Severe Weather Is Flooding Cruise Ships and Forcing Guests to Stay in Their Rooms
Passengers say they could feel the ship tilt, and items went flying.
A relaxing, sun-drenched cruise may sound like the perfect winter getaway. There are so many cruise lines to choose from—and each journey comes with its own bountiful list of onboard amenities and port activities. Of course, any idyllic cruise can quickly turn into a nightmare in the presence of a severe weather storm. This was the case for recent Carnival Dream and Voyager of the Seas guests, whose itineraries were hijacked when both of their ships encountered stormy weather and rough waters.
On Jan. 26, passengers aboard Voyager of the Seas—a cruise ship operated by Royal Caribbean International—began experiencing severe, rocky weather while en route to its return destination of Galveston, Texas. The vessel suffered some damage, including minor flooding and deconstructed furniture due to high winds. However, the strength and force of the storm left many guests frightened and seeking shelter.
"When we tried to walk across our room, it felt like we were walking up a very steep hill," Chelsea Ireland told USA Today, noting that she and her husband felt the ship tilt. "And that lasted for about five minutes."
The couple was already in their cabin, having previously noticed dark skies and rain on the horizon. However, passenger Elaina Escobedo was exploring the ship's Royal Promenade when she heard sounds of flying and clanking metal. Once back at her family's cabin, she discovered fallen drinking glasses and other misplaced items.
"There were just things flying all over the place," Escobedo recalled. A seasoned cruise pass holder, Escobedo acknowledged she's sailed through rough water before, "but nothing to this extent."
AccuWeather stitched together several videos of the storm taken by passengers in real time and shared it on X. In the clip, a camera pans over one of the communal areas, where lounge chairs have been hastily thrown and pool covers are blown off. Later in the video, a passenger shows water seeping into their bedroom due to a flooded balcony.
Carnival Dream passengers had a similar experience the following day when their ship came in contact with rough weather while sailing through the Gulf of Mexico. Coincidentally, the ship was also returning to its homeport in Galveston.
As a safety precaution, the ship captain ordered guests and crew members to stay in their rooms until conditions improved, per Cruise Hive. Luckily, within an hour, crew members were able to secure the perimeter and check for damage, and guests were able to continue on with their day.
While the intensity of the storm abated, the ship was still facing foul weather. For that reason, Carnival Dream had to cancel some of its entertainment, including its Diamond and Platinum Party for the line's VIFP guests. Additionally, travelers didn't have access to the outer decks and were advised to practice extra caution when outside of their rooms.
According to Cruise Hive, it isn't uncommon for ships to encounter rough weather in the Gulf of Mexico during the winter. However, the severity of storm can vary—as these guests learned the hard way.