A family cruise aboard a Disney cruise ship turned from fun to terror when the ship encountered Hurricane Sandy. 

The McGee family from Franklin, Tennessee were expecting a great time when they booked a 7 day trip (their first cruise) on the Disney Fantasy to the Caribbean. 

The McGees had fun for the first four days but when the ship tried to sail back to Port Canaveral, Hurricane Sandy turned the vacation into a terrifying journey. "I think it’s only by the grace of God that there wasn’t any serious injury," said McGee. "I would really appreciate it if Disney would say, ‘We made the wrong decision. We shouldn’t have done that to our guests.’"

Disney offered the McGees and other passengers a 25 percent discount on a future Disney vacation, but Ms. McGee believes the Disney staff should have done more to keep the passengers informed and safe.




Story / Video credit: News Channel 5

  • Jack Sparrow

    As stated at the end of the news report, there are risks for encountering storms while cruising during hurricane season. DCL doesn’t owe this lady one fat dime because she chose the cheaper rates and took the risk of running into bad weather. I’ve been on numerous DCL cruises and can tell you from the critic of all critics’ point of view, DCL goes above and beyond in all aspects for their passengers. I have in fact been on DCL cruises where the itenirary was modified due to weather & in the interests of the safety of the vessel. We missed a port of call due to this. Do you think DCL provided my family with any compensation because of mother nature? NOPE! I booked another cruise before I stepped off the boat in Port Canaveral. This lady needs to suck it up and find another form of vacationing if rough seas & the threat of bad weather while in the middle of the ocean on a 5000 ton ship turns her off. Perhaps they owe you money the next time the lines get long for Space Mountain! What a joke…stay on dry land next time.

  • Charles Rogers

    This is an example of the direction our Country is going. Always someone elses fault that something happened and someone needs to pay for it. What would have been the by line if Disney had cancelled this cruise because of the impending storm? You can never satisfy everybody, and everybody wants the responsibilty to be on someones elses shoulder. It was Hurricane season, they were reporting on this storm for a week in advance, and the responsibility rests solely on the person that commits to accept what will and can happen when they set foot on someone elses territory. Disney didn’t need to make the trip, and she didn’t need to get on. They both made the commitment, now both live with it.

  • Julie Sabean

    People who don’t know what they are talking about shouldn’t make comments. Passengers who tried to get out of the cruise before it left port canaveral would have lost 100% of their payment. Since the storm, passengers have tried to get back port fees collected for excursions not received and they were denied. You state the weather is not the cruise ship’s fault but neither is it the passenger’s. Does that seem equitable to dyou?
    Yes, it is hurricane season so what? Does that give the captain license to sail the boat into danger? We were out of danger by the Thursday night but the captain followed the storm too closely up the east coast. As someone who was on that boat, I can tell you what a scary situation it was. Crew members who live on ships stated that they had never experienced anything close to that. What is wrong with this country that you can’t get an apology when you’ve done something wrong? My 3 year old knows that much.

  • Sheila Loehr

    Thrown from balcony door to stateroom room door and landed on all fours. Hearing furniture and glass crashing, began to put life jacket on. Knocking on my other family doors to prepare for??? Called my sister to say good bye. I learned I’m not affraid to die, I was paralyzed to see grandkids and kids pass. Praying out loud four hours.God keep the ship in tack,calm the waves,give the captain wise decision making…and those who do not know you draw them close. After 4 cruises never again!! Do not compensation or am I appreciative of discount. Want them to hear our stories and admit SAFTEY was not Highest Priority !!!!! We paid then price ….Blessings to all changed forever….Disney fantasy 10-20 to10-27

  • Diana Solomon

    There’s a HUGE difference between missing ports due to an itinerary change to keep a ship away from a storm and a ship being sailed *into* a storm. Had DCL changed the itineraries for the Fantasy and the Dream and stayed away from the storm as promised, you wouldn’t be seeing these types of stories. ‘Nuff said.

  • Joanne

    We too were on the fantasy. It was not four good days and three bad. It was about 6 hours of bad. Thursday was sun and clouds on and off. Friday was cloudy, rainy and very rocky but we still enjoyed the ship. There were lots of inside activities. Friday night after midnight it when it got bad. Yes I too wish we had stayed in the sunny weather. But we arrived home safe, alittle shaken but the rest of the cruise was fabulous!!

  • Fredrick V. James

    You are on a ship! in hurricane season!!!!! what did you expect? do your research before you travel. It’s a Disney ship, not Disneyland!

