Surprised Cruise Passengers Discover Unexpected Sight On The Open Ocean

By: Mia Williams | Last updated: Sep 23, 2023

It was a typical day for this ship’s passengers enjoying their luxury vacation. Usually, the worst that could happen on such a trip is having to choose between two sumptuous dining options.

However, one particular day in 2018 became terribly unforgettable. The captain thought it would be like any other day—but this carefree cruise quickly turned into a fight for survival.

High Hopes On The High Seas

As the Pacific Princess set sail, passengers left their worries on land. They were looking forward to an idyllic vacation at sea. With the wide open ocean stretched out before them and no pressing responsibilities, they were confident they could relax without any interruptions.


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Unfortunately, things did not go as planned. Instead, the passengers would find themselves facing unexpected challenges and dangers. Despite their great expectations for a stress-free vacation, they were forced to confront unforeseen circumstances that tested their strength and resilience.


The Intended Journey

During their 8-day journey, the passengers on the boat traversed the North Sea and made stops at various locations in the British Isles. As the trip was coming to a close and the vessel was making its way back to Dover, England, the passengers were looking forward to returning to dry land.


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However, they were met with rough seas and turbulent waters. Though there was an added element of danger to their route, they were confident that the captain would take them safely back to shore.

Unexpected Changes

The passengers on the cruise ship were caught off guard when, without warning, their vessel suddenly altered its course during dinner. Confused and surprised, they watched as the crew rushed about in a frenzy, clearly preparing for something unexpected.


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Despite the uncertainty of the situation, the passengers remained calm. They patiently waited to see what would happen next. The crew’s expertise and experience were on full display—so the passengers trusted the ship’s staff to guide them through whatever challenges lay ahead.

Trusting Gut Feelings

Cruise ships usually stick to a predetermined route and only deviate from it in the case of unforeseen circumstances, such as storms or rough seas. Therefore, when the Pacific Princess suddenly changed course, it was clear that something was seriously wrong. 


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The captain, trusting his instincts, decided to alter the ship’s course after seeing a bright light in the sky. He alerted his crew and set a new destination towards the source of the light. Clearly, the captain’s quick thinking and decisive action had averted a potential disaster.

Fire In The Sky

As the ship approached the location of the mysterious light, it became evident that the captain’s decision to trust his instincts had been right. Upon arriving at the source of the light, they found that it was not an optical illusion. 

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Rather, it was an emergency flare set off by someone in need of assistance. The captain and his crew sprang into action, using their training and expertise to come to the aid of the distressed party. It was a testament to the captain’s quick thinking.


Emergency S-O-S

As the captain navigated the ship towards the emergency flare, he knew that the person who had set it off was likely in serious trouble. Time was precious, and any delay on their part could potentially cost this other flagging vessel their lives.

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Without being able to transmit any mayday signals over the radio to other visible vessels in the area, the situation seemed dire. However, the captain remained focused and kept the ship moving at full speed to attempt a rescue.


Every Second Counts

Standard procedure dictates that the Coast Guard would be responsible for conducting a search mission like this one. However, the captain of the ship knew that his vessel was the closest to the scene and that time was of the essence.

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He feared that the people onboard were badly in need of help and the situation could get even worse if they didn’t act quickly. He was determined to do everything in his power to keep people safe—he simply felt that it was his responsibility.


A Distant Sight

After altering the ship’s course, the captain spotted something in the distance floating in the ocean. From a distance, it was difficult to tell what it was as there was nothing else around it. The captain was unsure if it was just flotsam or something more significant.  

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He kept the ship moving forward, determined to get a closer look and determine the nature of the object. It turned out to be a crucial sign that would help them in their search for the people who badly needed help.


Thousands Of Onlookers

As the ship moved closer to the mysterious object floating in the ocean, the passengers on board became increasingly curious and concerned. They crowded the railings on every deck and balcony, eager to catch a glimpse of what had caused the captain to alter the ship’s course so suddenly.

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Many were fearful and anxious, unsure of what they would find or what dangers they might face. Despite their nerves, they remained determined to see the situation through as well as save anyone who needed saving.


Holding Onto Dear Life

As the Pacific Princess approached the floating object, the captain realized with a sense of relief that it was a life raft. From a distance, things had looked bleak, and he had feared that he might have arrived too late to assist.

