Winslow Umberger knew something was wrong when the horizon disappeared.
Umberger, 66, and her husband Charles were enjoying a leisurely lunch onboard the Viking Sky, a luxury cruiseliner making its way south along the Norweigan coast. There had been some turbulence, sure, but as a ship captain’s daughter, Umberger didn’t think much of it until an enormous wave sent the contents of the kitchen flying in a thunderous crash.
The waitstaff scurried around “like sandpipers” trying to collect the debris, Umberger said. It was almost comical until the captain’s first “mayday” sounded over the intercom. The ship rose and fell on swells so high that Umberger couldn’t see the horizon.
“It’s kind of surreal — you take these drills on boats, but you don’t ever expect to put those life jackets back on.”
Judy and James Franklin have discovered how to happily navigate the ebb and flow of life — through 56 years of marriage, in sickness and in health, this retired couple has sailed on approximately 100 cruises.
The Franklins’ first cruise, in 1972, was a splurge for James, a private first class in the Army at the time, and Judy, then a nursing student. “The installment plan was very helpful when we were starting out, but at this time in our lives, we pay the cruise off when we book it,” says James, who goes by Jim.
The couple, who are based in Seminole, Fl., spends anywhere between $25,000 to $35,000 for about 6 to 10 cruises per year, depending on the length of the cruise, which can range from a week to up to about five months. Their destinations have included the Caribbean, South Pacific, South America, the Baltics, Greenland, Scotland, Ireland, and Russia. When possible, they’re accompanied by some of their three children, eight grandchildren, and eight great-grandchildren.
Rune Jansen a crewman from helicopter service CHC in Norway, spent 10 hours on the deck of the Viking Sky hoisting up passengers into a helicopter. The ship had sent out a mayday distress signal amid hazardous weather conditions and engine failure. Norwegian media reported gusts up to 43 mph and waves over 26 feet.
Passengers onboard a Viking Sky cruise ship are being lifted one-by-one by helicopters after the ship’s engines failed on Saturday during stormy weather off the west coast of Norway. The crew was able to restart one engine and deploy the anchor, preventing it from drifting toward land.
Breaking News: A cruise ship has suffered engine failure in windy conditions off the west coast of Norway and will evacuate its 1,300 passengers. The Viking Sky was drifting towards land and had sent out a mayday signal. The ship belongs to Viking Ocean Cruises. pic.twitter.com/DtFbvGeV9X
Two government contractors from Washington, D.C., were intercepted by federal agents on Sunday as they tried to board a cruise ship with an array of drugs they planned on selling to passengers, police said.
Nearly 300 passengers aboard the Royal Caribbean’s Oasis of the Seas cruise ship fell ill with a stomach virus after it departed Port Canaveral in Brevard County, Florida, on Sunday.
A total of 277 guests and crew members have been affected with a gastrointestinal illness, a spokesman for Royal Caribbean Cruises told NBC News on Wednesday.
More than 8,000 guests aboard the ship will receive a refund because of the outbreak, said the spokesman.
“We think the right thing to do is to get everyone home early rather than have guests worry about their health,” he added “Returning on Saturday also gives us more time to completely clean and sanitize the ship before her next sailing.”
The U.S. Coast Guard has suspended its search for Thomas McElhany, 26, who went overboard about 35 miles south of Islamorada.
The Coast Guard said crews searched for 32 hours and covered 2,086 square miles.
Cmdr. David Aldous, Coast Guard 7th District search and rescue mission coordinator said “I have been in contact with members of Mr. McElhany’s family throughout our search efforts and know this is a very difficult and painful time for them.”
“Suspending a search is one of the most difficult decisions we have to make as first responders, and it is never made lightly.”