Carnival Sunshine accidents and incidents

Carnival Sunshine cruise ship

Former names
Carnival Destiny

Length (LOA)
272 m / 892 ft

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CruiseMapper's Carnival Sunshine cruise ship accidents, incidents and law news reports relate to a 3765-passenger vessel owned by Carnival Cruise Line. Our Carnival Sunshine accidents page contains reports made by using official data from renown online news media sources, US Coast Guard and Wikipedia.

Here are also reported latest updates on cruise law news related to ashore and shipboard crimes still investigated by the police. Among those could be arrests, filed lawsuits against the shipowner / cruise line company, charges and fines, grievances, settled / withdrawn legal actions, lost cases, virus outbreaks, etc.

  • fires - 2004, 2016
  • propulsion/power loss - 2002, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2018
  • ship listing/tilting - 2017, 2018, 2023
  • deaths - overboard (2005), 2010, 2011, 2012, 2014, 2018 (Grand Turk), 2023
  • injuries/crimes - 2011, overboard/rescued (2012), 2023
  • medevacs - 2011, 2012 (2), 2024 (crew)
  • Norovirus (passengers/crew) - 2016 (118 / 5)
  • 2013 - Venice incident (passing close to shore)

The vessel was previously operated under the name Carnival Destiny (1996-2013) and as Carnival Sunshine since May 2013.

27 April 2024Coast Guard Medevacs

On April 27, 2024, a 35-year-old male crew was medevaced by the USCG/Coast Guard's 7th District Southeast (Miami).

The medical evacuation was conducted while the ship was approx 160 mi (~260 km) east of JAXPORT (Jacksonville, Florida) en route to Port Canaveral.

From the USCG Air Station Clearwater was dispatched a Sikorsky MH-60 Seahawk helicopter crew to meet the ship and airlift/hoist the man. The crew, accompanied by a ship nurse, was flown to Health First's Holmes Regional Medical Center in Melbourne (Florida USA).

The incident occurred in the beginning of the 5-day "The Bahamas Cruise" (itinerary April 27-May 2, roundtrip from Charleston, South Carolina) with scheduled visits to Half Moon Cay (Apr 29) and Nassau (Apr 30).

03 November 2023Crew / Passenger Injuries and Overboards

(CruiseMapper-emailed report by a passenger who wished to remain anonymous)

I was onboard the Carnival Sunshine for its most recent trip from November 2-6, 2023.

On Friday evening [Nov 3rd], sometime between 11:30 p.m. and 12:00 a.m., there was an announcement requesting a "critical need" for blood donors of a particular type. I didn't hear anything about what happened other than that allegedly the person (unknown if passenger or crew) was stable (told to one potential donor) and that they would be transporting the person to Florida (we were in open water on the way to Half Moon Cay) for medical assistance (told to a different donor by a different crew member).

According to a passenger who went to the medical deck to donate, the crew and staff were "frantic" and the scene was "hectic". Nothing further was mentioned and it's unknown if there was a Medivac off the ship. I haven't seen anything reported about it yet, so I wanted to make sure that it is.

Additionally, our departure from Charleston was delayed by approximately 2 hours due to a fire somewhere on board.

The incident occurred during the 4-day "The Bahamas Cruise" (itinerary Nov 2-6, roundtrip from Charleston SC) visiting only Half Moon Cay (on Nov 4th).

26 May 2023Structural and Technical Issues

On May 26, 2023, at ~4:30 pm Bahamas time (~20:30 UTC), the ship experienced adverse weather conditions, navigating in a formidable storm en route from  Half Moon Cay back to Charleston SC. By ~7 pm (~23:00), the storm developed strong winds (reaching speeds of 80 mph/ 130 kph) and turbulent waves, hitting relentlessly the hull and superstructure.

While only minor injuries among some passengers and crew were reported, the ship suffered both exterior (outer decks) and interior damages, including flooded passenger staterooms and public hallways, leaking ceilings, damaged furniture, broken glassware/dishes/bottles, damages in the Loby (broken chandelier) and at the Fun Shops (overturned displays and racks, spilled and damaged merchandise). Most heavily damaged were the crew areas on lower decks (0 to 4), as result of a significant flooding (crew cabins and corridors), while Crew Bar Lounge's walls and ceilings were destroyed.

