On May 27, a cruise ship sailed into a fierce storm off the coast of South Carolina, resulting in flooding and the evacuation of passengers. Videos posted by passengers showed flooded hallways, damaged pipes, and toppled doors as the Carnival Sunshine cruise ship prepared to dock in Charleston. Many passengers endured a harrowing journey, with reports of illness and crew members being ordered to evacuate their quarters, Daily Mail reported on May 28.

As a low-pressure system moved up the Atlantic coast, the National Weather Service issued a warning about treacherous boating conditions. During the weeklong trip, things took a turn for the worse as the ship encountered choppy waters. At 4:30 p.m. on Friday, the ship approached the tumultuous sea, with winds reaching 80 mph. Glassware crashed, and the ship slowed down to 5 knots, battling massive waves that forced the crew to distribute life vests.

Rough Seas

By 7:30 a.m. the following day, the ship’s cruise director announced that docking in Charleston harbor would not be possible. Nine hours after the scheduled arrival time, the ship finally reached the port at 5:30 p.m.

Passengers on the ship said that things got worse overnight on Friday and into Saturday while the crew kept quiet about what was going on. Daniel Taylor, one of the passengers, told Daily Mail about how much of the week-long trip to the Bahamas went well.

In a statement to WCIV, a Carnival spokesperson said that “the weather and rough seas on Saturday” impacted the ship’s return to Charleston.

“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 currently departing on a cruise to the Bahamas that will last for a total of five days and will arrive back in Charleston on Thursday. 

In 2022, Carnival Cruise Lines announced it will no longer sail from Charleston, starting in 2024.