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However, upon seeing movement from within the raft, he was hopeful and determined to rescue those on board. Despite the challenges, the captain and his crew were going to do everything in their power to bring the stranded individuals back to safety.


Help Is On The Way

As the ship approached the life raft, the captain and his crew were relieved to see that there were three men aboard, all of whom were alive. The men, who had been adrift for hours, peeked out from the raft, grateful to see another vessel.

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They had set off the emergency flare in a desperate attempt to signal for help and had been hoping that someone would see it and come to their aid. It was a risky move, but one that ultimately paid off.


Navigating Difficult Waters

The captain didn’t wait for the go-ahead to start the mission when he set out for those stranded people. He intended to save them as soon as possible. Making them wait many hours for someone to sign off on the plan was definitely out of the question.

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However, the crew quickly realized that the rescue logistics would be more than challenging to figure out. For one, the different sizes of the cruise ship and life raft posed a significant problem.


Anxiety Filled The Air

The passengers on the ship gathered to watch the floating raft. Fear was evident in the men’s eyes as they waited to be saved. According to Teena Dowd, one of the passengers on the ship Pacific Princess, none of the men thought they would be rescued. 

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The passengers anxiously waited at the top deck. All of them held their breaths as the officers of the ship did their job as best they could. After much deliberation, the officers sent word down to the rest of the crew. 


Slowly But Surely

There were no promises of success. The ship did its best to move in, slowly but surely, towards the stranded men. Their goal was to throw a rope down to allow the survivors to reach it to climb aboard. But climbing up the side of the cruise ship after hours of dehydration would not be easy.

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The men would have to muster all their energy and willpower to climb up. Though easy in theory, it would be like trying to scale a castle wall in practice.


Try And Try Again

The first person they tried to save was able to climb the makeshift ladder. It looked like they were about to win their first victory until he slipped and plummeted back into the water. From such a height, this drop can be very harmful.

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Fortunately, the ship’s officers were more than ready to pull him back from the water. They were able to retrieve him and place him back on the life raft. Thankfully, the man was not critically injured from his drop into the sea.


Stairway To Safety

The captain was not pleased with the turn of events. He firmly believed the rescue process should have been much smoother. He backtracked on the plan and went back to the drawing board. First thing first: they would need a better ladder.

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Thanks to the slightly-improvised ladder, and although it took more than an hour, the crew was able to retrieve all three men successfully out of the water. They were safe on the ship. However, there was worse news to contend with yet.


Missing Men

The passengers onboard the ship couldn’t help but break into a round of applause when the men finally arrived on the ship. However, their cheers were short-lived as the captain mournfully announced that two more men were still missing.

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Everyone groaned in dismay. Who are these mystery figures left on their own and possibly still trapped in the middle of the ocean? Apparently, these survivors had been fishing with five others. Surely after so many hours, nobody could have survived! 


More Survivors

After the captain was informed that there were more survivors, he was worried that these other fishermen the men told him about were in the boat before it went under. Though he was able to solve one problem, he had to figure out what to do next.

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Although they knew there were five fishermen somewhere out there, the survivors couldn’t give the captain the exact location of their comrades. So the captain continued to search. As time passed, the chance to rescue the other men grew slim.


Help From The Coast Guard

The captain opted to keep the ship in the area instead of immediately heading back to the port. They intended to find the remaining fishermen while the Coast Guard took their time to arrive in their vicinity.

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Fortunately, the rescuers arrived within an hour. They were able to provide proper medical attention to the three fishermen the Pacific Princess had saved. The Coast Guard took over the rescue mission. Thankfully, they had better means of saving people than a luxury cruise ship.


Searching High And Low

The Coast Guard did what they do best. They released helicopters and various patrol boats to search the entire area for a lifeboat, raft, or signs of people. Some local ships were also tasked to assist in the mission.

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Authorities believed that the remaining men who were still missing were in the open water because of a freak accident that caused their ship to sink. It was, therefore, critical that they cover as much area as their resources allowed them to.


A Dark Discovery

The Coast Guard thoroughly scanned the area throughout the evening until the small hours of the morning. Eventually, at 3:30 am, the search was called off. They didn’t want to give up, though, as they attempted to return to the same place at first light. 

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Unfortunately, it was at this time that two bodies were discovered. They were later on identified as the two missing fishermen. Sadly, although the captain of the Pacific Princess was able to save a few, not everyone could be saved.