The Worst Cruise Ship Disasters 

Katherine Ripley
Updated August 15, 2019 71.7k views 16 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. Injuries and fatalities abound.

After you read this list, you'll probably think twice about going on that cruise to the Caribbean next winter. 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
Viking Sky: Lost Power I... is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Worst Cruise Ship Disasters
Photo:  @Sigmje/Twitter

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. 

Titanic: Hit an Iceberg
Titanic: Hit an Iceberg ... is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Worst Cruise Ship Disasters
Photo: Willy Stower/Wikimedia Commons
Though Titanic wasn't technically a cruise ship, its demise is the worst maritime accident in history. The ship, which was supposed to be unsinkable, hit an iceberg and went under. About 1,500 people died.
Costa Concordia: Ran Aground
Costa Concordia: Ran Agr... is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Worst Cruise Ship Disasters
Photo:  Rvongher/via Wikimedia Commons
In January 2012, the Costa Concordia ran aground on a reef off the coast of Italy and tipped over. Thirty-two passengers died, 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
S. S. Eastland: Tipped O... is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Worst Cruise Ship Disasters
Photo: Wikimedia Commons
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 died in the accident.