Despite being the most well-known shipwreck, the Titanic was far from the deadliest luxury liner catastrophe.
Using this list of nautical misadventures to discourage someone from going on a cruise is a great way to get them to reconsider.
There are no incidents in most cruises, and they are entirely safe. We’ll get there in the end. Get ready for a high seas horror array as we will be looking at some of the cruise ship disasters in history.
Table of Contents
- 1. The Wilhelm Gustloff, MV-1
- 2. The RMS Titanic
- 3. The Triumph of Carnival Cruise Line
- 4. The Costa Concordia
- 5. The SS Eastland
- 6. Royal Pacific
- 7. Morro Castle on the SS Morro
- 8. Explorer of the Seas, a Royal Caribbean ship
- 9. Marine Transportation System (MTS) Oceanos
1. The Wilhelm Gustloff, MV-1
Isn’t it ironic that the worst maritime tragedy in history wasn’t an accident? Wilhelm Gustloff was constructed to be a cruise ship for the Nazi government’s state-owned tourism agency but eventually served the German Navy as a medical ship and floating barracks.
World War II was effectively over on January 30, 1945, and Russia’s army was closing in. 10 582 passengers were crammed aboard a ferry that could only hold 1,900 that frosty winter morning.
More than a thousand citizens and numerous children were aboard, including Nazi commanders and wounded soldiers. Gustloff was traveling slowly and was not designated as a hospital ship, so a Russian submarine fired three torpedoes at it from a long distance.
Many of the ship’s lifeboats were frozen to the deck and would have been insufficient to save the 10,000 passengers. One estimate puts the death toll at around 10,000 people, six times more than those who lost when the Titanic sank.
With this account, we can confidently say that The Wilhelm Gustloff MV-1 is one of the most significant global cruise ship disasters.
2. The RMS Titanic
Some experts in 1912 had predicted that the Titanic would not sink during its maiden voyage from Southampton to New York City, but they were proved wrong on the ship’s first voyage.
Thomas Andrews had designed the ship to be tough enough to withstand collisions and rammings from other ships. Nevertheless, the iceberg that sank the ship in the North Atlantic Ocean broke through five of its 16 watertight compartments.
According to some reports, the boat would have remained afloat had it only gone through the first four levels.
Like those on other ships of the time, lifeboats on the Titanic were intended to ferry passengers to nearby rescue ships rather than to land.
When the boat sank in the early hours of April 15, no rescuers were nearby. Due to a lack of crew coordination, the ship’s lifeboats left with far less than their total capacity, which resulted in many lives being lost.
They also only had enough boats to accommodate about a third of the passengers. There were over 1,500 deaths on the ship or in the frigid waters causing it to become one of the cruise ship disasters.
A new theory suggests that the ship’s steel walls were weakened by an iceberg that would typically have caused minor damage because of a fire in the hull before it set sail.
Do you still desire to board the Titanic? A replica of Titanic II, owned by Australian billionaire Clive Palmer’s Blue Star Line, will set sail in 2022.
3. The Triumph of Carnival Cruise Line
Late-night humor was developed from a generator fire on Carnival Cruise Lines’s Triumph (now known as Carnival Sunrise), resulting in a poop cruise.
Passengers were forced to dump their luggage into red “hazardous waste” bags and stow them in garbage cans put in the corridor without working bathrooms.
Customers reported finding carpets soggy from more than two inches of untreated human waste. News reports described the scene as a “shanty town” and a “new circle of hell.”
A passenger has called her husband and informed him that their 12-year-old daughter had Skittles for breakfast. The Triumph took four days to be dragged from the Gulf of Mexico to Mobile, Alabama, where dock workers could smell it.
Later, 31 passengers filed a lawsuit, claiming long-term harm, including PTSD. 27 people shared $118,000 after the verdict, with many earning less than $3,000 (excluding legal fees).
4. The Costa Concordia
One of the largest passenger ships ever to go down, the Costa Concordia had 17 levels, six restaurants, a three-story theater, and enough space for 4,200 tourists to travel onboard.
At Antonello Tievoli’s suggestion, captain Francesco Schettino sailed closer to the island of Isola del Giglio on January 13, 2012. Why? Giglio native Tivoli hoped to amaze and “honor” the island’s population with his dazzling display.
Unfortunately, Captain Schettino turned off the ship’s warning for the computer navigation system and later claimed that he thought he was familiar enough with the waterways to navigate by sight.
However, a crew member claimed that the captain had left his spectacles in his cabin and asked for them. The Costa Concordia collapsed after hitting an undersea rock, killing 32 people on board.
What is Schettino’s gravest marine transgression? He jumped ship while there were still 300 people on board. Schettino was allegedly urged to return to the ship by a Coast Guard official who communicated with the vessel at the catastrophe.
After a manslaughter conviction and several appeals later, Schettino began serving his 16-year prison sentence only in May of last year. Recovery efforts were unprecedented (the ship had to be destroyed en masse).
