We have written a couple of articles about the recent incident when Carnival’s Ecstasy cruise ship heavily listed in the Gulf of Mexico, injuring 60 passengers and frightening many hundreds more. 

Carnival Ecstasy - Listing - Bouy?  -  Or Sand Bar?We received a message from one of the passengers on the cruise, suggesting that the Carnival cruise ship was about to hit a sand bar which was marked by a buoy.  And the cruise line is covering up the true circumstances of the incident.  Here is the message:   

"I was on that cruise. There was a buoy, but the buoy was there marking a sand bar that we almost ran aground on!! The land mass was on the radar. You can see the radar, direction and course of the ship on one of the channels in each cabins TV. The ship made a NINETY DEGREE TURN!! You dont do that to avoid a buoy! I was also told by a crew member that someone on the bridge was getting fired over the mistake. The cruise line is covering its butt!!"

But Carnival’s PR person Jennifer de la Cruz told CNN "the ship listed 12 degrees to the right to avoid hitting a large, adrift buoy . . ." 

Who is telling the truth?  There are also some comments on Cruise Critic debating this.  One reader posted this comment: 

"Hmmm.. Not buying the official story. I was on the ship, and minutes before the sharp turn we were near a TV in the Rolls Royce cafe where they show the position of the ship on a map, speed, etc.  We noticed the ship was heading directly towards 2 very small (submerged?) islands on the map . . . and no one on board is buying this "phantom buoy" story . . .   

Carnival Ecstasy - Buoy? - Accident - List 

But another Cruise Critic reader suggested that the cruise ship was in water several thousands of feet deep.

So what really happened? 

Was there really a loose buoy floating around? Or was the buoy marking a navigational hazard?  Are there really sand bars (or reefs) in the middle of the Gulf of Mexico, 200 miles off of the coast of Louisiana?

What are the exact coordinates of the incident?

The U.S. Coast Guard will be investigating, but it will take some time to get to the bottom of the incident.  Are there other passengers who know what really happened? 

Does anyone have a photo of the phantom buoy?

Let us hear from you in the comment section below . . .   

Carnival Ecstasy Cruise Ship - Empty Pool Following List - Buoy?


There are many videos on the internet regarding the listing incident.  The video below is raw video from a reporter with the Galveston County Daily:   




Be sure to read our updated article: Carnival Ecstasy Listing Update: Smooth Sailing to Chaos & Confusion and Carnival Mocks Injured and Traumatized Cruise Passenger Complaints As "Completely Ridiculous"


Photograph credits:

Ecstasy cruise ship        Carlos Javier Sanchez, Bloomberg News / Getty Images (via AOL News)

Injured passenger and empty pool        Brandy and Ashley Vickery (via ABC13 "Sixty Passengers Hurt on Galveston-Based Cruise Ship") 

Video interview of passengers  Galveston County Daily

  • cory

    I was on that ship. I kept telling everyone that there was something they were hiding. The list of the boat was approximately 40-45 degrees and it was MUCH more violent than Carnival’s press statements have indicated. The swimming pool dumped over half the water in it out and the people in the pool were dumped out and went sliding across the deck with such speed that their bodies uprooted and broke at least 5 tables that were bolted to the deck. I was in the main buffet area and the crew members were even panicked. You know it is a bad situation when the crew is climbing over tables and knocking passengers out of the way in an effort to get out on deck. There were many people injured to the degree that they required further treatment.

  • E. Tyler

    I, also, was on the Ecstacy. I was in my stateroom on the Riveria deck. When the ship began to list, I looked out our window and saw the wake where the ship was turning sharply. In the middle of the wake’s turn, I did see a bouy in the water. I couldn’t see it very well, but I could see something sticking out of the water. Because there was not really anything to gauge the size by, I couldn’ tell you how large it was. When I immediately went out of my stateroom and spoke to other passengers, I told them that I had seen something that we appeared to be avoiding. This was before I heard the official announcement by the captain.

  • judy burton

    I was on that ship and I don’t think 12% could possibly be enough tilt to to account for what I experienced. Two people I talked to on board said they went to the observation deck to get information as to what had happened and NOBODY was there. I believe that a big mistake was made in that crew members ( supposedly 8 drivers) were called away at the time of the accident. There was a fire drill that required some and a briefing about departure that required some of them schedualed at the same time. I believe there was nobody at the helm. One passenger said the bouey marked a popular scubba diving area that he had been to in the past. I think they are covering up the fact that the auto pilot was attempting to keep us from running aground. I was in the Lido buffey area on the tenth floor with food on my tray. There was a strange slight angle that made me turn to look outside then a huge roar from the engine that went on as the ship suddenly turned up on one side very quikly. The window that I could see out of showed noting but water with no horizon showing. I tried to grab a pole and hang on as I thought we were going over. Everyone was screaming and food dishes and tables wereflying through the air. It was second by second then the engine stopped and it gradually returned to almost even. It never really was quite even for the rest of the ride. it felt sluggish and looked a little lower in the water. I think the first tilt was an encounter with a shoul and the auto pilot (because no on was steering) compensated to push us away and it was too strong (probably better than grounding) and then turned itself off when we hit deeper water. It was food and terrified people evereywhere you looked. I don’t know how my tray vanished or my sister( only one step in front of me could have ended up at the opposite side of the boat in the time it took me to look up out the window. One man said his 8 year old son was in the pool at the time and the child flew over him in the pool water and landed near the windows. When we arrived men came out immediately and began welding near the bottom. Tables made of stone and steel were upside down some were broken in two. The wait crew was as scared as we were and several told me they had never experienced anything like that in all thier years at sea. They were told to muster some time afterward and I think that was the(get the story all together meeting. They were like a miracle putting it all clean and right very quickly. They worked all through the night and the next day. Those workers on that ship deserve halos. I think the 12% listing fits only in a fairy tale and has nothing to do with the nightmare we lived.No none came on the intercom for a long time to explain anything. How could they if they didn’t know because they most likley wern’t at the helm to see.

