Carnival Cruise Line wants to set the record straight about its tilting ship.
The Carnival Sunshine left Port Canaveral on Sunday, Oct. 28, for a five-day trip to the Caribbean but hit a bump along the way. Out of nowhere, the ship started tilting and passengers started panicking.
“On Sunday evening, Carnival Sunshine experienced a technical issue which caused the ship to list for approximately one minute,” Carnival explained in a statement to Yahoo Lifestyle.
Videos and photos taken by passengers show the inside of the ship as it tilted to one side.
This is the inside of the Carnival Sunshine cruise ship on Sunday evening. @CarnivalCruise says the ship listed (tilted or leaned) because of a technical issue just hours after leaving @PortCanaveral.
(H/t to David Crews for the pictures) pic.twitter.com/usSaQsZBzG
— Clay LePard (@ClayLePard) October 31, 2018
“I didn’t think anything of it, since it’s not uncommon for ships to rock back and forth. But it didn’t rock back. It kept leaning,” passenger David Crews told local Orlando, Fla., station WKRG. “Plates and silverware started sliding off the tables. Then the tables themselves started to slide. Glasses and plates started to fall and shatter. At this point, it was pure chaos. Screams. Cries. Panic.”
Another passenger described it as the “scariest experience.” According to guests, water started seeping into the ship. “We were actually at the table where the window broke and the water came in,” a passenger recalled to local Orlando news station WFTV. She said they were sitting down for dinner around 8:15 or 8:45 p.m. when “next thing we know, the whole boat tilted … we were literally hanging on for our lives, dangling … it was really like a scene from the Titanic.”
Passengers described seeing glasses, plates, and bottles flying past them. “[We went] down to our room and got our life jackets and literally carried them around the rest of the night … that’s how scared we were, every time you felt the boat move you were like, oh, crap, is it happening again?” another upset guest told WFTV.
Passenger Kyla Williams told the local news station that she was falling out of her seat. Other guests took to Twitter to express their concerns. One woman explained that she hurt her back when the ship listed and wasn’t able to partake in any excursions the next day because of the pain. A representative for the cruise line confirmed that there were “some minor injuries.”
@CarnivalCruise get me off this ship Carnival Sunshine. We just listed so bad that I am not comfortable being in this shop anymore. Water ran out if the pools glasses shattered in my room and drink spilled in my suitcase!
— Connie Calvert (@concal) October 29, 2018
I hurt my back when the ship listed and wasn’t able to do any excursions today. And why does the ship now have a new captain?!
— Connie Calvert (@concal) October 30, 2018
My sister and brother in law are on the ship. She cut her foot on the broken glass and had to get stitches. My mom is a mess and so worried about her!
— Whitney Farrar (@whit_farrar) October 29, 2018
Another guest tweeted that people were having “anxiety attacks” and children on board were crying. “I’ve been cruising since 1998 and never had an experience like that before,” he wrote.
@CarnivalCruise Last night was a very scary experience on the Sunshine. The starboard side literally felt like it lifted. I was in the dining room on 3. All the tables slid and fell over, glass falling and breaking. People screaming. And all we get is, ‘It’s being investigated’
— DaviesGravey (@Daviesgravey) October 29, 2018
@CarnivalCruise There were people everywhere crying, having anxiety attacks. Children crying. I’ve been cruising since 1998 and never had an experience like that before. All we want to know is… WHAT HAPPENED? We don’t feel safe. And deserve an explanation.
— DaviesGravey (@Daviesgravey) October 29, 2018
While the shift left guests shaken, the cruise line promised there was never anything to fear. “There was never any issue with the safe operation of the ship and our officers quickly intervened to correct the situation,” the statement reads.
The day after the incident, guests received a note from the captain explaining what happened. “We have identified that an electrical switchboard malfunction impacted the use of the fin stabilizers,” it read. “It’s important to note that fin stabilizers are not a safety feature; they are deployed solely for guest comfort to minimize any potential ship motion while at sea. There was never any issue with the safe operation of the ship, and our officers quickly intervened to correct the situation.”
The line also offered each guest a $50 credit.
“Following the incident, evening events resumed for our guests and the ship proceeded on its Caribbean cruise as scheduled,” the company told Yahoo Lifestyle. Carnival provided photos that show the ship fully functioning once it balanced out. “The ship remains fully operational and will sail as scheduled on Friday, Nov. 2. We remain confident of the safety of the ship as we are committed to the safety of our guests and crew.”
However, not everyone was convinced, and many decided to disembark after the incident. “There were more than 3,000 passengers on board, and we had a small number of guests who requested to be disembarked and to return home when the ship reached Amber Cove on Tuesday, consistent with our Great Vacation Guarantee. We honored all requests,” Carnival told Yahoo Lifestyle.
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