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Tuesday, November 7, 2023

Cruise Ship Returns to the UK After Storm Leaves 100 Passengers Injured

In a recent turn of events, the Spirit of Discovery cruise ship found itself at the mercy of a fierce storm in the Bay of Biscay, off the western coast of France. The storm resulted in a safety maneuver that caused the ship to veer suddenly, leading to injuries among its passengers. This incident unfolded during what it was supposed to be a leisurely 14-day cruise to the Canary Islands, with a sudden change of plans as the crew sought to avoid the approaching storm. In this blog post, we'll delve into the details of the incident, the response by the cruise company Saga, and the experiences of those on board.

The Journey Begins:

The Spirit of Discovery embarked on its journey on October 24th with approximately 1,000 passengers on board. The initial days of the cruise went smoothly, with the final destination set for Las Palmas in the Canary Islands. However, the cruise's course took an unexpected turn as news of an imminent storm reached the crew.

Change of Plans:

In response to the approaching storm, the crew decided to cancel the visit to Las Palmas and aimed to head for A Coruña in north-west Spain, seeking safety. Unfortunately, on the way to A Coruña, the port was closed due to the deteriorating weather conditions, forcing a swift change of plans. The decision was made to return to the UK early, with the hope of staying ahead of the storm.

Check out this crazy storm on Royal Caribbean! 

Footage from the actual cruise has surfaced.

The Storm's Impact:

The ship's journey through the Bay of Biscay, renowned for its rough waters, turned perilous as the storm hit. The ship's safety system initiated an abrupt maneuver that caused it to veer to the left and come to a halt. It was during this maneuver that the majority of injuries occurred, as reported by a spokesperson from Saga, the cruise company.

Injuries and Return to the UK:

As the ship navigated through the treacherous waters of the Bay of Biscay, the crew faced a critical decision. The ship's propulsion safety system was activated due to the adverse weather conditions, causing an abrupt and unexpected veer to the left, bringing the vessel to an abrupt halt. The impact of this sudden maneuver resulted in more than 100 of the approximately 1,000 guests on board sustaining injuries.

Most of the injuries sustained by passengers were fortunately minor, but five individuals required medical treatment. The ship remained stationary until conditions improved, and it finally docked in Portsmouth on Monday night. The passengers disembarked on Tuesday morning.

Response from Saga:

According to Saga Cruises, the "vast majority" of these injuries were fortunately minor, but the unexpected jolt was not without its consequences. Five individuals required treatment for more serious injuries, and they were promptly cared for in the ship's onboard medical facility. This incident serves as a stark reminder of the unpredictability of the sea and the challenges it can present during a cruise."

Saga, the cruise company, emphasized that the ship remained safe throughout the incident, despite the challenging weather conditions. The spokesperson expressed their sincere apologies to all affected passengers, acknowledging the uncontrollable nature of the weather. It was also noted that the decision to seek further medical treatment would be primarily left to the passengers, with only a small number expected to require it.

Passenger's account:

Jan Bendall, a 75-year-old passenger on board the Spirit of Discovery, shared her harrowing experience during the storm. She recounted that she and her husband found themselves "holding on for dear life" as the vessel battled the turbulent waves. In her own words, she expressed, "It was quite frightening, I'm not somebody who frightens easily, it was quite dramatic."

Despite the challenging circumstances, Jan Bendall had words of praise for the ship's staff. She described them as "absolutely fantastic," highlighting their dedication to passenger safety. To address the injuries sustained during the abrupt maneuver caused by the storm, the staff quickly organized "a makeshift medical area" in the ship's dining room.

During this challenging period, passengers were instructed to remain in their cabins for the duration of Saturday and Sunday, a precautionary measure to ensure their safety amidst the adverse weather conditions. The incident, as described by Jan Bendall and others on board, underscored the resilience and professionalism displayed by the ship's crew during a moment of crisis.


The unexpected encounter with a fierce storm in the Bay of Biscay served as a reminder of the unpredictable nature of the sea and the challenges that can arise during a cruise. While the incident led to injuries among passengers, it is reassuring to know that the safety systems on the Spirit of Discovery worked as intended. As passengers make their way home, they can reflect on their adventurous journey and the resilience demonstrated by the cruise company in navigating through adversity.

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