  • C. Spencer

    The tilt seemed to be more like 30 degrees. Our cabin neighbor was out on the balcony next to ours, on the high side of the ship, when the ship tilted. He saw the buoy as the ship passed by it and claimed the buoy was very close.

  • Jim Walker

    Thanks for everyone’s comments.

    Other passengers have commented on YouTube:



    Sounds scary . . .

    Jim Walker

  • Bob Ventimiglia

    My wife and I were on the aft Serenity deck when I noticed we were turning, but level. Then the turn got steeper and we started to list. Wasn’t a bad location to be in as nothing hit us as chairs, recliners, and glasses came tumbling down and the hot tubs spilled over. At first I thought the list hit 30 deg, but then did some re-visualization (I’m an engineer) and thought it was more like 15-20 deg. Seems larger with the amount of distance that gets traversed by the height and width of the ship.
    After we righted I saw good sized waves breaking along the path we had been on. I thought that was strange because we were out in the middle of the gulf and have always thought waves were caused by shallower water and said to others that I thought there was a reef or shoal out there that we avoided. Then the announcements of a buoy started, but seeing the waves still puzzles me.

  • connie sanders ford

    I was on the promanade outside deck when the incident happened and we could see all the devastation going on they was a woman pushing a lady in a wheel chair trying to get through the door and people wouldnt let her through my husband stopped a man and asked him to help get her through the door and they did. So many people where falling and running to avoid dishes glasses and condiments, etc; I was going to find my children who were also traveling with us adults. I slipped and twisted my left knee and have been in pain since I will go see my doctor as soon as I can get an appointment I didn’t report anything to anyone because you didn’t know where to go any way there were people on the floors bleeding and in worse shape than me, nobody asks how you were

    The higher ups the crew were trying to handle a bad situation and did a good job, we were lied to and someone was not doing their job we stay on our side for 3-4 minutes at least we could have capsized very easily my husband is an ex navy man of 40 years and knew someond didn’t do some kind of correcting, there is more then what is beeing told.

    The truth should come out.

    Connie Sanders Ford

  • Matt W

    I was on the Verandah deck at the waterslides. I’d say the ship listed about 20 degrees. The deck chairs actually started to slide on the deck. My 5-year-old was at the top of the waterslide. I thought we were going down. Very scary. This all happend right when we were passing what looked like a shoal according to the navigational map that they show on the ship’s TVs.

  • Zoe Morrow

    We were on this ship also and there is no way it was only 12 degrees. We were on the main lido deck sitting in lounge chairs by the pool. When the pool dumped out the water carried my chair backwards before I could even get out of it. My lawn chair unbolted one of the tables and broke the table top. I was smashed up against the window and then pinned by other lawn chairs and people. Then the pool water built up and was actually over my head for about ten seconds, I really thought I was going to drown. I ended up with giant bruises all down my legs (I didn’t even know that your skin could turn some of these colors), one swollen knee, and scared to death. Carnival wouldn’t even replace people’s drinks that had spilled when the pool emptied. People on the news were saying that it was so nice how quickly the crew cleaned it all up, but I think they acted so quickly so that no one could take pictures.

  • s clift

    I was on the ship with my wife, our first cruise, our eldest son and daughter-in-law, their second cruise. we had just come up from our cabin on u deck, my daughter-in- kim having changed into her swim suit. we were headed into the rear dining area, headed around to the pominade deck. just as we stepped into the hall way leading to the dining area, there was a jolt and everyone side stepped alittle to the left, and someone joked something about drinking. then a split second later the ship rose up more and made a moaning noise. we were headed around the food service tray line, and someone hollered sunomi, someone else hollered it was nothing to worry about. then the ship started going up and up and people and food trays started flying, i was seperated from my family. my wife and son and daughter-in-law made it around to the other side of the food service area, and into the inner hall where my wife fell and slid eight to ten feet slammed into the start of the food service line. I was trying to get to the other side, when a lady came flying past me and I grabbed her and steaded her down. and started again when another lady came by and again I stopped her. I was half way around, and when I looked to my right and there was one server guy trying desperate to hold down the food containers in the steamer, when the ship pushed up more and the food trays and hot water came out and hit this poor guy right in the face he went down out of site. i made it around the corner and my son was holding the outer door open. was hollering at his wife who was helping get my wife up, to get to the door. I hollered to get to the railing and finally made it to the outer door and my son yelled what are we going to do. i said this thing is going on over, and if it did, we had to climb over the rail and run up the outside to the bottom, the life boats would have been worthless being locked down. and we had no lifejackets as they are stored in your room. the only thing there was. was one of those ring floats with a light attached to it next to me. so we held on and people were screaming and kids crying everyones eyes were like golf balls, even the crews. people were helping each other and it was like five or so minutes then the ship started down and the other side rose, slowly, back and forth several times and I dont care what anyone else says I know it rose at least thirty degrees at the height of the first list. I looked back and saw the wake of the ship to the rear it looked like we turned within a city block ninety degrees. but I never saw the marker bouy. I looked back to the front and seen water dumping over the side like a waterfall. later I spoke to several crew members not the guys in the white uniforms didnt see any of them till the day we came into port. I mean the regular crew. I ask one if he knew how far we had listed he said thirty two degrees. and that they the crew, were told if it ever went that far, it would go on over because theres only twenty-nine feet below water and hundred some on top, so it becomes top heavy. they didnt know why it didnt.. we worked our way to the pomanade deck from the outside. and seen this poor guy who had tryed to save his wife from a falling metal stand and received a severe cut on his arm i think they said required 55 stitches. we talked to several people we had come to know and each had a very interesting story to tell. my wife went to the medical got checked out for her hurt hip. and seen several hurt people. what was odd was after things settled down the people were setting around the deck in shock and they started playing the theme from gillians island. which most of us didnt find too funny. with people still cleaning up glass and blood and food and whatever, now my son and I are big men six four two hundred forty pounds, but, I will tell you, scared you bet and anyone says different that day at that moment is not being truthful. fault who knows? probably never find out, but two little islands out in the middle of a great big ocean like the gulf and shown on the ships map. and were within five miles of it, that would still be to close for comfort…

