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.'"
- "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.
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.