By ~8 pm (midnight) all public areas were closed off and evacuated. Reportedly, previously, Carnival Sunshine was cruising at a speed of 11 knots (13 mph / 20 kph) which by midnight (~4 am UTC) was reduced to just 5 knots (6 mph / 9 kph). At that time, the Captain also changed course from northwest (towards Charleston) to northeast, towards the storm's eye.

The accident occurred at the end of the 6-day "The Bahamas Cruise" (itinerary May 21-27, roundtrip from homeport Charleston, South Carolina USA) visiting the Bahamian destinations Nassau (May 23), Resorts World Bimini (May 24) and Half Moon Cay (May 25).

Due to the severe weather, the return to Charleston was delayed as heavy rain, strong winds and high waves prevented the ship from entering the harbor. The next scheduled departure (May 27th) was also delayed (by ~9 hours).

Carnival Sunshine arrived back in Charleston by 8 am SC time (12:00 UTC) on May 27th but remained offshore (at the shipping channel's entrance) for several hours before the conditions allowed to proceed safely back to port. Passengers on the next voyage started boarding at ~6:30 pm SC time (~22:30 UTC) and the ship left Charleston at around midnight.

As compensation for the delayed departure, all passengers were provided with US$100 per cabin in OBC/onboard credit.

The weather system that impacted the cruise ship was a non-tropical and low-pressure, centered approx 150 mi (240 km) south of Charleston. However, its wind patterns were classified by the National Hurricane Center as cyclonic in nature.

At ~10 am SC time (~14:00 UTC) on May 27th, outside Charleston Harbor, wind gusts' speed ranged between 30-35 knots (35-40 mph (55-65 kph).

27 February 2023Crew / Passenger Deaths

On February 27, 2023, while the ship was at sea and en route from South Carolina USA to The Bahamas, a female passenger was found unresponsive in her cabin. The woman was traveling together with her husband.

After the Carnival medical personnel attempted life-saving measures, the woman was pronounced dead on the scene. The body was offloaded in Nassau (the husband was also disembarked) during the scheduled call at the port and the Bahamian police started an investigation.

On March 4th, after the ship returned back to Charleston, field officers from FBI Columbia SC's Evidence Response Team boarded the ship to conduct an investigation. The incident was reported by Carnival Cruise Lines as "suspicious death". On March 8th, on the basis of evidence of a crime were filed two search warrants - one for the woman's cabin (balcony stateroom number 6271/located midship starboard on deck 6) and the other for a VW Jetta vehicle (with North Carolina plates HKN 9663).

The incident occurred at the beginning of the 5-day "The Bahamas Cruise" (itinerary February 27-March 4, roundtrip from homeport Charleston SC) visiting Nassau (March 1/port stay 8 am-5 pm) and Half Moon Cay (March 2/8 am-4 pm).

28 October 2018Ship Listing

On December 28, 2018, soon after departure, due to a technical issue (fin stabilizer), the ship experienced severe listing, resulting in terrified passengers and broken furniture. According to the Captain, stabilizers' malfunction was caused by an electrical switchboard issue.

The accident occurred during 5-day Eastern Caribbean cruise (itinerary Oct 28 - Nov 2) roundtrip from homeport Port Canaveral (Florida) to Amber Cove (Dominican Republic) and Grand Turk Island.

25 October 2018Propulsion / Power Loss

On October 25, 2018, due to technical issues, the liner remained docked in call port San Juan (Puerto Rico). The scheduled afternoon departure (at 4 pm) was delayed (until late night). The delay resulted in itinerary changes - the scheduled for Oct 26 call port Cockburn Town (Grand Turk Island) was canceled.

The accident occurred during 7-day Eastern Caribbean cruise (itinerary Oct 21-28) roundtrip from homeport Port Canaveral to Amber Cove (Dominican Republic), Charlotte Amalie (St Thomas Island), San Juan (Puerto Rico) and Grand Turk Island.