  • Shirley Shaw

    We were on ship also. We were on Lido deck, the table we were sitting around broke loose when the pool empty out on us. The force of the water pushed and trapped me in some chairs and broken tables. My husband had to pull all that off me to get me up. I was in waist high water. When we could go back to stateroom I took a picture of tv showing the shouls. When you zoom in it looks like ship came in contact with shoul. We don’t think Carnival has told the truth.

  • Jim Walker

    Thanks for everyone’s comments.

    Ms. Shaw – can you email or mail us a photo of the TV showing the shouls?

    Thanks –

    Jim Walker

  • Ocale

    My wife and I were in the back of the ship just sitting down to lunch. I noticed the ship stating to lean. I told my wife this wasn’t right. Thats when we heard the loud roar from the back of the ship and everything started to shake. Then it listed faster. There is no way that was a twelve degree list. We looked to the low side and saw water. My wife and I thought it was going over when everything that was not fastened down (chairs,trays,dishes,people)started falling our way. Outside the window where we were sitting was two people in wheel chairs. I’ll never forget the look of fear on their faces. Thank God people helped them in. I grabbed my wifes hand and headed to the high side of the ship. People were screaming crying,one lady was crying she couldn’t find her child and a passenger helped her. We made our way to the lido deck where our muster station was and it was chaos with people and the water from the pool,tables in a mess. We found the rest of our family members and all stayed together. One crew member stopped to try and calm my wife, as she left she met another crew member and broke down crying.

    Heres what pisses me off, when you go on these cruise ships and they run you through this drill in case of an emergency it gives you confidence that all will be well. Then you have an incident like this with no sirens or ships whistle to warn you and you see the crew as panicked as everyone else thats scary.

    I don’t believe what Carnival is stating is true and it makes me angry that they are trying to brush it off as a minor incident. There were a lot of people hurt not to mention the trauma they caused to hundreds of people. It took hours to calm my wife down and she layed awake the whole last night of the cruise.

  • Terri

    I was there and agree it was much worse that the authorities are reporting. I have never been so scared in my life. The fact the ship didn’t go over and no one fell overboard is a miracle! I couldn’t sleep that last night either. I didn’t want to be in the room. I wanted to be home. I am still emotionally drained from the incident. I was in the dining room on the side going down. We were just commenting on how calm and pretty the water was, like a mirror. Then i said, why am i starting to feel like I need my Dramamine? That would be because the ship had just started listing and that marked the beginning of what people have already described clearly above. We didn’t hear a word or warning for some time after…i thought the captains/crew had been murdered or held hostage and it was the beginning of a terrorist seige or something. You know they took all that time to say anything because they needed to get their story straight! What a freaking nightmare!

  • Chris King

    I talked to someone at my dinner table and his room was in the aft of the ship whit a Balcony. He said he saw a buoy pop up when everything was going on. The problem is the buoy he described was a marker buoy was a typical buoy marking shallow water or reef. That tabled with the fact that we had been headed, all day long, toward a shallow reef marked clearly on the on board map, I think someone dropped the ball. There are several pictures on line that show the path of the ship right after the maneuver. Also the list was not 12 degrees like they said, it was at least 30 and more like 35. A 12 degree list would not have done that much damage nor emptied out most of the pool. I did wonder why many things were not bolted down like the alcohol cabinets. Every ship I have been on has done this to avoid injury and breaking things. In closing I must say the crew did a great job cleaning up and making sure the passengers were okay. I can also say it was good luck we had so many knowledgeable nurses on board willing to help. The only problem I have with this is that we were not told the truth.

  • Dharmesh

    We were on this cruise as well, we had our 11 month old with us and were in the lido deck. My wife was sitting with her cousins, luckily my daughter was in her lap when this happened. The ship started to list and first i thought this might be normal and will come back, but it kept on going. The stroller flew on the window on the lido deck, had my daughter in there, it would have really injured her. I was in the burger line and I grabbed the pole on the deck and was leaning on it, while my wife and daughter away from me grabbed a railing and started walking on the other end. The worst part about this is I was not there to help them when this happened. The 12 degree listing is a lie, 12 degree does not empty half the water in the pool and hot tub. Carnival needs to pay for this.

  • Diedra Hoffman

    This was the worst thing I have experienced.
    I have been on a cruise before on Royal Caribbean – I was already comparing this ship and food and the beds ETC… to the RC cruise I had taken – which was uncomparable this ship smelt like sewer, the decor was SO bad, the beds felt like a pull out couch bed – that’s all besides the point at this point.

    My husband and I were eating our sandwiches out on the rear left dining deck behind the dining room over looking the hot tubs… I took my first bite and thought to myself this is so cool, the water is SO calm – perfection! By my third bite I felt our side of the boat rising… thinking oh maybe they are turning.. but the boat didn’t settle back out – we kept rising! I looked around freaking out, said to my husband (who’s always Mr. Optomistic) lets get up… this is werid! He said no everything’s okay just calm down – as he said that the ketchup, mustard and salt & pepper flew off our table onto the hot tub deck below – I looked down and all I see is a man thrown from the hot tub – I screamed and ran holding my husbands arm so tight he has a bruise still today. My instinct was get inside away, of course that was stupid – we were right by the life boats. We held each other and onto a pipe to keep steady as the boad regained level sailing.

