CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) — A passenger is recalling her “terrifying” experience aboard a Carnival cruise ship after it was stuck at sea during a Memorial Day weekend storm.
The Carnival Sunshine was returning to port in Charleston, South Carolina from the Bahamas when it was rocked by a coastal storm that generated damaging winds and high surf.
A Myrtle Beach woman said she was “scared for her life” during the hourslong ordeal, which began around 8:00 p.m. on Friday.
“The ship took a hit from a wave about 11:00 at night,” Sharon Tutrone said. “The wave hit on our side of the ship – we were on the right side of the ship – and that wave pushed the ship to the left where I thought we were going to capsize.”
Tutrone, who was taking a celebratory trip with her mother after beating breast cancer, said the entire experience was “terrifying.”
“Going through cancer was scary, but being on that ship during that storm, that was about 30 times scarier for me,” she said. “I was like ‘No, I did not just fight seven months of my life against a disease to go out this way.'”
She said her eleventh-floor cabin took on water from the balcony and recalled items crashing down around them as the ship was battered by strong winds and waves.
“Everything in our cabin went flying off the table,” she said. “The wine glasses, the ice bucket, the TV completely turned around. My mom and I were literally walking sideways to pick the stuff up.”
Videos posted to social media showed heavy damage on the exterior of the ship and flooded hallways. As the ship moved, water sloshed back and forth down the hallway, carrying mugs and other items that could be heard caroming off of pipes, two detached doors, a large drum and other debris.
Passengers were reportedly told that the ship would be arriving later than expected on Saturday and that bad weather conditions were expected. However, Tutrone said the Sunshine crew did not provide a lot of communication or updates throughout the night.
“Carnival to me, personally, they really dropped the ball,” Tutrone said. “You know they needed to be more transparent with us. They need to hold themselves accountable as to how they handled this.”
The Associated Press said no serious injuries were reported.
The ship docked in Charleston around 5:00 p.m. on Saturday, according to reports.
Nexstar’s WCBD has reached out to Carnival Cruise Line for comment but is still awaiting a response due to the holiday.