The Costa Concordia became another passenger ship that experienced a cruise ship disaster.
5. The SS Eastland
In Chicago, the SS Eastland, a passenger ship, was launched in 1903 and utilized for tours. Since its conception, it had been known that the ship was tilting, and some attempts had been taken to correct this, but when passengers boarded the SS Eastland for a cruise in 1915, the ship was still top-heavy.
There were supposed to be Western Electric workers from the Hawthorne plant in Chicago on board, but the ship could not make the trip because of bad weather.
More than 2,572 people boarded the ship on July 24, with many congregating on the open-top decks to await their destination.
The ship began to list to the port side while docked, and more people are said to have rushed to the port side at some time, leading the ship to roll onto its side completely.
Only 20 feet below the river’s surface were 844 passengers and staff members who perished, including 22 entire families.
6. Royal Pacific
250 people and 91 automobiles and 16 trucks were the capacities of the Royal Pacific when it was initially put into service in 1964.
Last modified in the late 1980s, this vessel had its inaugural trip from Singapore on a two-night “cruise to nowhere” that stopped at Phuket, Malacca, and Penang back to Singapore.
Around 2 a.m., the crew heard a tremendous noise, and the buffet table plates fell to the ground, waking up the passengers who were still asleep.
After an accident, a six-foot gash appeared on the ship’s side, owned by Taiwanese company Tofu 51. Scrapping against scraping, the trawler made a thunderous sound as it pushed away.
The safety officer ran downstairs to see the damage; even the boat’s PA system wasn’t operating correctly.
When he returned to the boat, he ordered everyone to don life jackets. According to several accounts, between 30 and 70 people were killed during the cruise ship disaster and injured in the crash.
Crew members who spoke Greek, English, and Mandarin were cited as a factor in guests’ dissatisfaction with the service.
7. Morro Castle on the SS Morro
There hasn’t been a Hollywood horror movie adaptation of the SS Morro Castle’s story is remarkable. He collaborated on a script about the catastrophe and titled it “Hell Afloat,” a very accurate description, but the film was never realized.
For the majority of the 1930s and early ’30s, the SS Morro Castle was a regular mode of transportation between Havana and New York.
There was no Depression or Prohibition to worry about, so there was plenty of booze-filled partying on board. Despite this, the September 1934 voyage from Cuba to New York appeared cursed.
Captain Robert Wilmott was found dead in his cabin on September 7 after he complained of stomach pain following a meal and went to his bedroom to rest.
The fire broke out in a storage container just a few hours after the new commanding officer, Chief Officer William Warms, took command.
Efforts by the crew to put out the fire were sloppy and ineffective, and the flames grew out of control. Many passengers had to fend for themselves in the ship’s dimly lit passageways after several of the crew members fled the ship.
Several people fell to their deaths when they leaped from the ship’s deck into the ocean. Lifeboats carrying passengers arrived at the Jersey Shore to be met by rescuers.
The SS Morro Castle ran aground in Asbury Park, New Jersey, with its black hull engulfed in flames. A total of 86 passengers and 49 members of the staff perished during the cruise.
8. Explorer of the Seas, a Royal Caribbean ship
A cruise ship might be a haven of tranquility amid stormy seas, but it can also serve as a breeding ground for infectious diseases, spreading from one passenger to the next.
In 2014, the Explorer of the Seas cruises from New Jersey to the Caribbean was the ship with the sickest passengers since the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention began gathering statistics more than 20 years ago.
Approximately 700 passengers and crew members fell ill during the cruise. Norovirus, which causes stomach and extensive intestine inflammation and frequent “head” visits, is the most common cause of illness on cruise ships.
On a cruise with many other sick people, washing your hands frequently, and avoiding those who are sick are the best ways to keep healthy. Insects are easily spread by touching ship rails, toilet doors, and buffet food.
9. Marine Transportation System (MTS) Oceanos
As of 1976, the MTS Oceanos was owned by a Greek corporation that had built and launched the ship in 1952.
When the Oceanos set sail from East London, South Africa, towards Durban in August 1991, Captain Yiannis Avranas was in command.
The ship’s departure predicted a 40-knot wind and a 30-foot swell, so the usual outdoor deck party with British performers Moss and Tracy Hills was shifted indoors.
The ship began to turn on its side during the night, and an explosion could be heard due to a lack of maintenance on the ship’s waste disposal system.
As a result of this, the ship lost power and water-filled its generator room thus the generators had to be shut down and the ship was towed to a new location.
Several South African helicopters and one Dutch container ship jumped into action in response to a distress call.
While the captain and many of the crew members were flown to shore, entertainment staff employees were left in charge of coordinating rescue efforts and assisting guests in their evacuations.
By the time the ship went nose-first into the ocean, all 571 passengers and crew members had been saved.