The 8 Worst Cruise Ship Disasters

Somali pirates, icebergs, and coral reefs have ruined many would-be vacations.

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A small boat belonging to the Coast Guard Cutter Vigorous patrols near the cruise ship Carnival Triumph in the Gulf of Mexico. The Carnival Triumph floated aimlessly about 150 miles off the Yucatan Peninsula since a fire erupted in the engine room knocking out the ship's propulsion system.

Carnival Triumph: What was supposed to be a four-day jaunt to the Caribbean became an eight-day nightmare when an engine fire left the ship floating in the Gulf of Mexico without power, air-conditioning, or a working septic system.

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The Carnival cruise ship Splendor is moved by tug boat from the cruise ship dock to a maintenance dock to have its engine repaired on Nov. 18, 2010, in San Diego.

Carnival Splendor: Carnival's Splendor suffered a similar fate as Carnival's Triumph in November 2011. Both were stranded by engine fires, though the Splendor was left floating in the Pacific Ocean. After three days the Splendor and its 4,500 passengers were towed back to the San Diego Bay.

The Costa Concordia cruise ship leans on its side of the Tuscan Island Isola del Giglio, Italy.

Costa Concordia: This Italian cruise ship ran aground on a reef off the coast of Tuscany, Italy, in January 2012 and toppled onto its side. Of the 4,200 aboard, 32 died and 64 were injured, according to the Associated Press. The half-submerged ship is still being removed.

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The cruise ship Seabourn Sprint lies at anchor in deep waters off Mahe in the Seychelles on Nov. 7, 2005.

Seabourn Spirits: In 2005, while 100 miles off the coast of Somalia, pirates in speedboats attacked the small cruise ship. The pirates fired on it with machine guns and rocket-propelled grenades before the captain changed course and got away. None of the ship's 300 passengers were hurt, and the ship made it to the Seychelles where the rocket damage was repaired.

The Celebrity cruise ship Mercury is viewed through morning haze as it sits docked on June 9, 2006, in downtown Seattle. The Mercury returned to Seattle from Alaska with 115 people who had a gastrointestinal illness during their 7-night voyage.

Celebrity Mercury: More than 400 of the 2,600 passengers and crew onboard the Mercury were stricken ill in 2010 in what the Centers for Disease control deemed a norovirus outbreak. The virus caused widespread vomiting and other gastrointestinal ills on the ship, which left from Charleston, S.C.

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Norwegian Dawn: At least 62 cabins were flooded when a 70-foot wave smashed into the Dawn, in 2005. About 300 of the ship's passengers disembarked early, in Charleston, after the storm had passed.

S.S. Eastland: In 1915, just three years after the Titanic sank, the S.S. Eastland passenger tour ship rolled over while in port in downtown Chicago. More than 840 of its 2,500 passengers died in the accident.

An artist impression shows the April 14, 1912, shipwreck of the British luxury passenger liner Titanic off the Nova-Scotia coasts during its maiden voyage.

RMS Titanic: The original cruise ship disaster, the "unsinkable ship" struck an iceberg in the North Atlantic on its maiden voyage in 1912 and sank into the icy water, killing more than 1,500 of its 2,200 passengers and crew.

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Corrected on : Correction (02/15/13): An earlier version of this article included an incorrect year for the Titanic’s sinking. It sank in 1912.