Passengers aboard the Disney cruise ship Fantasy expected sandy beaches, but encountered a hurricane named Sandy instead.
Heather McGee of Franklin and her family were among the passengers who were tossed around for the last two days of their western Caribbean cruise aboard the Fantasy.
The worst night, she said, was Oct 26. That Friday night, the ship was heading back to the dock at Port Canaveral. McGee said the ship was listing so far back and forth that people on the ninth floor could see the ocean without looking down.
About 2 a.m., passengers heard shattering sounds as windows in the dining rooms were breaking out, the contents of the gift shop shelves were being thrown on the floor and heavy furniture was being knocked over and sent across the floors in the common areas.
Inside the passenger cabins, doors slammed open and shut on their own.
"Everything came off the shelves and countertops. Our son was on the upper bunk, it had a railing, but every time it would list, it would toss him toward the glass door," McGee said.
She said she and her husband moved the 5-year-old to their own bed, but whoever was on the outside kept rolling out on the floor.
McGee said Disney can't control the weather, but it should have warned people earlier what they were in for; it wasn't until several hours into the chaos that the ship's crew finally made a safety announcement asking people to stay in their cabins.
The chaos continued when it was time to leave the ship, she said. Thousands of people jammed the common areas like a Black Friday stampede.
"They didn't really communicate with the passengers at all. We had so many people who were so fearful after the night of terror and most people were operating on no sleep," McGee said.
Rebecca Peddie, a spokesperson for Disney Cruise Lines, sent a statement saying:
"Last Friday night, the Disney Fantasy experienced rough sea conditions en route to Port Canaveral, and as a result, our guests had a difficult evening. While it was a difficult evening, never was the safety of our guests or crew members compromised. Rough seas can be a reality for any sea vessel from time to time, and our captains and crew members are highly trained and experienced in navigating through inclement weather."
Disney offered passengers a 25 percent discount on a future cruise.
Copyright 2012 WSMV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.
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