I read with great sympathy the adventures of the passengers on the Carnival Sunshine as their ship was buffeted by heavy seas and gale force winds off the coast of South Carolina. The ship rocked so violently that many passengers got sick and there was damage to the boat. It appears that the ship sailed directly into the storm on their return to Charleston.
My first cruise was on the Disney Magic in 1999. Before we left port, I questioned why we were leaving when there was a tropical storm around Orlando. I was told that we would sail around it. Guess what? The ship sailed directly into the storm. I did not sleep that night as the ship swayed from side to side making it very difficult to walk. I did not get sick as I was too afraid. I spent time in a lobby with a young mother and her children who were afraid they were going to die. The storm lasted all night until we reached The Bahmas the next morning. I saw the Captain and asked why we sailed through the violent storm. He said that they did not anticipate the ferocity of the storm. I was skeptical about his answer.
Surprisingly I sailed on another dozen cruises or over 100 days on the seas and ocean. I have been lucky as I don’t recall more than 2 or 3 days where the seas were rough. However I will never forget my first bad experience cruising. Like the Carnival Sunshine, there were no communications with the passengers during the emergency. Life boats and jackets are irrelevant under those storm conditions.
I think the cruise lines have been lucky. If one boat sinks during a storm or for whatever reason, it may very well kill their business. Customer safety and comfort are paramount and it certainly was not for the pasengers on Carnival Sunshine.