‘Extremely scary’: Grand Strand woman recounts frightening moments on cruise ship during storm

A Coastal Carolina professor says she went from relaxing on a cruise ship to holding on for dear life.
Published: May. 31, 2023 at 6:38 AM EDT
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MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WMBF) - A Coastal Carolina professor says she went from relaxing on a cruise ship to holding on for dear life.

Sharon Tutrone just beat breast cancer and went on a cruise with her mother to celebrate.

She said everything was smooth sailing until bad weather turned their last night at sea into a nightmare.

“I will never forget that sound when that wave hit that ship. The best way to describe it was it hit that ship with such intensity, that it sounded like it ripped the front half of the ship off,” said Tutrone.

Tutrone said she feared for her life as the Carnival Sunshine returned to Charleston last weekend from the Bahamas.

She said things got even worse later that night when the wind picked up pushing rain into their cabin, and rough waves sent things flying.

“The ice bucket, the closet doors, the hangers in the closet, it all went flying out on the floor,” said Tutrone.

Tutrone said the captain made an announcement over the loudspeaker warning passengers before the bad weather hit and saying they can expect delays.

However, Tutrone said he didn’t say anything else until the next morning leaving them feeling like sitting ducks.

“We didn’t have any communication from the crew or the captain at all. It was complete radio silence for 12 hours. We were flying blind and our lives were in the hand of a complete stranger,” said Tutrone.

She just wishes they were kept in the loop throughout the rough night.

“They should’ve just come over the intercom and said look, I know things are a little scary right now but everything is okay, the ship is sound and here’s where we are. I think that little communication as small as it may have been would’ve just eased the anxiety of so many people on that ship at that moment,” said Tutrone.

Carnival Cruise released a statement following the storm:

Carnival Sunshine’s return to Charleston was impacted by the weather and rough seas on Saturday. 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. Carnival Sunshine is now sailing on its next cruise.

Despite the frightening last night, Tutrone said she and her mother had a great time in the Bahamas, and she will definitely go on another cruise but probably not with Carnival.