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Halloween horror cruise became 'nightmare,' passengers say; ship evacuated

Passenger: Scariest Halloween I've had
Passenger: Scariest Halloween I've had

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Story highlights

  • Passenger: The Halloween cruise was "basically a nightmare for 24 hours"
  • The ship struck something while leaving Grand Bahamas Island, Celebration says
  • "No passengers were ever in any danger," the cruise company says
It was a scare no one aboard the Halloween horror cruise expected.
A jolt shook the Bahamas Celebration cruise Friday night after the ship hit something at sea, forcing hundreds of costume-clad passengers to evacuate the ship after the vessel apparently lost power.
"At first you kind of thought, maybe this is a Halloween joke and this is supposed to be funny," said Wally Yoost, 37, who was in line to get a bingo card with his wife when they felt the ship start to tilt. "As we were walking out of the room, the whole boat just went black."
Passengers started to panic, he said.
"There was folks crying. ... You could see people were kind of jockeying for the life jackets," said Armando Fana, 44.
Cindy Parette, 47, said she'd been planning to attend a costume contest and go to a zombie ball aboard the Halloween-themed cruise. Instead, she waited for hours to evacuate the ship with her boyfriend.
"It was hot. People became overwhelmed, and there was no food, nothing," she said.
Celebration Cruise Line said in a statement that passengers were told to put on life vests and the ship returned to port after the boat hit something while leaving Grand Bahamas Island around 9 p.m. Friday,
"No passengers were ever in any danger, and everything was handled in an organized and efficient way by ship, corporate and Bahamian personnel," the cruise line said.
Several passengers told CNN the situation aboard the boat was anything but organized.
"One crew member would say one thing, and then another crew member would say something else. ... They had no idea what to do," Parette said.
Hours after the alarm first sounded, passengers made it off the boat, Fana said.
His anxious 10-year-old son, dressed in an Iron Man costume, began to cry as rumors swirled about what went wrong.
"We were just sitting there for hours," he said.
Ultimately, passengers were housed in resorts on the island, Celebration said.
And Bimini SuperFast helped return the cruise ship's 960 stranded passengers and crew to Port Miami on Saturday evening, Resorts World Bimini spokeswoman Heather Krasnow said in a statement.
Two Celebration cruises scheduled for Saturday and Monday were canceled while damage to the boat is assessed.
"Our focus at this time (is) taking care of our passengers who were on the ship or had planned to be on the ship over the next few days," Celebration said.
Several passengers who'd been onboard the vessel told CNN Sunday that they were hoping for a refund, or a more detailed explanation of what happened or more of a response from the cruise company.
"When you expect two and a half fun-filled days and you get basically a nightmare for 24 hours, you should at least get an apology or something," Fana said.