'I really thought I wasn't going to make it back': Carnival cruise ship rocked by weather

A Carnival Cruise Line ship was rocked by rough weather on its way back to the U.S. over the weekend. Carnival Sunshine had been sailing on a round-trip Bahamas cruise from Charleston, South Carolina, when it got delayed ahead of its return Saturday.

“It felt like it was tilting all the way to one side at one point,” said Kathleen Meenan, a passenger who went on the cruise with her husband for their wedding anniversary. “I really thought I wasn't going to make it back to shore.”

Meenan, a 26-year-old social media strategist based in Charlotte, North Carolina, has been on several other cruises and said she is used to rocking in the waves but likened the sounds to the ship “being attacked.”

“It was shaking us so violently,” RJ Whited, another guest, told Charleston’s WCIV.

“The weather was unexpectedly strong, causing conditions that were rougher than forecasted,” a Carnival spokesperson said in an email. “Given the circumstances as they were, the ship’s officers and our Fleet Operations Center team coordinated to keep the ship in its safest location. Attempting to sail out of the large front could have been dangerous.”

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The spokesperson said the ship went on to the port as soon as the weather started to clear. The ship’s arrival in Charleston was delayed, as was embarkation for the vessel’s following sailing. “We appreciate the patience and understanding of all our guests,” they said. The ship is currently on a five-day Bahamas sailing and will return to Charleston on Thursday.

Meenan said the crew announced that they were heading into some rough weather on Friday afternoon, advising them to hold onto handrails and warning of a potential delay, but did not communicate further until the following morning. “It felt like just being trapped,” she said.

The cruise line’s spokesperson said the captain “made several announcements about the weather and the delay it caused in returning to Charleston, asking guests to use extra precaution while walking around the ship.”

“Some of the worst weather occurred in the overnight hours when announcements are not typically made, but guests and crew were safe,” the spokesperson added. “The ship’s officers worked through the night to minimize discomfort as much as possible from the added movement caused by the rough ocean.”

Meenan also noted that the crew worked hard to make the remainder of the sailing pleasant for passengers. “Even the next day, they all had smiles on their faces and tried their best to make it a nice day for us,” she said.

While she said she will cruise again, it may take some time. “I think that it’s going to be a while,” Meenan said.

Nathan Diller is a consumer travel reporter for USA TODAY based in Nashville. You can reach him at ndiller@usatoday.com.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Watch: Carnival Cruise Line ship rocked by rough weather