Carnival's Sunshine Ran Into Anything But

Cruise ship on its way back to Charleston, SC, was battered by high seas
By Polly Davis Doig,  Newser Staff
Posted May 30, 2023 11:20 AM CDT

If you've ever taken a cruise and enjoyed buffets, deck-top pools, night-time entertainment, quaint ports-of-call, and sunshine, well, don't talk to the passengers aboard the Carnival Sunshine who were returning from the Bahamas to Charleston, South Carolina, this weekend. The ship, which can carry upward of 4,000 souls, ran into some serious weather on its way home and hit high seas strong enough to crack windows, knock luggage and bottles of booze off their shelves, and flood hallways. Passengers describe it thusly, per CNN and CBS:

  • "It was terrifying," says William Blackburn, a first-time cruise passenger. "[We] discussed the fact that it would be very unlikely to survive in the water even with life jackets and doubted that life boats could even be launched in those conditions."
  • Bill Hassler said he's "surprised I'm still alive... Why would you sail into this storm with 80-miles-per-hour-plus winds, I mean who does that? What were they thinking?"
  • Sharon Tutrone tweeted, "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."

Passengers shot video, as they were able, and the videos capture objects floating in hallways, howling winds, and very high waves. Carnival reacted, saying, "Carnival Sunshine’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 on Sunday and as a result, the next voyage’s embarkation was also delayed." Per Insider, which notes that passengers evacuated a bar after more than 30 bottles of liquor tumbled off the shelves, there's more video here. (Read more Carnival Cruise Lines stories.)

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