CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. – Carnival Cruise Line officials say a fin stabilizer is to blame for one of its ships tilting several hours after leaving Port Canaveral on Sunday evening.
Guests told News 6 they had never experienced this kind of listing, which means to tilt or lean, while on a cruise ship.
"I didn't think anything of it, since it's not uncommon for ships to rock back and forth. But it didn't rock back. It kept leaning," David Crews, of Long Island, said in a message to News 6. "Plates and silverware started sliding off the tables. Then the tables themselves started to slide. Glasses and plates started to fall and shatter. At this point, it was pure chaos. Screams. Cries. Panic."
After leveling back to normal, the ship continued its weeklong Caribbean cruise. Pictures show some guests carrying around life jackets for the remainder of the night for safety.
The Carnival Cruise Line released the following statement:
This is the inside of the Carnival Sunshine cruise ship on Sunday evening. @CarnivalCruise says the ship listed (tilted or leaned) because of a technical issue just hours after leaving @PortCanaveral.— Clay LePard (@ClayLePard) October 31, 2018
(H/t to David Crews for the pictures) pic.twitter.com/usSaQsZBzG
On Sunday evening, Carnival Sunshine experienced a technical issue which caused the ship to list. There was never any issue with the safe operation of the ship and our officers quickly intervened to correct the situation.
Following the incident, evening events resumed for our guests. Carnival Sunshine proceeded on its Caribbean cruise as scheduled. We are very sorry for the disruption this caused. The ship remains fully operational and will sail as scheduled. We remain confident of the safety of the ship as we are committed to the safety of our guests and crew.
Guests on board said they eventually received a note from the captain, going into more detail about how the ship's fin stabilizer caused the issue. The letter explained how a fin stabilizer is not a safety feature of the ship, but helps smooth the ride against wind and waves.
This is the letter guests received from @CarnivalCruise after their ship started to lean/tilt, causing all sorts of damage. pic.twitter.com/v5UNaM7LVA— Clay LePard (@ClayLePardNews6) October 31, 2018
The Carnival Sunshine is one of the oldest ships in Carnival’s fleet. It was born as the Carnival Destiny in 1996, the world's largest cruise ship at the time, but was renamed after an extensive renovation several years later.
News 6 has learned some guests cut their trip short, preferring to fly home early when the ship docked after the incident in the Dominican Republic on Tuesday.
The Carnival Sunshine is expected to dock at Port Canaveral on Friday morning.