Passengers aboard the Saga cruise ship Spirit of Discovery faced a harrowing ordeal as their voyage was cut short due to extreme weather conditions in the Bay of Biscay. The two-week cruise departed from Portsmouth, but the ship was forced to return to the same port as it encountered a severe storm with 30-foot waves and winds of up to 70 miles per hour.
Approximately 100 passengers, out of the ship’s 1,000 travelers, suffered injuries during the tumultuous voyage. These injuries occurred primarily as the ship’s safety system activated, causing it to come to an abrupt halt, though some passengers reported a potentially higher injury count of up to 150 individuals.
Passengers described scenes of chaos, with reports of people sustaining broken bones, the ship’s medical facilities becoming overwhelmed, and passengers having to wear life jackets for their safety. Some passengers went as far as writing farewell messages to their loved ones in case they did not survive the ordeal.
The storm subjected the ship to colossal waves reaching a height of 54 feet, which is taller than three double-decker buses. The force of the waves sent furniture, plates, and glass flying around the ship, adding to the distress of the passengers.
In response to the traumatic experience, Saga Cruises has offered their apologies to the affected passengers and pledged to provide compensation. Fortunately, there was limited damage to the ship’s fixtures and structure. Passengers commended the captain and crew for their efforts in managing the situation and maintaining the passengers’ safety.
The decision to return to the UK via the Bay of Biscay, instead of seeking shelter, has come under scrutiny. Some passengers accused the cruise line of prioritizing the ship’s schedule over their safety. Nevertheless, the cruise line stated that there was no significant structural damage to the ship, and all passengers have returned home safely despite the challenges they faced during the voyage.
A passenger on board the Saga cruise ship that was battered by storms as it crossed the Bay of Biscay has revealed people on board were screaming for their lives as 30ft waves battered the windows.
The Spirit of Discovery departed Britain on October 24 pic.twitter.com/oG29XDMd5D
— MassiVeMaC (@SchengenStory) November 7, 2023