The 8 Worst Cruise Ship Disasters

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

FE_DA_130214CostaConcordia.jpg
By + More

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.

[RELATED: Cruise From Hell Set to Limp Ashore Tonight]

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.

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.

[PHOTOS: Costa Concordia Disaster: One Year Later]

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.

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.

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.

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.

More News:


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