Cruising, Norway, Risky Business, Travel

A Wake Up Call on the High Seas

The night that we cruised out of Bergen, our Captain made the announcement that we would be hitting very rough seas that evening. She requested that we hold on to something if we were going to walk around the boat that night.

And hit rough seas we did.

Vision of the Seas Centrum
Vision of the Seas Centrum

I had never been on a cruise where it felt as though we were literally in a washing machine. As we stood in the middle of the ship, also called the Centrum, we could feel each and every wave–I found it helpful to avoid focusing on one thing for too long in order to avoid the feeling of dizziness and nausea. Most of the party decided to call it a night earlier than usual in order to avoid getting sick falling down.




Around midnight we awoke in our dark room to the Captain’s panicked voice as it came over the PA system. “We have experienced a blackout,” she said, “and at this point, we have no engine power. We will continue to keep you updated until we are up and running again.”

Um, Excuse me?

What did she just say?

Did I hear no engine power?

For a moment I thought it was just a dream, however as the grogginess and sleep induced haze wore off, I realized that what had just happened was in fact very real.

My first thought was, if we are in high seas with no power, I am not going to be stuck down below in this tiny room and in these tiny halls should the worst case scenario play out (aka: midnight swim, anyone?). I sat up and began thinking about the essential items that had to come with us should we need to evacuate.

Vision of the Seas

As we were on the lower decks we could feel the engines trying to turn over as the minutes ticked by. We laid there in bed as we felt the desperate putter again and again and again, to no avail. I couldn’t help myself as I began to pace the room. Anxiety mixed with claustrophobia was not a good combination.

Inside Room of Vision of the Seas
Our interior room–not a lot of room for pacing 😉

After what felt like hours the Captain came back on the PA system and announced that they had been successful in getting one of the engines up. She stated they would continue to keep us updated. For the next ten minutes the same announcement was replayed in over five different languages (I stopped counting at five).

Having at least one engine calmed my nerves enough to the point that I was able to lay back down and anxiously listen for the next announcement. Not long after the first engine was successfully restarted, the announcement was made that we had both engines back up and running.

To be honest, I don’t know if I got much sleep for the rest of the night. That next day was our last day at sea and I noticed that we were much closer to shore than compared to our first day at sea. On our first day land was nowhere in sight, and now on our way back, we were hugging the coastline for the entire day. It may have been a slight case of paranoia, but it seemed as though we always had at least two or three boats close behind us, next to us, and at times out in front of us–I couldn’t help but wonder if they knew something we didn’t.

Late that afternoon we finally got word from the Captain that the cause of the engine failure was due to a significant amount of water contaminating the fuel. That’s it; no more updates. No more explanations. None. Nada. Nei.

We can only speculate as to what really happened or why water got into the fuel, but I wouldn’t want something like that to ever happen again. I’ll admit that I’m a complete worrier, sometimes excessively. Some people–who will remain unnamed–may have just turned over and went back to sleep after the first announcement; however I had to make sure that my family and I were safe, no matter what happened.

These people were always too much fun at dinner.

I guess it’s another story for the record books. Anything scary like this ever happen to you during your travels?

11 thoughts on “A Wake Up Call on the High Seas”

  1. This kind of thing is my husband’s fear of cruising. I’m hoping to get him to go on a short cruise in February to the Caribbean, but if anything like this happens, he may never leave the house again. I’m glad everything was okay for you guys!

    1. Our cruises around the Caribbean have always been uneventful (in terms of anything happening with the ship). The Caribbean is so beautiful–I love the turquoise water and amazing beaches. Good luck convincing your husband to go, I’m sure if he tries it once he will enjoy himself.

  2. We,ve had water flood an engine, but that was on a houseboat in heavy seas on a lake. Quite a bit different than a cruise ship. Crazy time, but an experience to stay with you forever.

      1. No kidding. We were using anything we could find to keep the boat’s pontoons from rubbing a rock face we were close to. Luckily it started, we beached it, bailed it and had a beer and some lunch while waiting for it to dry enough to start up. About 12 people on board. I’m thinking yours was a bit scarier, based on all the cruise “events” lately.

  3. OK….I admit it. I’m one of those who rolled over and went back to sleep. Since I have had the experienced of crossing the Atlantic in a ship during a REAL storm (nothing like “The Perfect Storm”, but close), this was a piece of cake. Even though the tone of the captains voice was a little unsettling, This ol’ gal was not about to lose any of her much needed beauty sleep.

    I never made the connection between the other boats behind us and the engine problems we experienced as being connected. Now that I think about it, it was a strong possibility. I’d still do it again.

  4. Wow that must have been some heavy duty pacing…. I probably would have just rolled over and went back to sleep as well…or headed to the bar! We have been fortunate in all of our cruises to have never had any engine or other type of problems…. now rough water…that’s a whole different story!

  5. Wow how could anyone just go back to sleep ;). It was an anxiety filled night/day/rest of the trip for sure especially after hearing about the Concordia (spelling?) and the one Carnival ship that was stuck at sea after a fire.

    Anyways, I just want to say how good of a piece this really was. I was there and lived through it, but your writing paired with your choice of pictures really added to the writing. I know I’m always your biggest fan, but damn your good at this blog thing. Keep up the excellent work.

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