    I can not get over the fact that there was no warning, buzzer, “Please brace yourself”, nothing! We looked around and asked crew members what’s going on what do we do where do we go & all we got was “I don’t know!!!” And it seemed that when the “cruise director” got on the speaker he was almost joking around, didn’t have an ounce of worry, panic, concern in his voice!

    I also took pictures of the TV that showed the “islands” that we almost hit we seriously were like… too close to them! I also heard a lady while we were tipping say “look out there I see land!” I was just too scared to look over at anything.

    I can’t say this is making me not want to cruise again, but the way it was handled, the over-all experience before this, and the lack of any real remorse from Carnival has really made me think twice, and be thankful to be alive!

  • Heather W

    I too was on the cruise, and just as everyone else stated we to were discussing the objects on the TV screen. That morning early my husband and I were stating that we were hoping someone was watching out for those objects that we were heading straight for on the screen. My husband and I were on the Lido deck when we had the INCIDENT. My daughter who is three was on the top deck on the slide with her nanna and I ran just hoping she wouldnt slide through the bars off the boat. Wow after the fact, looking back on how safe the top deck was for having the childrens area, I wouldnt let my child go back up there. Nothing but a small railing that the children could easily slide right through. I am not buying the lies they are telling either, I think no one was watching. If anyone watched the programs shown on TV in the staterooms they show that there are three sets of eyes watching on the bridge at all times. Not buying it!!! Also I dont know if he was putting on an act, but I was watching the debarkation program and the Captain was on stage and stated that he was a steward in the dining room just four years ago!?!?! Do they let people with no experience Captain these boats? I dont know if anyone else watched this program but I was shocked to hear him say that! The list happened at 12:55 and my husband took video of the TV screen in our stateroom sometime around 2 and it shows very clearly that the turn occurred right at the “islands or shoals” or what ever it is.

  • Langston williams

    I was on the cruise. At the time of the incident I was in the cafeteria area. All I remember was stuff flying everywhere. I have a video of what was shown on the screen on our tvs in the bedrooms. If I can see this, what was the captain doing. We had just finished our debarkation meeting about 10-15 minutes before.

  • William Harris

    What a ride. My wife and I were lounging in the adult deck at the stern of the ship when it all took place. At the peak of the list, water was pouring out of the two hot tubs, drinks were falling from the tables, and people were screaming, including me. Personally, I did not see a buoy, wave, nor shoals. However, I will never buy their explanation for what happened. If we need to worry about loose, partially sunken buoys, that are only detected by eye sight, then why does a ship sail at night, rain, or fog? It is no doubt in my mind they are covering up a very near fatal mistake. Please keep us posted on your findings.

  • Cindy Tipton

    I was also on that ship and I think I get madder each day at the way it was handled. I don’t understand why they are lying when they know that a huge number of passengers saw the montiors and know that we almost hit land. I e-mailed them but did not get a response. Of course, I didn’t expect to either.
    I would like to know if anybody who had that tv screen on video sent it to the Coast Guard. I think they should see that and they should be fined big time!! They put 3,000 peoples life in danger because of their error and won’t even own up to it.

  • Kathy Shoalmire

    I, too, was on the boat. I was on the Lido deck. My sister, friend, and I had just finished lunch on the rear deck. We walked into the grill when the tilt started. We proceeded from the doorway (on the port side) and made it to about halfway. We were on the high side and all I could see was water. People were screaming, dishes were crashing – my friend was screaming because she can’t swim. She was hanging on to me for dear life and I started moving about on the outside deck and then to the swimming pool area in hopes of finding her a life jacket. There were NO VISIBLE lifejackets. Also, it concerned me that there were no visible AED’s. I strongly question the safety practices of the Ecstasy.

  • Janie Kimmes

    I was on the cruise. At the time of the incident I was in the cabin. There were 10 of us traveling together. None of us were hurt. 4 of us were in the cabin and 6 were at the Lido Deck. There were a lot of people hurt not to mention the trauma that caused to hundreds of people. In the positive side for Carnival…. you have to admit that they had everything under control within 30 minutes. The pool was filled with water, the music was on, plenty of food was provided at the buffet line within minutes. The Cruise Line OR ANY Large Corporation company will not provide the whole truth. The first thing that people do is a LAWSUIT. One of my friends was charged $2.19 for four asprins. They are in for the money, Cruise lines or any Company.

  • Ok everyone look, The list was not 45o. There is no way the Centripetal force involved here can attribute to that severe of a list. Just remember when the Crown Princess had her list. Passengers were freaking out saying that it was 45-50o when NTSB investigation uncovered it was 24o.

    Also, there are no shoals in the middle of the Gulf of Mexico!

  • Jim Walker

    Does anyone have the exact coordinates of the incident?

  • AM Pressley

    I have a picture of the tv’s radar over an hour after it happened. Two masses are clearly visible in the Gulf, and the ship’s course right over the edge of the first mass is also visible. What e-mail address should I send the picture to? I could not upload the picture to this comment section. We also feel that the ship was on autopilot and there is negligence in the action of Carnival.

  • Cory

    Jim, I have a pic of the navigational screen moments after the incident. I’ll email it to you.

  • Pat Maxwell

    What a load of CRAP! An island/sand bar/cover up…..what a LOAD> Someone trying to get rich over nothing, more do nothing, worthless law suits and lawyers. They will sue you for nothing so this should not suprise me. Big cruise line, saving lives, tilted the ship…..sure lets sue the heck out of them.

