Passengers on the latest voyage of Royal Caribbean's Anthem of the Seas faced the complete opposite of a care-free, relaxing experience after an encounter with a ferocious storm in the Atlantic.
Four passengers sustained minor injuries and the ship was damaged amid high waves and strong wind.
The massive ship took off from Bayonne, New Jersey, with a destination of the Bahamas. Though a winter storm near the ship's path was forecast, the liner left port on Saturday with a slightly altered route.
Jordan Steinberg was one of the nearly 5,000 passengers on a trip with his wife and son. They were watching a musical when things started to get rocky.
The show's director had to end the performance early out of fear for the actors safety on the stage with moving props.
By 3 p.m., passengers started to realize conditions were not improving.
"First we started to hear things like silver and dishes falling in the kitchens or service trays rolling around a bit," Steinberg said.
The captain made an announcement that the ship was moving around the edge of a storm, but they'd be past it in five to six hours.
Passengers were then shuttled to their rooms and instructed to stay there. Emotions ranged from scared to seemingly unperturbed, Steinberg said. The crew seemed unshaken, however, which was a reassuring sign.
But as the hours went by, conditions did not settle down. Steinberg said everything in his room was secured or put into drawers, but the ship appeared to be tilted at a 45-degree angle.
"...I could tell due to the molding on the ceiling and the way water would sit in the bathroom sink," he said.
The captain made numerous announcements throughout the roughly 12-hour ordeal.
Steinberg said the captain continually apologized with each update, stressing that the safety of the crew and passengers was the most important. By working with the Coast Guard and National Weather Service, they were determining the best path to avoid the current storm and get to smoother waters.
By Monday morning, the ship was on its way back to New Jersey and passengers were given a full refund.
Some areas that sustained damage were closed off, but most of the impacts were "cosmetic," according to USA Today.
"The storm had characteristics of a classic nor'easter," AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Dan Kottlowski said. "It had hurricane-force winds, as other winter storms can have."
Wind gusts in the area were measured at 74 mph, but winds up to 100 mph at the ship's exact location cannot be ruled out.
"You have to treat storms like this as if they were hurricanes," he said.
With winter storms, Kottlowski said, some of the strongest winds can be found 100 miles away from the center of the storm, unlike a tropical system.