Saga cruise ship: 100 people injured as Spirit of Discovery caught up in storm

  • A passenger on board the cruise explains how the storm affected the ship

A passenger on board a cruise ship that sailed through a storm has described passengers being thrown around and being scared for their lives.

Around 100 people were injured on board Saga's Spirit of Discovery during its roundtrip to the Canary Islands from Portsmouth when severe weather hit in the Bay of Biscay.

Richard was onboard with his elderly parents and explained: "We were left floundering in the centre of this storm where we were advised to go to cabins...people were getting flung all over the place and there were breakages."

Guests were treated on board before the ship arrived back at Portsmouth on Monday evening (6 November).

Spirit of Discovery departed on 24 October on a 14-night ‘Canary Island Quintet’ cruise.

  • The ship was caught in the storm.

As weather conditions started to worsen on day 10, the call to Las Palmas was cancelled and the decision was made to continue onwards to La Coruna to get ahead of the approaching storm.

The ship's crew were then informed the port at La Coruna would be closed and they decided to continue back to the UK earlier than originally planned.

Spirit of Discovery's propulsion safety system was activated in the poor weather causing it to veer suddenly to the left, bringing the vessel to a sudden halt.

Glass smashed on the balcony of the ship.

This led to 100 of the 1,000 guests on board being hurt with the "vast majority" suffering minor injuries.

Five people needed treatment for more serious injuries in the ship's medical facilities, according to Saga Cruises.

Richard, a passenger on board, said: "People were generally scared for their lives. Some had even written texts to their loved ones as they thought they were going to die.

"It was really choppy on Friday night and on Saturday we were getting flung all over the place...There were few injuries with elderly people."

He continued: "We were the only cruise ship in Bay of Biscay, all the others have either postponed their journeys or taken shelter because of the incoming storm."

Nigel Blanks, CEO of Saga Cruises, said: “Spirit of Discovery has arrived safely back in port and all passengers have disembarked and are on their way home.

"We have apologised to all our guests who experienced such difficult weather conditions; we know that this was a very distressing experience for them.

"We operate to the highest health and safety protocols and every decision was made based on advice from the ship’s Master and forecasts from our dedicated marine meteorologists.

"We did everything we could at all times to keep our guests as safe as possible and to support them through the storm, including expert medical attention for those injured. I want to thank our guests for their patience and understanding and all our crew, who went over and above to care for everyone onboard.”

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