These were the scenes on board a cruise ship after it was hit by a hurricane-force storm in the Atlantic after being caught in the path of Storm Imogen.
Britons were among passengers on Royal Caribbean’s Anthem of the Seas, which was forced to alter course after being rocked by gusts of more than 150mph. Furniture was overturned, glasses were smashed and part of a ceiling in a public corridor collapsed. At the height of the storm the captain of the 4,180-passenger ship ordered everyone to stay in their cabins.
As the winds raged many took to social media, posting pictures of the waves and the damage caused. MS Anthem of the Seas was travelling from New Jersey to Florida off the east coast of the United States when it got caught in the extreme storm. Adam Middleton, 24, from London, was one of the 4,529 passengers ordered to retreat to his cabin as the vessel battled 30ft waves and 150mph winds.
“[The captain] held the ship in a stationary position against 150mph winds. “He said ship was handling very well, as it’s designed to. “It was scary because we didn’t expect it to be so bad. But we also felt okay in our room as we closed [the] curtain and put a movie on.”
Other passengers posted stomach-churning footage of the waves outside. Ryan Milburn posted footage online in which he said: “If you find this phone video, we are probably in a bubble underneath the ship, come find us.” And kitchen worker Michael Cuenco posted images of smashed crockery and food with the caption: “Lord please help us”.
Mr Middleton, a blogger for Yin&Yang , added: “[We’re] relieved to say the least. “It’s quite scary being out at sea during that knowing there’s nowhere to go.” Passenger Jacob Ibrag was among those to tweet about his fears from on board the ship. “Hungry, tired and seeking prayer from all of you tonight. The #anthemoftheseas has been rocking with no end in sight,” he wrote.
“Don’t think I’ve ever missed land this much. In other news, wish I took those swimming lessons… “Mother nature decided to take us all for a ride. Just wonder if this storm system could’ve been avoided.” Another passenger wrote on the Cruise Critic forum: “The ship is dealing with 115mph winds and severe seas. “Watching out our balcony is exhilarating and terrifying.
“Much water came though the deck doors on deck 5 before they shut the watertights.
“The captain is holding the ship in place against the wind possibly by sheer will. My cabin is making weird noises. “At least we have 2 bottles of champagne!” Another added: “The ship is almost sideways! It’s crazy.” The Anthem of the Seas left Cape Liberty in New Jersey for a seven-day cruise to Port Canaveral in Orlando, Florida, on Saturday afternoon. But on Sunday afternoon it hit extreme weather off the coast of South Carolina.
Radar images showed it appeared to be passing straight through a hurricane-force storm. Video posted by passengers showed damage to furniture and plant pots as the boat was rocked side to side by the winds. Part of the ceiling collapsed on one deck and workers posted footage of carnage in the ship’s kitchen where water was running across the floor.
Amid the drama, travellers were ordered to stay in their rooms by the captain. Royal Caribbean, which operates Anthem of the Seas, told CBS News the ship “encountered some high winds and seas during its transit to Port Canaveral, Florida.
“In an abundance of caution, the Captain asked all guests to stay in their staterooms until the weather improved.” “There has been no damage to the ship due to the weather. The ship is currently sailing to Port Canaveral.” Royal Caribbean later added that there were “no serious injuries reported” and that the damage would in “no way affect the sea-worthiness of the ship”.
The Anthem of the Seas launched last April and can carry a maximum of 4,905 passengers. Features include an indoor surf-simulator, climbing wall and sky-diving tunnel. The US Coast Guard told the Mirror the ship “diverted course as a precautionary measure” adding it wasn’t in distress. A spokesman said they were in touch with the ship every hour.