Note: The ship was in drydock (Freeport, Bahamas) between October 14-21 for regular maintenance works.

16 May 2018Crew / Passenger Deaths

On May 16, 2018, a 16-year-old male passenger died in a jet ski accident on Grand Turk Island. When two jet skis collided, the teenager fell and broke his neck. The other person didn't sustain any injuries. The incident occurred during  5-day Eastern Caribbean cruise (itinerary May 13-18) roundtrip from Port Canaveral to Amber Cove (Dominican Republic) and Grand Turk.

20 January 2018Crew / Passenger Injuries and Overboards

On January 20, 2018, at ~7:30 am, when the ship berthed in homeport Port Canaveral FL, a total of 6 passengers were immediately transported by an ambulance to nearby hospitals. It's not announced what the transported suffered from (injuries or illnesses). Reportedly, they were with medical issues experienced during the voyage.

The ship returned from a 13-day Southern Caribbean cruise (itinerary Jan 7-20) roundtrip from Port Canaveral to islands St Thomas, Antigua, Barbados, Grenada, St Maarten, Puerto Rico, and St Kitts.

27 August 2016Fire Accident

On August 27, 2016, between 8-9 pm, a fire broke out on causing damages to a passenger cabin balcony on Upper Deck 6. The ship’s automated “Fire Detection, Alarm, and Suppression System” activated, closing the deck’s emergency fire doors immediately and activating the fire sprinkler system in the area. The fire-fighting crew quickly responded and within minutes extinguished the fire. No injuries were reported.

The fire was reportedly caused by a flicked cigarette (from some of the above decks) that landed on a deckchair with a towel on it. The accident occurred on a sea day during 10-day Eastern Caribbean cruise (itinerary Aug 25-Sept 3) roundtrip from NYC New York to Puerto Rico, St Maarten, St Thomas, Grand Turk.

February 2016Cruise Illness / Virus Outbreaks

February-March 2016, CDC reported on itinerary Feb 21 to Mar 5, a Norovirus outbreak (gastrointestinal illness) infected 118 passengers (out of 3005, or 3,9%) and 5 crew (out of 1142, or 0,4%). All sick suffered from Norovirus symptoms (vomiting, diarrhea) and were quarantined to their cabins for 48 hours.

The ship was on 13-day Southern Caribbean cruise roundtrip from Port Canaveral Florida, with ports of call in St Maarten, Dominica, Barbados, Tobago, Grenada, Martinique, St Kitts, St Thomas.

18 October 2015Other Incidents

On October 18, 2015, a “fake wedding” ceremony was performed at sea. A US couple (Cathrin and Andrew) were supposed to get married on October 21 when the ship had a scheduled stop at the Carnival Cruise Lines private island resort in the Bahamas – the Half Moon Cay (tendering port).

However, due to bad weather, the ship was unable to visit the island and spent the time at sea. After contacting the company’s senior cruise director John Heald, the couple was granted permission for a symbolic wedding at sea. The “ceremony” was performed on the Lido Deck by the ship’s Cruise Director (Mrs. Jamie Dee). The couple had as guests of honor a total of 29 family members and friends – plus the entire ship enjoying the show.

Note: The Sunshine ship’s flag state the Bahamas doesn’t allow shipboard weddings, so the ceremony was illegal by maritime law.

08 February 2014Crew / Passenger Deaths

On February 8, 2014, a male passenger died after suffering difficulty breathing and disorientation. His son stated the man had lung cancer (stage 4, with throat metastasis).

19 January 2014Crew / Passenger Deaths

On January 19, 2014, a female passenger died onboard from a heart attack.

27 July 2013Other Incidents

("Venice incident") On July 27, 2013, in the morning the ship made some Venetians angry for passing too close to Venice City’s signature St Mark Square. The cruise liner passed at ~20 m (66 ft) distance, even trapping a local water taxi.

Carnival Cruise Lines officially announced that the distance was 72 m (236 ft) which is in accordance with the city’s canal navigational rules. An eyewitness told journalists the vessel’s close to shore course was intentional – to salute the cruise company's founder and main owner Mickey Arison, whose superyacht “Mylin IV” was positioned at the same side of the bank.

