The Carnival cruise ship Spirit has been cleared to dock in Sydney Harbor, bringing hundreds of passengers back to dry land days after they were stranded in 30-foot-high seas.
The ship first encountered the storm on Monday night, according to ABC News, and the weather became so intense that Sydney Harbor was closed, preventing the ship from docking. Crew and passengers were forced to ride out the storm at sea, braving the massive waves that kept them out of the harbor. For the 2,500 passengers and 1,500 crew members aboard the cruise ship, the experience was nothing short of terrifying.
“It was horrific,” reporter Rachel Browne recalled. “You couldn’t hear a thing anyone said, the noise was so loud and the rain was blowing sideways.”
— Campbell Simpson (@csimps0n) April 22, 2015
As the Sydney Morning Herald reports, the captain and crew of the Spirit informed passengers that the cruise ship would be able to withstand the onslaught of the storm, yet those aboard noted that visible damage was done by the powerful waves. Glass panels were reportedly smashed by the intense weather, leaving shards littered around the vessel’s pool as a notable amount of water flowed into the ship. Staff resorted to using towels and blankets to stem the flow of water, particularly on the cruise ship’s fourth level, which is an open deck.
“When we couldn’t dock in Sydney, they sailed down to Coalcliff, then circled back and we are now sitting outside of Sydney,” Browne reported. “They are turning the ship to make it more bearable. It is very scary but the crew is reassuring.”
— Trish Murray (@TrishMurrayAust) April 22, 2015
On Wednesday morning, Carnival released a statement saying the Spirit was heading toward its dock, and that a local harbor pilot had gone aboard the vessel to guide it in.
“We have some good news this morning,” the company related. “Carnival have been notified that the port in Sydney is now open to ship traffic and we’re happy to say the weather has improved to allow safe entry into the port.”
— Patricia Johnson (@johnspatricc) April 21, 2015
Earlier this year, a passenger went missing from a Royal Caribbean cruise ship while it was at sea. As the Inquisitr previously reported, it was not immediately clear whether the missing man jumped or fell overboard.
Before encountering the storm, which boasted 60 mph winds, the Carnival cruise ship was returning from a 12-day-voyage to New Caledonia, Vanuatu, and Fiji.
[Image via Twitter]