Unexpected things can always happen on a cruise, and although you can dream about the perfect vacation, you shouldn't always expect a cruise to go as smoothly as you hope.
Realistically, you might experience a few unpredictable mishaps during your cruise. Here at Royal Caribbean Blog, our staff has collectively cruised more than 200 times. Needless to say, we have experienced a few crazy things ourselves during our cruises.
From being kicked out of the Diamond Lounge for wearing shorts to watching pier runners sprint their way to the ship before all-aboard time, we’ve seen it all!
Below are some of our craziest stories from our very own Royal Caribbean Blog staff members.
A ship struck Mariner of the Seas
During a quick sailing on Mariner of the Seas last spring, Allie Hubers was onboard when it was struck by a cargo ship.
“On embarkation day," Allie mentioned, "we were notified that Mariner of the Seas needed to dock in Freeport for some routine maintenance, which would replace our sea day.
"After wandering around for a bit in Freeport, we went back to our inside cabin, which was located at the aft of the ship. Suddenly, we felt a big jolt and the ship swayed. My sister and I joked, ‘we must have hit an iceberg!’ to one another.
"The captain came on the speakers almost immediately to announce that a cargo ship docked next to us had 'bounced' into the ship. We ran to the back of the ship to see the cargo ship's bridge nearly crumpled. Crew members blocked off the area where Mariner sustained minor damage. The captain assured us that Mariner was seaworthy and that this would not impact our sailing.
"Essentially, it was so windy that when the cargo ship tried to dock, the wind pushed the ship into us. Their bridge bounced off Mariner's aft on deck 5, creating a pretty noticeable hole in the ship. We were lucky it wasn't worse. I would have been more terrified if we weren't docked at a port when it happened.
"Only a few people were interested in what happened, as the belly flop contest was happening at the time of the incident and the spring breakers were having too much fun to know what was going on!”
A new stateroom for the night
Sailing onboard the now-retired Monarch of the Seas, Marcy Miyar and her husband were desperate to get some sleep, so they tried to find somewhere to go in the middle of the night instead of their extremely noisy cabin.
“It was our first time in a Junior Suite on Monarch of the Seas," said Marcy. "Back then, the three-night cruises didn't depart Nassau until midnight. Because of this, the ship would have a sail away party on the pool deck, but it would last until 3 or 4 AM!
"The junior suites are directly below the pool deck, so we could hear everything like they were in the room with us. The DJ on the microphone, the music, people singing and laughing, deck chairs scraping along our ceiling... we could hear it all.
"We went down to Guest Services and asked if we could be moved to a lower-category room, but of course, the ship was full. We were like zombies walking around the ship with our pillows, looking for somewhere to get some sleep. Luckily, we stumbled upon an unlocked conference room on deck 2. That's where we spent the night.
"Now, we always make sure to check what is on the deck above us when picking out a stateroom!”
Oscar, Oscar, Oscar
While cruising on Royal Caribbean’s Symphony of the Seas, Haley Harnish experienced a scary announcement: Code Oscar.
“Shortly after noon, we heard an Oscar Oscar Oscar call over the PA system," said Haley. "The Oscar code is for man overboard, so it is the absolute last one you want to hear. We had just been seated in Izumi for a sushi and sake pairing, and everybody around us was distressed. The staff did a wonderful job keeping the lunch flowing, even though I'm sure they were just as worried.
"We could feel the ship slow and stop, and about ten minutes later, she turned around and headed back south. The captain announced about midway through lunch that there was an overboard situation and the Coast Guard was involved. The running track on deck 5 was closed to guests so that rescue operations could be activated from that portion of the ship.
"The captain made another announcement around 1 PM, this time telling us that a guest had claimed a person was in the water. To account for everyone on the ship, all guests had to go to the dining room to scan their SeaPass cards. Crew members were to do the same.
"Luckily, my guest and I were first in line to be scanned. It was a fairly easy process, like getting off the ship for an excursion. Then we were directed through the dining room to an emergency door and out onto the running track, up a set of stairs, and onto the Boardwalk.
"The captain let us know just after 3 PM that all crew and guests were accounted for. We had to wait about 30 minutes more to be cleared by the Coast Guard, as they had sent a helicopter to scan the area. At 3:40 PM, we were cleared.
"This situation made us delayed going to Perfect Day at CocoCay, as we did not arrive until about 12:30 PM. However, we were all very relieved that this was the only negative outcome of the day!”
A surprise guest in our cabin
When boarding Liberty of the Seas, Nicole Feist and her husband were notified of someone else listed on their cabin.
“As we were scanning our SeaPass card to go up the ramp to the ship, we were asked where ‘Lisa’ was," Nicole explained. "We told them that we didn't know a Lisa, and we were the only two assigned to our room. The person scanning had us move to the side and get a supervisor over to check out what the issue was.
"On their system, it was showing that all three of us were assigned to the same cabin. They told us that they would look into the issue and we were fine to board, so we went ahead and got on the ship.
"My husband headed to Guest Services to see if they knew what the issue was. It turned out that Lisa was from the previous sailing and hadn't yet closed out her onboard account. That was why she was still showing as assigned to our room! We kept an eye on our account, and luckily we didn't get any of her charges placed on it.”
Late-night false alarm
During the mandatory muster drill, you never expect to actually hear the ship’s alarm during your cruise vacation.
Onboard Adventure of the Seas, Matt Hochberg was enjoying himself in the pub when all of a sudden, the alarms sounded.
“Once the alarm went off, crew members instructed us to go to our muster stations," Matt explained. "It was 11:20 PM, and my kids were in Adventure Ocean. Being on the Promenade, we were close to our station so we were among the first out to the station. In fact, we beat a lot of the crew members out there.
"All this time, the alarm was repeating. A few minutes later the alarm stopped and the captain came on the intercom to let us know it was a false alarm. The crew later told us something was up because when the alarm goes off in drills, they expect to hear an announcement after the first time the alarm is sounded.”