In a similar incident (passing too close to the shore), the Carnival Vista ship sunk several small boats and damaged 2 piers while leaving the port of Messina (Italy) in August 2016.

May 2013Other Incidents

On March 21, 2013, was announced that the drydock transformation of Carnival Destiny to Carnival Sunshine in 2013 will be extended. The new Sunshine ship started service on May 5, after two scheduled Mediterranean cruises were canceled. The dry-dock stay was extended due to the cruise line’s new policy to invest significantly in onboard backup systems providing additional / emergency power. During Carnival Destiny ship’s USD 150 million worth refit, were made additional redundancy upgrades and fire prevention system improvements.

04 January 2013Propulsion / Power Loss

(Carnival Destiny) On January 24, 2013, due to propulsion problems with the stern thrusters, the ship changed the current 5-day Bahamas cruise  (itinerary Jan 21-26) roundtrip from Miami. The scheduled call ports Grand Turk and Half Moon Cay (Bahamas private island) were replaced with Key West Florida and Freeport (Grand Bahama). Repair works on the propulsion unit were done underway.

21 October 2012Crew / Passenger Injuries and Overboards

(Carnival Destiny overboard) On October 21, 2012, an alcohol-influenced female passenger jumped overboard but was miraculously rescued alive. The jump was reported by several eyewitnesses. The woman (Sarah Alexandra Badley Kirby) was traveling together with her fiancee and a female friend.

(law news) The woman filed a lawsuit in March 2013 against Carnival Corporation and four crew (including the Captain and 2 doctors). The investigation revealed the Captain first refused to turn the ship back for ~90 min. Later he refused to medevac her to a land hospital. She suffered from severe injuries (fractured ribs and orbital bones, hypothermia, carotid artery dissection, arrhythmia, hematomas) caused during the fall.

After several alcoholic cocktails, the woman became heavily intoxicated, then together with her friend returned to their cabin. The overboard jump incident occurred at ~12 am. She stepped out to the cabin’s balcony. She was holding onto the banister, when lost her grip and balance, slipped and fell into the water from deck 7 (~100 ft / 30 m). While falling down, she first hit a liferaft, then fell 5 more decks into the ocean. After seeing her fell, passengers alerted the crew. However, they refused to stop the ship until an onboard search is conducted.

At ~1:45 am (the woman was in the waters for over 1,5 hours) the cruise ship turned around for a search and rescue operation. The lowered rescue boat found and brought her on board. The ship’s course was diverted to Key West FL, where she was disembarked for advanced medical treatment. There she spent 3 weeks in a hospital. During the hearings, experts stated that she should have been medevaced (airlifted) directly to Miami’s Jackson Memorial Hospital.

28 September 2012Crew / Passenger Deaths

(Carnival Destiny) On September 28, 2012, a male passenger died onboard from internal kidney bleeding.

03 February 2012Coast Guard Medevacs

(Carnival Destiny) On February 3, 2012, a female passenger sustained an injury (fractured leg) after falling down. She was medevaced by USCG helicopter and transported to Lower Keys Medical Center (Key West, Florida).

07 January 2012Structural and Technical Issues

(Carnival Destiny) On January 7, 2012, while en-route from Key West Florida to Cozumel Mexico, the ship’s Autopilot system failed. This also caused the ARPA (Automatic radar plotting aid) to fail. The navigation crew had to use ship’s 2 radars and 2 GPS for navigation. Officers didn’t use the ECDIS system (Electronic Chart Display and Information System) but instead used paper charts to return to Miami, where the equipment was repaired.

05 January 2012Crew / Passenger Injuries and Overboards

(Carnival Destiny) On January 5, 2012, while the ship was docked in Miami, a male crew sustained injuries (multiple rib fractures). He was walking and talking to another crew when stepped in an open space of a removed grill plate and fell into it. Injuries included spinal discs fractures and kidney contusion. The injured crew was taken to a Miami hospital and remained there for 2 weeks.