    What a load

  • Clint Heard

    I was down in my room with the baby when the boat started tipping. It was PURE PANIC on the boat. When I came out of the room, the room attendand opened the exterior room door across the hall to see that the window which should be above water was submerged. He was frighteded and told me in the 10 years he has never seen that. At that point, I decided I was getting off the boat. I ran up 4 flights through the panic with the baby to get to a life boat. The screaming, panic and glass breaking was incredible. My wife was at a carnival sales offer down near the gift shops, bar and duty free store. Her main panic was not being with the baby and not able to swim. I know I couldn’t go down in the room and sleep the last night as many others couldn’t as well.

    I travel almost every week and have had a couple close calls however this was a new kind of fear that the titanic experience created. Someone should really find out the truth about what happened. I thought Carnval would have thrown us a bone for a discount or something to consider trying this again.

  • In Google Earth it appears to be at these coordinates:


    Oh and a depth of 3432 metres

    Just found this on cruise critic. I am not taking credit for this but wanted to share the information!

  • In Google Earth it appears to be at these coordinates:


    Oh and a depth of 3432 metres

    Just found this on cruise critic. I am not taking credit for this but wanted to share the information!

  • jackie devers

    please e-mail me the pictures. my family is going on the cruise in sept.

  • Jonathan Martinez


  • Cindy

    We were on this cruise as well. It was our 4th and my Mom’s 1st. The water was the calmest this cruise we have ever experienced. My husband was in the cabin on the Riviera deck and my Mom and I were on the Lido deck waiting for the ice carving to begin. We were on the side opposite of the tilt. We were lucky enough to be sitting near one of the poles when the list started and grabbed onto the pole to keep from falling into the side of the ship that was going toward the water.

    Tables, chairs, dishes and PEOPLE were flying everywhere. One elderly lady fell near us and tumbled all the way to the opposite side and hit the side of the ship. I have never felt any one shake as terribly as my Mom or look so terrified. That is something I will never forget.

    I am definitely not a mathmetician, but there is NO way we listed 12 degrees as Carnival reports. It had to be more like 30. As the ship began to right itself it seemed that it over corrected and went the opposite way and then leveled out. There were passengers and some staff yelling to everyone not to go inside the ship but to stay on top. We ran to the outer deck where my Mom’s muster station was and waited with many other passengers but did not see any of the crew. Although we were okay I was still scared to death because I didn’t know if my husband had made it okay. After a few minutes we went in and made our way down to find my husband who had already left the cabin and had came up to try to find us.He couldn’t get up the stairs because everyone up on the high decks were going down. He said he was lying down and felt the ship shift and knew something was not right. Our room was on deck 4 and he said when he looked out the window all he could see was water. The crew did a great job of getting things cleaned up, but for me the damage was done. It was the longest 19 hours back to port that I have ever been through. Buoy – shoal – island…whatever it was should have been avoided. In fact at 11:45 am that morning we were finishing up a behind the scenes tour that went to the bridge with the Captain, a junior office and the Quartermaster while they showed us the sonar, radar and GPS. He told us these three systems could pick up anything within miles – so anything of significance should have been noticed well in advance of having to make such a dramatic turn. I still don’t feel we were told the complete truth.

    How long does it generally take for the Coast Guard to complete its investigation?

  • anne

    I think it was something else! Maybe it was the secret submarine that blew up the oil tower getting away! Maybe i watch too many movies!

  • Lora Darnell

    I have a question for Pat Maxwell… A load of crap are you kidding me? Were you there? I do not believe anyone is shouting lawsuit!!!! OMG!! My husband and myself were on this cruise as well as the other passengers here. First they said 5 degrees now its 12 degrees. Will the truth ever come out? Probably not! Not if Carnival can avoid it!!!!! I was on Empress on the inside of ship right by the glass elevator in the main lobby. The bar by guest relations almost half of bottles of liquor broke 3/4 of the bar glasses. Above me broken glass sounds from liqour store … (I have pictures of the liqour stores disarray) I held onto the metal support in the hallway, people screaming everywhere …. This boat was in the air for an eternity (Probably a couple of minutes?) How it kept from going over? Well I do believe in angels I am glad ours as passengers were with us!!! They never even did roll call to make sure everyone was still on board? I wrenched my back never complained knew others needed serious medical attention. Cleanup did happen quickly. No one even came over intercom for more than 20 minutes.

    Carnival is covering up on this mishap!!! Tell the TRUTH Carnival send us an e-mail let us know? All Carnival has sent me via email is a 10% off deal to buy room items? Duvet covers? Pillows? Really???? No one ever checked individuals to see how they were afterwards? I am glad I was not on the pool decks or in the dining room!!!! Cruise was wonderful before incident this was my first cruise. May be the last…. Our waitstaff was excellent! Food Great! Memorable? Certainly was!

  • Kelly C

    I was in the gift shop on the 8th deck when the incident ocurrred. It seemed we listed slightly left first, enough that I left my selections on the counter to go look outside, but by the time I got out to the open atrium area, we went to starboard…yes it was starboard and not port as stated in our letter… so violently, I grabbed one of the structural metal poles to hold on. I saw water coming up at me, and it felt like we might go over. Shelves in the shops were falling, glass was breaking in the bars and all the photos diplayed on the deck above were falling around me. It was surreal, like a disaster movie. Everyone panicked, including the employees. Once we had stabilized somewhat, I made my way to my muster station on the next deck, then up to the pool area. I wish I had had the presence of mind to take pictures. I really was somewhat in shock, i guess. There were crew members with gurneys, people bleeding and crying- it was crazy. I’m a pretty laid back person. I work in a high stress job and deal with crises daily. I don’t get excited over much, and I was rattled. I can’t imagine how people with small kids or the elderly and disabled passengers must have felt. I was frustrated by length of time it took them to make an announcement about what had occurred, and when they did it was something like “we just swerved to miss a buoy, we’re not sinking so everyone get out on the decks and enjoy the beautiful day at sea”- WTF was that? People were traumatized at that point. I can tell you the cruise director was as well. I ran into him about an hour later, and he still looked shell shocked. As far as the crew, they did an awesome job on clean up and getting things back to normal. I had a drink in my hand in under two hours, and it was badly needed. What I want to hear out of the investigation is who was supposed to be driving BEFORE we had to make an emergency maneuver? I give them credit for turning like that and not turning us over, but my thoughts are it never should have happened in the first place. And by the way, for all those with opinions of what a non event it was and how we are all over-reacting…shut the front door…you weren’t there!! I don’t want to try to own Carnival, but I do think a pro-rated refund for the last 18 hours is in order, and all I came away with was some glass in my hand and a few bruises. Thanks for the opportunity to vent!

