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Huge wave turnscruise-shipholiday to horror

Passengers on a cruise ship that was struck by a freak seven-story-high wave said Monday that the stormy weather that smashed windows and sent furniture flying reminded them of the Titanic.
/ Source: The Associated Press

When a “Boom!” on a cruise ship awoke him, the first thing that crossed passenger Robert Clark’s mind was “the Titanic.”

In a panic, he and his wife and 7-year-old daughter ran to a reception area and found passengers from flooded cabins, bunched together and wearing life preservers — some of them crying hysterically. They soon discovered that the thunderous disruption was a freak 70-foot wave that smashed windows, sent furniture flying and ripped out whirlpools on the Norwegian Dawn.

“We were going back and forth, up and down. And then, ‘Boom!”’ Clark said.

Clark and his family discussed their ordeal Monday after the Norwegian Dawn, carrying about 2,000 passengers, returned to New York Harbor and docked at its berth on the Hudson River. About 300 other passengers — many from the affected cabins — decided to leave the ship early in Charleston, S.C., and drive or fly home.

Rough seas over weekend
The 965-foot white ocean liner left New York on April 10 and was sailing back to New York from the Bahamas when it was pounded with heavy seas over the weekend. The Norwegian Dawn docked at Charleston for repairs and a Coast Guard inspection before continuing its voyage to New York.

Norwegian Cruise Line said 62 cabins were flooded and four passengers had cuts and bruises. The wave reached seven stories, as high as deck 10 on the ship, company spokeswoman Susan Robison said.

The cruise line said passenger safety “was in no way compromised by this incident.”

Still, Clark said he was eager to leave the ship and return to his home in New York City.

“Why would you go through a storm? Can’t they see it coming? I’m trying not to be angry,” said Clark, a radio production manager.

Free drinks ... then more water
Bill and Ellen Tesauro of Wayne, N.J., went to the ship’s casino when the storm began to take their minds off the weather. “That’s when the captain announced that drinks are free all night,” Bill Tesauro told the Daily News. “But then there was another horrendous slap on the water.”

The couple returned to their suite, where a glass table toppled and a desk went flying across the room. Others woke up to find shoes and magazines floating in a foot of water.

“I thought I heard water sloshing around, and then I woke up and saw it, and it was surreal,” Stacy Maryland of Hamilton, N.J., told the newspaper.

Passengers got a refund of half the trip’s cost and a voucher for half the price of a future cruise, Robison said.