Royal Caribbean Passengers Describe Harrowing Trip at Sea

PHOTO: Passengers aboard Royal Caribbeans Anthem of the Seas tell "GMA" what it was like as the boat traveled through hurricane-force winds.PlayABC News
WATCH Cruise Ship Passengers Recount Harrowing Voyage

Passengers who were on board the Royal Caribbean Anthem of the Seas cruise ship are back on solid ground.

Passenger Peter Aloupis said it felt "exactly" like being in a washing machine when the ship started listing, or tilting, because of the intense winds and turbulent weather.

"We were on the third floor with an ocean view and we literally saw Dory swimming by," Aloupis said today, referencing the Disney cartoon character.

The Bahamas-bound ship had to turn around and return to New Jersey two days after setting sail because of strong storms off the Carolinas. The ship docked in Bayonne, New Jersey, on Wednesday night.

Aloupis told "Good Morning America" that he has cruised "many times." He said he "saw some of the staff hugging and crying" after the ship returned to New Jersey.

Another passenger, Lauren Whitney, said that she had a panic attack after being told by cruise staff that passengers were to stay in their cabins.

"We were probably in the room for 20 minutes if that and then we left," she said. "I couldn’t do it and the crew members were even telling us, 'Get back to the room,' and I said, 'No. I’m not going back.'"

PHOTO: Royal Caribbean Passenger Lauren Whitney said that she had a panic attack after being told by cruise staff that passengers were to stay in their cabins.ABC News
Royal Caribbean Passenger Lauren Whitney said that she had a panic attack after being told by cruise staff that passengers were to stay in their cabins.

At one point, the captain reportedly made an announcement on the ship's loudspeaker, urging passengers to get back in their rooms.

  • "He didn't sound very convincing that it was going to be okay, and everyone around us started crying, saying they couldn’t breathe," Whitney said.
In spite of the harrowing ordeal, all but one of the seven passengers on "Good Morning America" said that they would be open to going on another cruise.

PHOTO: Passengers aboard Royal Caribbeans Anthem of the Seas tell GMA what it was like as the boat traveled through hurricane-force winds.ABC/WABC
Passengers aboard Royal Caribbean's Anthem of the Seas tell "GMA" what it was like as the boat traveled through hurricane-force winds.

Jerald Rogers spoke to ABC News as he disembarked from the ship.

"We were actually at the pool when it started to get really rough. The water was sloshing out of the pool, up over the edge. The water kept constantly coming over," he said.

Rogers and his relatives went down to their cabin and said that it "looked like they were in an aquarium."

Royal Caribbean has apologized to the more than 6,000 passengers who were on board.

"The event, exceptional as it was, identified gaps in our planning system that we are addressing," the company said in a statement. "Though that system has performed well through many instances of severe weather around the world, what happened this week showed that we need to do better."

The National Transportation Safety Board is considering an investigation into what happened and why the ship hit such bad weather.

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