  • Heather McGee

    I had no idea my story made it to this website. As for those of you who claim I should “suck it up” and “this is what’s wrong with people in this country today”, let me make something VERY clear. If you actually WATCHED the video or read my blog, you would know that I have never asked Disney to refund me ANYTHING. I am a staunch conservative and I don’t believe that financial retribution is necessary. I asked for an apology. Apologies cost nothing and go a very long way in this world. The apology isn’t for the weather. It is for STEERING US INTO A STORM and failing to communicate with us during these terrifying hours. If you are still confused as to what I expected, here’s a clue. It’s starts with “I’m” and ends with “sorry” and involves NO money!

  • Susan

    Oh please. We were on that same cruise and the captain did NOT intentionally run the ship into the hurricane. He was given information by the Coast Guard that told him the seas would be much like they were that afternoon, 20 to maybe 30 ft high.

    Unfortunately the hurricane stalled, (they do that, you now) and we got into the outer bands of the hurricane and experienced much higher seas than that. At NO time did I feel that we were at risk of sinking or having to leave the ship or anything like that.

    Captain Tom has 30 years of cruise captain experience and was in the Norwegian Navy. Do you really think he would intentionally run his ship with 4000plus people into a hurricane? If you do,. then do NOT cruise again. They don’t do that. They try at all costs to avoid these storms, but hurricanes are unpredictable and can turn, stall or die out just like that.

    We were unfortunate to have landed into the outer bands and some 50ft and higher seas. There were some scary moments, but ovcerall the captain and his crew handled the situation admirably and professionally. In fact we had booked back to back cruises and were scheduled to sail back out that day on the Western cruise and we did. We got right back on the ship and went out for another 7 days.

    Hurricanes are the price you pay for cruising in the Fall. Don’t like them? Cruise in the Spring or don’t cruise at all. Avoid cruising in Hurricane season. We have cruised in the Fall before and had no storms, but they are always a possibility.

    So an apology from Disney? I don’t believe it was neccessary. They did everything right and did what they could to make it as comfortable as they could to make the passengers SAFE and comfortable during a 4 and a half hour meeting with Hurricane Sandy that we all will not soon fotget! I will gladly sail with Disney and Captain Tom again and try to sail in the Fall too. It was a fluke and no one knew that the storm would stall like that. Captains NEVER intentionally sail into a hurricane.

    Just sail in the Spring and you won’t have to deal with a hurricane….

  • Susan

    We were on that cruise and it was NOT Disney’s fault. Hirricane Sandy grew from a 600 mile across storm to a 1000 mile across storm and stalled off the coast of Florida when we were making our way up the coast. We were about 200 miles from the storm and you do the math. If the storm grew 400 miles out in every direction, of course we would have been caught in it, the outer bands anyway. It was not fun by any means, but Disney did not know that Sandy would grow like that and stall. Either did the Coast Gurad evidently, because they allowed the ship to continue on it’s course. Thye did not warn the Captain to stop or turn around. NO one could have predicted that would happen. Disney does not owe anyone anything more than they gave us, a discount on another cfruise or stay at one of their resorts. They were very sorry about what happened and gave us all a discount which we gladly used for our next Disney vacation and I would cruise anytime on DCL. In fact, we did again April and have 5 more cruises set up on DCL for the next two years! I cannot wait to go back! I hope we have the same Captain. I think the world of him and he handled the ship very well in a tough situation that was not of his making.

  • Robert Pearce

    As a Captain for a major airline, I feel DSL and Captain Tom did not act reponsibily in their decisions and are very fortunate that no one was seriously injured. Some one made the decision to proceed forward into the wake of the storm. Other cruise lines chose to steer clear and enter holding patterns. Some of these cruise lines were heading North along the same path as the Fantasy before making safe decisions to hold out. The Fantasy has state of the art equipment that can predict conditions far ahead. I think things did get worse than Captain Tom expected, but with the info he had, you should not take the risk to get close to a moving hurricane. Another huge safety mistake, was when you are in conditions with 100+ knot winds and 50 + ft seas, you secure the ship for the dangers that may occur. Passengers were wandering the ship in hallways and the outdoor decks. I witnessed a woman that was swept from her feet and washed to the rails by the pool dumping overboard. I called the operator on board to talk to the Captain. They would not patch me thru, so I told her to pass a message from one Captain to another that he needs to talk to his passengers to calm them and to secure them to their rooms. 2 minutes later Captain Tom came over the PA with a very nervous voice. The same voice I would have had if I had made the decision on my jet to fly to close to a thunderstorm and ended up in the middle of it.
    The safety protocols that were absent blew me away. I could not believe the lack of communication and the blank stares of crew seemingly scared and not knowing what to say. DSL and Captain Tom screwed this one up. Very lucky he still can claim he is a Captain. His is paid the big bucks to make big decisions. Hopefully he wasn’t influenced by the heads sitting safely in Orlando to get the ship back for the next turn.