Passenger Recounts Terrifying Ordeal as Saga Cruise Ship Battles Storm

A Saga cruise ship traveling across the Bay of Biscay encountered a ferocious storm, leaving passengers screaming for their lives as 30ft waves battered the vessel.

Richard Reynolds, aged 60, was among the passengers on board the Spirit of Discovery, along with his wife and elderly parents. He described the harrowing journey as one of the most traumatic experiences he had ever faced.

Chaos and Injuries Amidst the Tempest

Amidst the turmoil, chaos reigned as waves approached the fifth storey windows of the ship. Passengers were thrown into a state of panic, and furniture, plates, and glass were sent flying in all directions.

Reynolds, who has experience in the military and fire service, remarked that this experience ranks among the worst he has encountered.

The severity of the situation left people screaming for their lives, and some passengers resorted to writing final messages to their loved ones on their phones.

In anticipation of a possible capsize, life jackets remained on passengers for two continuous days.

Injuries and Medical Assistance

Reynolds’s mother, aged 84, suffered injuries during the ship’s violent rocking, which caused her to be thrown to the floor. The ship’s medical facilities were overwhelmed, forcing the conversion of the main dining room into a makeshift first aid area.

Reynolds explained that his mother bore witness to someone being resuscitated by the ship’s staff, a stark contrast to the notion that there were only minor injuries. He estimated that the true number of injured passengers exceeded 150, accounting for 15% of the 980 passengers on board.

Questions Surrounding Safety and Decision-Making

The ship had initially embarked on a two-week cruise from Britain on October 24. However, facing an impending tempest, the decision was made to abandon the final days of the journey and return to the UK.

While traversing the Bay of Biscay, the ship encountered punishing winds and choppy waters, leading to the activation of the vessel’s automatic safety system. This abrupt maneuver reportedly caused injuries, but Reynolds asserted that many passengers were already injured before this occurred.

Safety Concerns and Accusations

Reynolds strongly believed that the ship should not have been in such extreme conditions. He questioned the decision-making process, suggesting that Saga prioritized returning the ship in time for the next cruise over passenger safety.

Reynolds argued that the company’s conduct was unacceptable and called for transparency and accountability.

Treatment and Journey’s End

The five passengers with more severe injuries received treatment at the ship’s medical center and were later transported to a hospital as a precaution once the vessel finally docked at Portsmouth Harbour.

Saga Cruises Responds

Saga Cruises defended their actions, contending that they were adequately prepared for the challenging conditions.

They also emphasized that returning via an alternate route or continuing on the original tour would have meant confronting the storm head-on.

The company offered their apologies to passengers affected by the storm and maintained that the ship remained safe throughout the ordeal.

The incident raised safety concerns and sparked questions about decision-making and preparedness in extreme weather conditions. Passengers’ harrowing experiences on the Spirit of Discovery left an indelible mark on the cruise’s journey.