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The Worst Cruise Ship Disasters

Updated July 13, 2020 76.9k views16 items

A cruise is supposed to be a week of rest, relaxation, and adventure, but for the people on the cruises on this list, it was a nightmare. This list is full of the worst cruise ship disasters in history, from disease outbreaks, to power outages, to shipwrecks.  

This list will make you think twice about going on that cruise to the Caribbean. Disasters like these are, statistically, not that common. But still, you would not want to be stuck on any of these unfortunate maritime adventures.

  • Viking Sky: Lost Power In Dangerous Waters Off The Coast Of Norway

    March 14, 2019, the Viking Sky set sail off the coast of Norway with more than 890 passengers on board. For unknown reasons, the ship lost power in particularly dangerous waters off the Norwegian coast called Hustadvika. An evacuation team began airlifting passengers to safety via helicopter. The ship rocked in the waves and high winds, causing glass to shatter, heavy objects to fall and slide, and cabins to flood. 

    The ship was stranded for 24 hours before it regained power and was tugged back to shore. Twenty people were injured, everyone's trips were refunded, and the rest of the cruise was canceled. 

  • Photo: Willy Stower / Wikimedia Commons

    Titanic: Hit An Iceberg

    Though Titanic wasn't technically a cruise ship, its demise is the worst maritime mishap in history. The ship, which was supposed to be unsinkable, hit an iceberg and went under. About 1,500 people perished.
  • Costa Concordia: Ran Aground

    In January 2012, the Costa Concordia ran aground on a reef off the coast of Italy and tipped over. Thirty-two passengers perished, 64 were injured, and one was missing and never found. It took a year and eight months to get the ship upright again, and another ten months to get it back to the port to be dismantled. It's the most expensive cruise ship disaster in history.
  • S. S. Eastland: Tipped Over At Port

    The S. S. Eastland was also not technically a cruise ship, but it was hosting more than 2,500 passengers for Western Electric's employee picnic. The ship tipped over while it was still at the edge of the wharf, though it isn't clear why. Over 800 people passed in the mishap.