Dream holidays are turning into nightmares. What’s happening on cruise ships? | World News


Dream holidays are turning into nightmares. What’s happening on cruise ships? | World News

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There’s been a series of crazy cruise ship stories in the past year (Picture: Getty)

Stranded passengers, flying furniture and cholera outbreaks – they’re not the kind of things you’d expect from the holiday of a lifetime.

But that’s what passengers on luxury cruise ships have had to put up with in the past year.

In one recent mishap, nine passengers – including four elderly people, a pregnant woman and a person in a wheelchair – were left stranded on the remote African island of São Tomé and Príncipe after their Norwegian Dawn vessel left without them.

With one industry expert telling that the cruise industry is facing ‘major challenges’, here’s all the petrifying times people’s cruise ship holidays turned into nightmares.

Weather chaos

Cruise liners can hardly be blamed for bad weather, but terrifying scenes of passengers clinging on to railings in high-speed winds has left some wondering whether companies should be doing more to protect their customers.

Last summer, passengers on a Royal Caribbean cruise ship in Florida hid in their cabins when a storm suddenly swept through the ship.

Local media including Fox 35 Orlando reported chaotic scenes that looked like the movie Twister.

Winds of more than 45 miles per hour caused chairs and tables to fly through the air.

One passenger shared a video of the horrifying ordeal on TikTok. In the clip, one woman shorts ‘get the kids!’ as people stuck outside race for cover.

The cruise liner said no passengers were harmed.

But passengers on Saga’s Spirit of Discovery in November last year weren’t so lucky.

Passengers were left with broken bones and saw people being resuscitated when 30-foot waves tore into the side of their Saga cruise ship. Picture: Richard Reynolds)

The cruise ship was returning to the UK after a two-week trip around the Canary Islands when it ran into a ferocious storm.

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30 foot waves battered the ship and many passengers said they feared they wouldn’t make it out alive.

One passenger, a 68-year-old British woman, told The Telegraph that everyone was ordered to stay in their cabin.

Choppy waters left rooms in a chaotic state (Picture: Richard Reynolds)

She said: ‘By lunchtime things started to get really unstable. There were crashes of crockery hitting the floor, glasses smashing. Chairs were going over. People on mobility scooters were falling over. It was just absolute chaos.’

Around 100 passengers were injured, including one who was airlifted off the ship to receive urgent medical care.

Cruising crashes

In August last year, a P&O cruise ship docked in a harbour in Mallorca crashed into a freight vessel after it broke free from its moorings.

Winds of 55 miles per hour caused the £473 million ship to drift across the sea.

One woman, who was holidaying on the ship with her partner and two children, told WalesOnline that they heard a sudden bang.

‘We went out onto our balcony and could see debris in the ocean and all the damage to the side of the boat and our lifeboat. The captain said: ‘Everyone to their muster stations, this is not a drill.’ Lots of people were running around looking panicked.’

She added that incident left her ‘bawling [her] eyes out’.

And it’s not the only cruise crash to take place in the last year. 

A cruise ship carrying 140 passengers crashed into a concrete wall in the Danube river in Austria in March, injuring 11 people. 

There were 206 people on board the uxury MV Ocean Explorer (Picture: REUTERS)

And in September 2023, the MV Ocean Explorer ran aground off the coast of Greenland with 206 people on board. The luxury ship was eventually pulled free by a fisheries research vessel, and everyone on board was safe.

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Mystery illnesses

A mysterious illness sparked speculation of a cholera outbreak on board a Norwegian cruise ship in February.

Passengers on the Norwegian Dawn, which had 2,000 passengers and 1,000 crew, showed symptoms of a stomach-related illness after a stop in South Africa.

A cruise holiday can set you back thousands (Picture: Getty Images/iStockphoto)

The ship was given permission to dock in Mauritius and at least 15 people on board were isolated and tested.

‘Despite previous reports and speculations, there were no confirmed cases nor any evidence of cholera on board the vessel,’ a Norwegian Dawn spokesperson said.

A grim outlook for cruise ships

Elaine Warren, founder and CEO of The Family Cruise Companion, tells that the recent mishaps are ‘definitely concerning’.

‘The cruise industry has faced some major challenges this year that have really damaged its reputation in the eyes of the public,’ she says.

‘When you have situations like people being abandoned offshore or outbreaks happening on ships, it calls into question how seriously they’re taking health and safety protocols.

‘That erosion of trust in the brands has made many cruisers hesitant about booking future sailings.’

Lucia Polla, a travel expert specialising in Southern Spain, tells ‘Financially, the impact is already apparent. Major players like Carnival have reported massive losses, share prices have plunged, and heavy discounting just to fill cabins has become commonplace.’

However, Stewart Chiron, an industry expert known as ‘The Cruise Guy’, tells that despite the recent disasters, cruises are still a popular holiday choice.

‘Future bookings, onboard spending are at record levels,’ he says. ‘Cruise ships are sailing at full occupancy and guest satisfaction scores are at historic highs.’

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He adds that passengers missing their ships ‘isn’t a new occurrence nor will it have any negative impact’.

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