The Terrifying Cruise from Hell

You better hold onto your life preservers for this one, because it’s a bumpy ride:

I don’t know if you’ve ever been on a cruise ship, but I think they’re great. It’s like a floating hotel that stops at all these great places around the world. I’ve been on a few, and hope to go on more. Unless they’re like this one.

About a month ago a cruise ship that left from New Zealand got absolutely pulverized. It got hit by a storm so bad that the ship almost literally tipped over. Tables smashedYou better hold onto your life preservers for this one, because it’s a bumpy ride:

I don’t know if you’ve ever been on a cruise ship, but I think they’re great. It’s like a floating hotel that stops at all these great places around the world. I’ve been on a few, and hope to go on more. Unless they’re like this one.

About a month ago a cruise ship that left from New Zealand got absolutely pulverized. It got hit by a storm so bad that the ship almost literally tipped over. Tables smashed, many people were badly injured. It was a terrifying ordeal. One of my best friends–and the inspiration for the Theo Barnes character in [i]Finders Keepers[/i]–was on that ship with his family. His kids are still traumatized.

Thing is, the cruise line–P&O Cruises–has been downplaying the event–naturally–saying it really wasn’t that bad. Just a little bad weather, but everything’s A-OK. Well, my buddy says it was like the Poseidon Adventure. The ship almost tipped over! The press coverage, for the most part, has under-reported just how bad it was, although I did find one story that seems to more accurately portray the severity of the incident. I’ve pasted it below.

In all fairness, P&O isn’t all bad. As a gift, they’ve offered passengers on that cruise a 25% discount on their next cruise! Are you friggin’ kidding me?!

So my buddy is now trying to get the story out to the media about just how terrifying–and dangerous–the experience actually was. His son, who’s about 10, still comes to him and says that he can hear children screaming, the boat is turning around and tables are smashing.

I’m not trying to say that cruises are all bad, but this just goes to show what companies–of any kind–will do protect their reputation rather than acknowledge that something went terribly wrong, and that, going forward, they will adjust accordingly. Remember 25 years ago when those Tylenol tablets were tainted with poison? The company recalled every bottle, acknowledged the danger, and repackaged everything. As a company, they seem to be doing just fine. But that kind of accountability is rare.

Is there a moral to this story? I don’t know. But speak up when things go wrong. Because if we won’t, who will?

http://www.nzherald.co.nz/category/story.cfm?c_id=68&objectid=10524889

Terrified cruisers back on dry land

5:00AM Saturday August 02, 2008

By Yvonne Tahana and David Eames

Henry Garrett is one of 42 cruise passengers who needed medical attention. Photo / Paul Estcourt

Bad weather rocks the Pacific Sun

"We had split-open heads, broken bones, blood everywhere. It looked like the Bali bombings," Pacific Sun passenger Jonathan Woodward said.

"There was stuff smashed throughout the whole ship, paintings on the wall – I’d say 80 per cent of them were smashed. It was just chaos."

Mr Woodward was one of 1732 passengers and 671 crew aboard when the vessel was caught in the tropical low that caused chaos across New Zeland. They disembarked when it docked in Auckland about 1pm yesterday – a day later than scheduled.

Sixty passengers have now cancelled on the next voyage – due to leave Auckland for New Caledonia around 5pm tonight. They were given a refund and the 1650 venturing out will get a 20 per cent discount after two nights were cut from the now eight-day voyage.

A spokesperson for ship owners P&O Cruises said a specialist team was checking overnight for any damage – but an initial check by Maritime New Zealand showed no structural damage.

The Pacific Sun was caught in the storm, when 600km north of New Zealand, and battered by 7m swells and near-100km/h winds, which sent the vessel pitching 20 degrees, smashing furniture and fittings.

P&O said 42 passengers needed medical treatment, with three remaining under medical supervision for the rest of the journey.

Spokeswoman Sandy Olsen yesterday confirmed two passengers had been taken to hospital with suspected rib and pelvic fractures, but said rumours one passenger had lost a foot were untrue.

"It was like watching The Poseidon Adventure," Sunshine Coast woman Betty Appleton said, referring to the ’70s blockbuster in which hundreds die after a cruise liner is flipped by a rogue wave. She and husband Jim – veterans of a combined 39 P&O cruises – yesterday described the storm as the most frightening they had encountered at sea, "because of all the flying crockery".

But the couple were philosophical about their ordeal, with Mr Appleton considering it "just bad luck" that the ship had to endure "three lows back to back".

The Appletons were due to set sail out again on their 40th cruise today.

Cynthia Hoban of Waiwera, north of Auckland, was concerned a number of items aboard ship that should have been fixed down, were not. She said listening to items of furniture and other pieces "sliding from one side to another" were alarming. "We thought ‘God, what’s going to come through walls or the ceiling’."

Ms Olsen said there were "some loose items that did move around", and the company would investigate.

Counselling was being offered for passengers and crew who were shaken by their experience, she said. The storm-affected passengers would be offered a goodwill gesture of a 25 per cent reduction in the value of a future cruise.

– NZPA

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