New Haven man aboard cruise ship caught in storm speaks out

(Photo courtesy of William Gibbs)


NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) – When William Gibbs and his wife Donna of New Haven boarded a Royal Caribbean ship Saturday in New Jersey, they had relaxation and sunshine on their minds, but what they found was chaos.

“Everybody was tumbling,” said William. “All the furniture was tumbling.”

The following day, the ship, along with its 6,000 people on board, sailed into a storm on the Atlantic with winds that were 125 miles an hour strong. William captured on his cell phone the rocky seas he could see outside.

“It was rough, it was very rough, we prayed,” said William.

Conditions were so dangerous that passengers were instructed to stay in their rooms, William says he was confined for 18 hours straight.

“I didn’t know if I was going to make it or not make it,” said William.

Among the passengers, William adds it wasn’t completely clear what was going on outside until they were allowed to leave the confines of their rooms and announcements were made over the PA system. William recorded those too, he tell us the voice you hear in his recording is that of the ship’s captain.

“It has been a traumatic and dramatic experience for most,” says the voice on the recording. “I fully understand that but you also have to appreciate that we were safe at all times aboard.”

The boat did turn around docking in New Jersey Wednesday night.

“People were cheering people were kissing the ground,” said William.

Upon arrival William and his wife drove straight back to Connecticut, suffice it to say they’ve never been more happy to be back home.

“We got through it, we made it,” said William.

Royal Caribbean tweeted out passengers who were on board the ship will receive a refund and a voucher for 50 percent to be used on a future cruise. News 8 asked William if he and his wife would ever go on a cruise again after what happened, he said they would, yet when we asked him if he thought the cruise line had “done right” by passengers he told us, “not at all, not at all, they knew about it, they knew there was a storm.”

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