  • Abn Msn

    Dear people, you will never know what really happen there on Ecstasy. I was also there and heard a lot of stories … one of them came from bridge, that somebody switch on autopilot button, and left…maybe for a coffe or who knows why…then another pesron came and switch off the same button. Captain came in the last moment and saw what happen, and put the ship in normal position. The person that did mistake was send on the training only, horrible ….. we could all died because of that! I hope people will think about traveling with shipsin the future…I dont blame anybody IF that was a human mstake …. hopefully, not more than that! I rather write about stories like that than be part of them! 🙁

    In few minutes, 10 or 20, we could all died, even captain said that…

    Maybe there was something in the water but why everybody who is working on this ship talk about auotpilot??????? !!!!! Think…

  • Abn Msn

    I am sorry to tell you that it was probbaly a human mistake. I was in elivator with a captain one minute before the incident happen. I went to work and he went to the bridge on duty. Why somebody touched autopilot button I dont know, cause it was beautifull day so they thought the ship can drive by himself?! Horrible, what about two islands???! Nobody even noticed them,who was on the duty? Who went for a coffie break?! We will never know if that was the truth, that somebody switch on and off autopilot button…and why?! Askcaptain what really happened??????!!!!!!! We have been lucky that he came on the bridge cause nobody died…

  • Bill D.

    Well, it’s easy to identify posters who were actually on the ship as opposed to those who just want to trivialize the incident.

    I was there – IT WAS HORRIFYING AND TRAUMATIC – and we are lucky there weren’t more injuries and very lucky that we didn’t all go to a watery grave.

    And yes it did list to the starboard side, not port side as the Carnival Clowns seem to think. I too would like to know how long it might take for the Coast Guard to do its investigation and whether the evidence is subject to being altered by Carnival beforehand.

    I am tired of the BIG LIE!

  • Gayle

    Hi, I just happened to get to your website and was reading about all the passengers’ account of what happened. I was on that cruise and I have to say that they were all right on. Everything I told my family and friends, I see that everyone had the exact same story as me. Especially, the “why didn’t they see this ahead of time?” I, too, took a picture of the tv showing those “islands.”

    I do have a question for you. Will the coast guard investigate this and release their findings soon or is this something that may never happen? I would love for the media to see all the comments that came in on your website. The news, as well as many others, do not have a clue as to how horrifying this ordeal was. Anyway, do you foresee that this will come out as to what really happened? We all think it is a cover-up / lie.

    I sure hope the truth will come out.

    That was our first cruise and my first vacation in 10 years. I feel now like I need another one. I was so relaxed, but after that happened, I felt more stressed out than before I started the much needed vacation.



  • Jim Walker

    Thanks for eveyone’s comments.

    There is no way that the cruise ship listed only 12 degrees.

    The “we-couldn’t-see-the-buoy” excuse also seems dubious.

    The Coast Guard’s report will probably come out this Fall.

    We will continue to cover the story and we appreciate eveyone’s comments and photos!

    If you were on the cruise and have info, photos or video – please leave a comment . . .


    Jim Walker

  • Marla

    I was on the ship on the 11th deck (Vernanda). I had just come outside from the atrium area. As I was walking around the atrium to door to go outside on deck I realized I could not walk straight and saw that the floor was tilting. As soon at I got outside on the deck the ship really tilted and I would say it would be about 30 degrees. I was on the low side of the ship and I saw the water poor out of the pool and people on the deck chairs go sliding. I could see through the windows on the lido deck and the water seemed to be very close the the windows. I was completely terrified – it seemed as the ship would capsize. My sister injured her arm.

    I talked to a friend who has years of experience going on boats to lay deep water pipelines in the Gulf of Mexico. I asked him how much a ship would have to be listing to pour the water out of the pool and he told me it would be at least 30 degrees. He also said that the ship and it’s navigational equipment would have seen any wayward buoy. Also he told me that a ship that large could have run directly into a buoy and it would have pushed the buoy to the side with it’s wake.

    I also saw the two islands on the tv in my room that morning. I checking to see where the ship was. At that time we were still some distance from the islands. I remember thinking it was strange that there would be islands in water that was that deep.

    When the cruise director came on the loud speaker to say we had to turn to miss a buoy I did not believe them. I think there was a buoy marking shallow water near the islands/sandbar and someone was asleep at the wheel. I feel that Carnival was lying to us.

    I went with my sister down to medical because she hurt her arm. There were several people down there. I saw the Captain come outside near the elevators from the medical area. I heard an injured man talking to someone from medical. He may have been one of the people volunteering with patients because he did not seem to be dressed as a member of the crew. The injured man was saying he had back surgery in December. They were about to send him back to his room when they decided to do a neurological test. He pressed his hand against the injured man’s foot to see if he could lift his foot against the pressure. He was unable to lift his right foot. He was then put in a wheelchair and taken into medical. This all took place in the area outside of the medical department next to the elevators.

