Horror on the High Seas: Cruise Lines Navigate Rough Waters

From sea to sea, cruise ship mishaps have made plenty of headlines.

ByABC News
December 13, 2010, 1:23 PM

Dec. 13, 2010— -- It's been rough sailing for the cruise industry in recent weeks as high-profile problems have dominated the headlines.

From the broken-down Carnival Splendor in the Pacific to the battered Brilliance of the Seas in the Mediterranean to the wind-whipped Carnival Inspiration in the Caribbean, the bad stories span from sea to sea, causing frustration for passengers and fear for cruise executives.

"Cruise lines are aware that this could be a little problem for them, and they are looking at maybe finding incentives for people to book cruises," said Chris Elliott, a columnist with National Geographic Traveler.

Watch "World News with Diane Sawyer" for more on this story tonight on ABC.

The 2,500 passengers aboard Royal Caribbean's Brilliance of the Seas are still cruising after their ship was rocked by rough water over the weekend in what the line calls a "serious incident." En route to Egypt, the ship swayed from side to side several times on Sunday morning, as far as 15 degrees in either direction.

The rocking knocked around some passengers. The movement caused mostly minor injuries like bumps and bruises, though two passengers suffered broken bones.

It also did cosmetic damage to the ship, including broken glass and upended furniture. According to passengers who posted their photos and experiences on CruiseCritic.com, Christmas trees were overturned and a Grand piano smashed into a wall.

"It was a little scary on Saturday because the boat was rocking down and rocking back up, but you never knew how deep it was going to go," passenger Jennifer Lovelace, who's onboard with her husband for their honeymoon, told ABC affiliate WTNH-TV by phone. "And then that Saturday night is when the boat almost went on its side."

Royal Caribbean has given passengers credit to spend onboard and a full refund for their cruise fare. The ship will dock in Malta tomorrow morning, the first time passengers have been on land since the incident.