28 November 2011Crew / Passenger Injuries and Overboards

(Carnival Destiny) On November 28, 2011, a minor female passenger sustained an injury (fractured right lower leg) when fell while running carpeted steps inside Palladium Lounge (deck 5 forward starboard).

10 September 2011Structural and Technical Issues

(Carnival Destiny) On September 10, 2011, one of the ship’s lifeboats (number 10) was found not in stowed position and portside-bow damaged (above waterline hole in its fiberglass hull). The boat’s Davit arms were extended, with the lashings secured. The investigation revealed an unknown party had attempted to launch it without releasing the lashings.

The boat was offloaded in Miami and towed to homeport Fort Lauderdale (Port Everglades FL) for repairs. Because of this incident, the ship’s capacity was reduced temporarily (from 4470 to 4320 people) to meet the lifeboats capacity.

17 August 2011Coast Guard Medevacs

(Carnival Destiny) On August 17, 2011, a male passenger suffered from a rapidly developing internal bleeding and had to be medevaced and transferred to South Miami Hospital.

17 January 2011Crew / Passenger Deaths

(Carnival Destiny) On January 17, 2011, a female passenger was found dead in her cabin by her husband. Medical staff attempted for 20 min to revive her. She was pronounced dead at the scene. The report reveals the woman underwent a kidney transplant recently and had several other pre-existing medical conditions. Death was from natural causes (Cardiac Arrest).

07 January 2011Structural and Technical Issues

(Carnival Destiny) On January 7, 2011, USCG reported the ship experienced “material failure” (unspecified).

22 October 2010Propulsion / Power Loss

(Carnival Destiny) On October 22, 2010, while the ship was docked in Nassau (Bahamas) and preparing for departure, propulsion system tests show problems in the vessel’s starboard propulsion motor. The equipment failed to increase RPM and soon tripped. Trouble-shooting procedure showed the motor’s interface board (control system component) became faulty. The crew replaced the board with the backup one, but it was also faulty.

The ship proceeded to Port of Miami (Florida) using only one propulsion motor (portside). While docked in Miami, technician staff came onboard and unsuccessfully attempted to fix the problem by using the defected boards to make a working one. A spare part was dispatched to Miami from another Carnival ship docked in Port Canaveral Florida.

24 May 2010Crew / Passenger Deaths

(Carnival Destiny) On May 24, 2010, a male passenger was found dead in his cabin. The crew found him unresponsive and confirmed the death. The man suffered from a pre-existing medical condition (liver failure, cirrhosis, variceal bleed, hepatic encephalopathy) related to alcoholic liver disease.

February 2010Other Incidents

(Carnival Destiny) For a week the ship entered into unscheduled drydock (2010, February 13-20) for propulsion system repairs. Because of the emergency, 3 cruises were canceled and another 3 had their itineraries changed. The vessel entered service on Feb 20, with a 2-night Nassau cruise from homeport Miami.

12 May 2005Crew / Passenger Deaths

(Carnival Destiny / overboard) On May 12, 2005, two passengers (67-year-old female and 71-year-old male) were reported missing and presumed fell overboard.

The incident occurred between 8:30 pm - 4 am while the ship was en-route from Bridgetown Barbados to Oranjestad Aruba. The case was investigated by FBI but was soon closed. The bodies were never found.

07 June 2004Fire Accident

(Carnival Destiny) On June 7, 2004, while the ship was berthed in call port Charlotte Amalie (St Thomas USVI), a fire broke out in a garbage incinerator room. Due to the fire accident, passenger boarding was delayed by ~45 min.

Later the same day, while en-route from (St Thomas to Roseau (Dominica), the ship suffered engine problems affecting its cruising speed. The arrival in call port Roseau was delayed by ~3,5 hours.

23 May 2002Propulsion / Power Loss

(Carnival Destiny) On May 23, 2002, at ~7 am, the ship suffered technical failure, resulting in power loss and drifting without propulsion for ~8 hours. There was ~ 2 hours blackout onboard, with no electricity and air-conditioning. The official explanation to the passengers (via the ship's PA system) was that the accident was caused by "computer problem".

The ship was in the Caribbean Sea and en-route to call port Castries (St Lucia Island).

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