    As for my sister they put an ice pack on her arm and told her to come back in the morning for an x-ray. When she went down the next morning for the x-ray they kept her waiting for a long time and they did not give her an x-ray only a written report of the medical care she received. When she read the report it said she had received an x-ray. She made them change the report so it would be correct.She went to a neighborhood emergency clinic for an x-ray. She contacted Carnival because she wanted to be reimbursed for medical cost but they refused.

    Also my sister saw the three patients that were supposed to be going to the hospital the morning we docked. They told Carnival they did not want to go UTMB in Galveston and would go to their own medical facility.

    I believe that Carnival’s medical department is not equipped to handle the amount of patients that they had that day. Everything was very chaotic. I am also not sure that it was only 60 people that were injured.

    This was my first cruise and it will be the last cruise I take with Carnival. It will be a long time before I go on a cruise if ever. I had really enjoyed the cruise until this crazy accident.

  • Lana

    Hi. I sailed on the Ecstasy the week after that happened (not knowing it happened until after I got back). After being on the ship, I realize that even a gust of wind can do damamge to someone (I could hardly walk on the top deck). Therefore, any little shift or turn of the ship can cause some major damage. I’m just thinking if it were as BIG of a turn as some people are saying it was, there would have def. been more damamge. I can only imagine people being thrown off their balconies, etc. I think the turn must have seemed much worse while on board then it actually was.

  • Ronnie Taylor

    My wife and I were on this Ecstasy cruise. There were about 50 people in our cruise group. My wife and I had just sat down to eat at the buffet. I noticed my apple and orange were rolling down the table! I grabbed for them then my wife said “Oh, my God!” The lady across from us said “We are going to turn over!” We had heard the loud noise and saw the ceiling shaking, but did not think much about it until we looked to the outside and saw the edge of the ship nearly level to the water. My wife grabbed my hand and we held onto the divider. Then we realized we had better get out the door. My neice and nephew were already outside holding onto the metal bar. I tried to walk but I have a pace maker and my chest was sooo heavy, I could hardly breath! I blacked out momentarily. Someone pushed a chair under me to keep me up off the floor and from getting trampled on. A gentleman gave my wife two nytroglycerins. She shoved them under my tongue. An internist from Houston that was a passenger stayed by my side. I can still hear people screaming and dishes breaking. I saw my entire life flash before me! We were headed for a terifying death! After about 20 minutes or so I tried to get up to walk to our room. I just wanted to get in bed. I was sooo weak. My wife was on one side of me and my nephew was on the other side of me helping me to walk. We made it past the pool and to the doors after the pool. No water was left in the pool or hot tub. The deck was awfully slick. The ships doctor met us at the doors. A lady was in a wheelchair with a cut foot. The ships doctor told her to get up and give me the wheelchair, which was not the right thing to do because her foot was really bloody. We go to get on the elevator and one of the doctors sidekicks tells my wife and nephew that they cannot accompany me to the infirmary. They did anyway. They took me on back and took my blood, gave me two baby aspirins, hooked me up to some machine and put an oxygen mask on me. However, they did not know how to turn on the oxygen! Ran about 8-10 inches of EKG tape.Then shoved the tape in a drawer. People were crying and children were screaming! The Houston internist stayed with me the whole time. His wife was a nurse. She checked in on me,too. The bed was broke. Wouldn’t crank up to sitting position. One other doctor,who was a passenger, checked on me one time. The ships medics were not prepared to handle anything like this situation!Everyone was running around like a chicken with its head cut off! No one else checked on for the 2 hours I was there. I was dismissed and told someone would call/come to check on me later. The ships nurse tried to send me back to my room with the needle still in my arm that was used to take my blood.I was put in a wheelchair and someone wheeled me to my room. No one called me. No one came to check on me.My nose bleed all night long. None of us could sleep! My other nephew was asleep. He was on the fourth floor and was knocked out of bed and landed up against the window. He said all he could see was water. He had a 7 inch cut on his leg but wouldn’t go to the infirmary. Wonder why? Why weren’t we given any warning? We have cruised many times before on this same ship and taken this same route. Never had any trouble. What really happened? I don’t want any FREE coupons or discounts either!This was my last cruise. My wife and I quit flying because we thought crusing was safer! Guess we were wrong.

  • cindet

    Does anyone know a good attorney? I’m in Texas. This was wrong! 50 of us need a lawyer to get reimbursed for our tickets and the money we spent on board! Stress, pain, suffering, PTSD!

  • cindy

    We ought to file a class action suit. Just don’t know how to go about doing that

  • Casey

    When I had heard about this it was very shocking because just one month before this, I had been on the same ship from galveston. I had never been on a cruise before and I was very nervous but it was one of the most relaxing and fun experiences. The ship had planned on stopping in Cazumel but there was major fog and it had messed up our schedule and we were also late coming into the..i forgot what it was called, port?, in Galveston. I plan on going with my family sometime in the future. When I was aboad, the staff was very nice and they did an excellent job to make sure we had a fun vacation. Things like what happened on my cruise and on these peoples cruises will happen and I am thankful everyone survived and that it wasn’t me and my friends!

  • Desera

    When the ship started to list I was at the coffee shop and my husband was at the casino. The large coffee pots were starting to fall off and almost hit the young lady working there. I took off running to get to my husband with glasses breaking and liqour bottles breaking and making the tile wet. i was running slide ways since we were on the side going towards the water. by the time i got to the casino i was running up hill, the crew put us all on one side of the ship to even out the weight which didn’t work. my mother-inlaw and her sister was at the buffett in line. next thing they knew trays and food was flying everywhere and people were falling. my mother in-law uses a walker and when this happened it went across the room with her purse on the seat of it. She fell and hurt her knee but didn’t report it since it was so crazy with people yelling and lots of people bleeding and more hurt than she was. later that night the four of us were on the lido deck with two other couples. and we were the only ones who were out. we didn’t even see any crew members and it wasn’t even midnight yet. being the last night on the ship you would think everyone would of been out having a good time. People were to scared.

