A cruise ship was flooded and passengers evacuated after it sailed directly into a storm pounding the coast of South Carolina.
Passengers aboard the Carnival Sunshine posted videos showing flooded hallways, downed pipes and toppled doors as the ship prepared to dock in Charleston on Saturday.
Crew members were forced to evacuate their rooms, while several passengers complained they were starting to feel sick during the ‘nightmare’ voyage as they awaited communication from the captain.
The dangerous journey came as the National Weather Service warned of ‘treacherous’ boating conditions as a low-pressure system moved up the Atlantic coast.
Minor injuries were reported and one passenger said, ‘you could smell people being sick walking down the halls.’
Videos posted online showed flooded corridors and downed pipes on the Carnival Sunshine
Parts of the Carnival cruise ship were destroyed by the storm off the coast of South Carolina
The Carnival Sunshine is now sailing on a five-day Bahamas cruise and will return to Charleston on Thursday
Those onboard the ship described how conditions worsened overnight Friday and into Saturday as the crew members stayed silent about what was happening.
Daniel Taylor shared with DailyMail.com how much of the weeklong trip went well, with stops in the Bahamas.
But at about 4.30pm on Friday, the trip took a turn for the worse as the ship approached choppy waters.
Just 15 minutes later, Taylor said, the captain made an announcement that due to the adverse weather conditions, the Sunshine may arrive back in Charleston later than it was scheduled to.
‘He said that the staff would do everything they could to minimize discomfort,’ Taylor recounted, noting that shortly thereafter vomit bags were put out on all the elevators.
By 7pm, he said, the ship started hitting large swells of water.
‘I went to a show in the Liquid Lounge at the front of the ship at that time,’ Taylor said. ‘The sound of us crashing into the swells could be heard over the music playing.
‘Stage lights mounted on the ceiling began to shake, the disco ball started swinging and the LED wall on the stage,’ which he said was probably about 20 to 30 feet tall and wide, ‘began rolling side by side on its own.’
About 8pm, the staff started closing off and evacuating all the public deck areas, and just about one hour later, Taylor said he went to the buffet, where he saw plates and cups topple.
He then returned to his room on the second level of the ship, where he watched as a glass chalice fell off the counter and shattered.
Throughout this time, Taylor said, the ship was still traveling at 11 knots per hour, only reducing speed to 5 knots per hour at 11.15pm when winds started hitting the ship at 80mph.
At that point, he said, the ‘captain turned the ship from sailing northwest toward Charleston to head northeast heading directly into the eye of the storm.’
Daniel Taylor, a passenger on board the ship, described how the situation worsened Friday night into Saturday
He said the crew did not keep the passengers on board appraised of what was going on as rooms began to flood
The aftermath of the storm at one of the shops onboard the ship is seen here
A non-tropical low pressure system battered the ship with 80mph winds off the South Carolina coast
Taylor also said he watched as the cabin across from his started to leak from the ceiling, and told how there were no announcements from the crew.
At about 2am, he said, the staff changed the television screens to a standby announcement — thereby wiping off the screen showing the direction the ship was traveling and how fast.
‘We were no longer able to see where we were going, how fast we were going, what the wind speed was or anything,’ Taylor said. ‘We were blind to what was going on — especially with no weather or course update since 4.45pm the previous day.
‘This was also around the time our Internet went out, so we weren’t able to look at the weather online or contact anyone,’ he added.
‘At this point, we were hitting large swells over and over. They had to be anywhere from 10 to 20 feet.’
Meanwhile, he said, he saw crew members wearing life jackets.
It wasn’t until 7.30am, Taylor recounted, the cruise director came on the air and made an announcement that they were outside Charleston harbor but could not dock as scheduled.
The ship finally arrived at the port at around 5.30pm Saturday night — more than nine hours after it was scheduled to dock.
On Twitter, Sharon Tutrone, a professor at Coastal Carolina University, said the captain sailed ‘right into’ the storm, and they ‘spent 11 hours pitching, diving and rolling’
Others described how the ship seemed to have been damaged in the treacherous voyage.
On Twitter, Sharon Tutrone, a professor at Coastal Carolina University, said the captain sailed ‘right into’ the storm, and they ‘spent 11 hours pitching, diving and rolling.
‘We were surrounded by lightning and the ship took a huge hit by a wave and sounded like it split in two.’
She also said the heavy winds blew open two balcony doors, which were banging against the rails all night.
And for RJ Whited and his new fiancée the dangerous waters capped off their first cruise together.
His fiancée, Tracy, had gotten sick on the outset of the trip on May 21, and the two had to stay in their room for several days.
Tracy finally started to feel better, RJ told WCIV, but then the ship got stuck in the storm.
‘It was shaking us so violently,’ he said.
A recreation room on the ship was left flooded with the billiards table moved in the choppy waters
The ship finally docked at around 5.30pm Saturday night — more than nine hours after it was scheduled to arrive
The National Weather Service had warned Thursday that a non-tropical low pressure system off the southeast coastline would bring heavy rain that could cause flash flooding, gusty winds and hazardous boating conditions to the Carolinas.
‘Coastal communities across the southeast can expect strong and gusty winds, high surfs in addition to life-threatening rip currents for much of the weekend,’ it said.
‘Boating conditions will also be quite treacherous with a storm warning issued by the Ocean Prediction Center/NWS Forecast Office in Charleston for the offshore waters of the Carolinas.’
In a statement to WCIV, a spokesperson for Carnival said: ‘Carnival Sunshine’s return to Charleston was impacted by the weather and rough seas on Saturday.
‘Guests on board the ship were safe. Our medical staff helped a small number of guests and crew members who needed minor assistance.
‘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.
‘We appreciate the patience and understanding of all our guests.’
The Carnival Sunshine is now sailing on a five-day Bahamas cruise and will return to Charleston on Thursday.