October 4, 2023 | Travel Pedia

Which cruises have the roughest seas?

  • 1) Caribbean Ocean. ...
  • 2) North Atlantic has a Reputation as a Tough Cruising Region. ...
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Terrifying video shows a storm flooding decks and hallways of a Carnival Sunshine cruise ship leaving passengers seasick

  • Terrifying videos show a coastal storm flooded the Carnival Sunshine cruise ship over the weekend. 
  • Passengers told WCIV about "horrific" conditions and not hearing updates from crew for over 12 hours.
  • Carnival Cruise Line said the storm delayed the ship's arrival to Charleston. 

Insider Today

It's a cruise ship passenger's worst nightmare: Rough coastal storms hit the Carnival Sunshine cruise ship over the weekend, flooding some decks of the vessel and delaying its return to port. 

According to Fox Weather , a powerful storm off the southeastern coast of the US hit the Sunshine as it returned from a Memorial Day weekend trip to the Bahamas. The large waves, heavy rain, and strong winds rocked the ship, leaving some passengers sick and terrified.

One video shared online showed heavy damage along some of the decks of the ship. Hallways were flooded and debris was strewn about everywhere. 

—Crew Center (@CrewCenter) May 28, 2023

One passenger posted a video of the interior of a cabin as the storm pounded the ship, adding that guests had been evacuated from one of the bars after over 30 liquor bottles fell off the bar and broke. 

—FlyersCaptain™®© (@flyerscaptain) May 29, 2023

Some Carnival Sunshine guests reported feeling sick during the storm, according to WCIV-TV . Others, including passengers Christa Seifert-alicea and Daniel Taylor, told WCIV-TV that they didn't receive communication or updates on the storm from the Sunshine's crew for over 12 hours. 

"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," Seifert-alicea told WCIV-TV.

One video posted on Twitter showed the aftermath of the storm on Sunday morning.

Carnival Cruise Line told Insider in a statement that the ship'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 and as a result, the next voyage's embarkation was also delayed. We appreciate the patience and understanding of all our guests. Carnival Sunshine is now sailing on its next cruise," the statement read. 

cruise ship in rough seas 2020

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Rough waters cause scare aboard Carnival cruise

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Passengers aboard the Carnival Sunshine cruise ship who thought they were in for a leisurely end to their vacation instead experienced a nightmarish voyage back to port over the Memorial Day weekend.

A strong storm churning off the coast of the Carolinas unleashed powerful wind gusts of up to 60 mph and turbulent seas on Saturday, May 27, with huge waves pounding the ship as it tried to make its way back from the Bahamas to Charleston, South Carolina. The stormy weather caused extensive flooding and damage inside the vessel -- throughout hallways, cabins and recreation areas -- and broken glass strewn about.

The aftermath aboard Carnival Sunshine after a severe storm. The crew from Deck 0-4 evacuated to the theater, and anywhere they could rest... the crew bar destroyed. — Crew Center (@CrewCenter) May 28, 2023

Video shared by passenger Brad Morrell from the deck showed dark clouds looming and white caps on the choppy ocean, according to Storyful. The footage was filmed outside Morrell's 12th deck room on the ship while it was off the coast of Charleston. Morrell was one of about 3,000 passengers onboard the Carnival Sunshine.

Several other passengers also posted videos and photos describing the harrowing and terrifying ordeal and conditions they endured as the ship maneuvered through the waters. RJ Whited and his fiancé, Tracy, told ABC News 4 that she was advised to quarantine in their room because she was feeling ill. While in her room recovering, the ship began to shake.

"It was shaking us so violently," Whited told the TV station.

Fear and confusion spread among passengers as the ship continued to shake and rock along the rough seas without any communication from the crew. Passenger Christa Seifert-alicea said it took over 12 hours for the crew to communicate what was going on.

Some passengers criticized the cruise line for allowing the ship to be sailed into such extreme weather.

"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," Seifert-alicea told ABC News 4.

A buoy situated well off the coast of Charleston was reporting wind gusts of around 50 mph into the morning hours of May 27, according to AccuWeather data. The gusts got stronger, increasing to about 60 mph later in the day, with sustained winds of about 40 mph. The towering waves reached up to 18 feet in the morning as the center of the storm passed just to the west of the ship and buoy.

"The ship likely remained in the strongest part of the storm through its arrival in port in Charleston during the day on the 27th," said AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Alyson Hoegg.

Ship passenger Sharon Tutrone said "we sailed right into it" and those on board "spent 11 hours pitching, diving, and rolling. We were surrounded by lightning and the ship took a huge hit by a wave and sounded like it split in two."

Other passengers, such as Daniel Taylor, echoed the travelers' fears of not knowing what was happening with the ship.

"They're not reassuring us, not telling us what was going on, they could've updated us and let us know something," Taylor told ABC News 4.

I am onboard and it was a heck of a night. Broken bottles in the piano bar last night. And us ushered to our rooms. It was pretty crazy. 75 mph winds. Almost in port now. — FlyersCaptain™®© (@flyerscaptain) May 27, 2023

According to Tutrone, the only time the passengers heard from the captain was on Friday afternoon, when he announced that the ship would arrive late to port on Saturday due to the storm, according to Tutrone . The captain assured passengers that he had an "experienced crew" that would "minimize discomfort" as they encountered the rough seas, Tutrone wrote on Twitter.

Carnival said that passengers were safe during the trip back to port, according to a statement released to ABC News 4:

"Guests on board the ship were safe. Our medical staff helped a small number of guests and crew members who needed minor assistance... We appreciate the patience and understanding of all our guests," the statement read.

The ship eventually reached shore, docking around 5 p.m. ET Saturday.

Passengers took to social media, sharing they spent 12 to 14 hours enduring the rough seas before the ship finally made it to port.

"After 14 hours of high winds, rain and massive waves. The ship took a hit from a wave that sounded like the ship split in two," said Tutrone . "The Carnival Sunshine is finally in Charleston."

AccuWeather forecasters had been monitoring the storm's development days in advance due to the possibility that it could become a tropical or subtropical system. At least one meteorologist said on Twitter that he thought the storm looked to be subtropical on Sunday .

Want next-level safety, ad-free? Unlock advanced, hyperlocal severe weather alerts when you subscribe to Premium+ on the AccuWeather app . AccuWeather Alerts ™ are prompted by our expert meteorologists who monitor and analyze dangerous weather risks 24/7 to keep you and your family safer.

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