    I agree with Cindy’s comment on how we should do a class action lawsuite. If anyone knows how to get one started or if there is one started let me know and the four of us will join in. my e-mail address is

    Please feel free to e-mail me anytime.

  • vickie luttrell

    Has anything ever been done as far as compensation or lawsuite? I also was on this cruise and as a result from the trauma had several health issues and medical exspences.Curious about what, if anything has taken place.

  • A B Rios

    My wife and I, along with her sister and brother-in-law were on that cruise on the 21st. Luckily, none of us got seriously injured, but my in laws were up on the Lido deck when it happened and got pinned by tables, chairs and people that came skidding down the deck out of the pool and lounge chairs. They were up against the windows looking out onto the gulf on the starboard side. My wife and I were telling people in the stairwell to get up top to the Lido deck and telling pinheads to get away from the elevators and use the stairs. Before this incident happened, we were walking back to our cabin and I noticed the channel on the tv was tuned to the ships GPS navagation map. There were two little islands right in front of the ship as depicted on the map. We seriously doubt that it was a bouy that was needed to be avoided! Someone fell asleep at the wheel up on deck! I wrote to Carnival’s corporate headquarters to see if we were going to be compensated in any fashion, but all I got was a “sorry, but we hope to see you on board again in the near future.” email in reply. I was under the impression that if a class action lawsuit is filed, the law office is obligated to get a list of all passengers on board that day and contact them to notify them about the lawsuit. We are keeping all of the documentation for that cruise on file, just in case we have to prove we were on that ship!

  • Mich

    I was just reading all these comments as I prepare to take a cruise on the Ecstasy. I hate to tell everyone but there WAS in fact a large submerged buoy in the water. I work for a port and buoy caused quite a few problems for the shipping industry. If you don’t believe it, check with the Coast Guard.

  • the captian stated that the ship listed to the port, Iwas in the navy for a long time.Ididnot learn much,but one thing I did learn that port is to your left. and starbord is to your right. the ship listed to your right les ford

  • Cindy

    Has the Coast Guard report came out? Who will determine what really happened?

  • judycrockett

    So it is a little late for this post, but my husband and I were on this cruise as well we were on the Lido deck as the ship started listing. i held onto the fake palm tree as my husband held onto my waste. We believe this was a captain error as to the happening of this ship listing! We sailed the next year with this ship as it was my husbands 45th high school reunion trip. Told some of the past students what had happened and they were like this are are you doing this trip, yes and a lot of them was their first cruise and a little worried!What has the final outome of this investigation? Never has it been on the news????????

  • JS


    I am an officer for Carnival and was part of the command of the ship during this incident. I am not speaking on behalf of the company–only myself.

    Please accept my apologies for the incident. I realize it must have been terrifying to the passengers and some crew.

    The ship listed to 12 degrees during an evasive maneuver to avoid a buoy. The list was not greater than 12 degrees. I am not surprised by the descriptions of 30 and 40 degrees. The higher up on the ship a person was the more severe the list would have seemed and felt due to the overall height of the ship. At 12 degrees the amount of sideways movement (measured as the moment arm) on higher decks is extremely pronounced. The crew in the lowest decks still experienced 12 degrees of list but the movement arm was much smaller so seemed much less. I hope I am explaining this well as English is not my first language.

    Please be assured there is always a qualified officer and full bridge staff 24hrs a day and 7 days a week. The bridge is always properly manned even in port. Always. Even though there was a drill there was always proper staff. The only time the bridge is not manned is in dry dock during overhaul. Period.

    The company did not lie about what happened. The problem is most passengers do not know how severe a 12 degrees list is so think it must have been more. Also try to mow a lawn with riding mower on 12 degree hill–you will be surprised how steep you will feel.

    The ship has very sophisticated equipment that records everything on bridge like the same as a black box on airplane. It is not possible to lie or for crew to change this information. Please read report from Coast Guard of US and you will see all of the data and court plot.

    The buoy was too small to see on radar but was seen by bridge in front of ship so evasive maneuver was made. The buoy was a drift and would have under it much chain and cable which maybe would damage the propellers and rudder if we hit it. But, even if we hit it would not puncture hull or make a danger of the ship or passengers.

    The water is very deep. Ok. Also the route we sail is same plot almost identical each time we are on that trip. The course and plot is almost always same unless bad weather or somthing so it was in computer the same as always. There was no sand bar and no divers. The water is more deep than even the best divers can go. The ship even has technology to inform of depth of water under the ship. So please do not think the crew was taking the ship into island or sand bar. That is fiction and story.

    The reason the ship lists in turns is due to centrifugal force. It’s normal. Even small ski boat list when it turn. The faster you are traveling and sharper thr turn thr more the list. After the sharp turn takes place all of the ballast water and such is disturbed and the Engineers must re-balance the ship which takes some time so is why even after the turn was over still some slight list.

    Our fear and only concern is for passenger and crew safety. Dishes and glass and the like can be fixed. Ok. But is the passengers most important.

    I am sorry for the fear and very much for those hurt. Please remember you are on a ship in the ocean or gulf or sea when you take a cruise. Usually is smooth. But we are always moving–not like a hotel on land.

    In the end every passenger and some of less experience crew will say how bad this was but as far as safety of ship to capsize or sink it is not possible in this case or any case like it. As far as the ship stability it may have seem very bad but was very minor for the ship. Just major for the passengers.

    I hope my English is good to explain this. Again I am sorry to all who were scared. I hope you will cruise again and cruise with Carnival.

    All of the best to you all. Thank you