Yes, the ship is flooding and yes, that is also a fire. (YouTube/Cruise Law)
In between the opulent interiors, the amusement park amenities, the high-end restaurants (and modern-day stabilizers), it’s easy for people taking cruises to think they’re in a floating resort instead of on a boat in the middle of the ocean.
But every so often, Mother Nature decides to remind us — and, frankly, she can be really nasty about it. A big enough storm can toss around a 3, 000-person vessel like it was a kayak. And while cruising is incredibly safe — with modern ships able to withstand all manner of bad weather — major storms can make for some really scary moments for passengers.
Fortunately for us, as passengers hold on for dear life as their ship lists to and fro during a storm, some of them also reach for a camera to record the mayhem, and much of it exists to scare cruisers and non-cruisers alike. Here are some of the scariest cruise videos we’ve seen on the high seas:
1. A violent ride
This footage from 2010 shows P&O’s Pacific Sun in the middle of a major storm about 400 miles north of New Zealand. This video, apparently taken by a closed-circuit TV camera, has been posted and reposted by fans who added music and comedic sound effects. But there’s nothing funny about this storm, which literally sent everything that wasn’t bolted down careening across the floor, with helpless passengers caught in the wake. Dozens of people were injured, many with broken bones and cuts. According to The Daily Telegraph, P&O offered the scared passengers 25% off their next cruise for their troubles.
2. A rude interruption
A similar scene on this unidentified ship, which was also listing heavily enough to fling furniture about. Watch at 1:43 as the flying furniture knocks away a table full of vacationers trying to relax. People seem rattled but OK; in fact, a woman gets up to take a picture of the carnage.
3. Deadly waves
This is easily one of the scariest cruise ship incidents in recent memory that didn’t involve a sinking. In 2010, gigantic waves slammed this Greek-based cruise ship, shattering glass in a number of public areas and sending passengers running for their lives (you can see one such breach at 0:26 in to the video). Two men died, and a little more than a dozen people were injured.
4. Is this a cruise or a James Cameron movie?
According to CruiseLawNews.com, this footage is from a Carnival cruise ship back in 2011 that got hit by rough weather during a storm. On this video, you see water breaking the window and filling up an abandoned area.
5. Is this a cruise or a James Cameron movie? Part II
Another video apparently from that same incident is even scarier. It shows water flooding a children’s play area and short-circuiting a wall-mounted TV. Over a couple of minutes, the short turns into a full-blown fire — a frightening prospect aboard a cruise ship at sea. A cruise ship employee wades through the room and tries to extinguish the fire by hand (which seems an incredibly dangerous thing to do during an electrical fire in a flooded room). Fortunately, other crew members come in and extinguish the blaze before it gets out of hand.
6. The sea was very angry that day, my friends.
Much less scary was this storm that hit the Queen Elizabeth en route to New York. It sent waves big enough to fully splash the windows of what appears to be an upper deck. Fortunately, the passengers appear more amused than frightened.
7. Shipboard entertainment
Sometimes, a big scary wave can intrude on your shipboard entertainment. During what appeared to be some kind of karaoke show aboard this P&O cruise fighting rough seas, a gigantic wave hit the ship, as amused passengers gasped. The emcee didn’t miss a beat and continued with the show. Too bad the video cuts out before someone gets up to sing “Father Figure."