Watch: Hurricane batters world's third largest cruise liner with 150mph winds and 40-foot waves as terrified passengers fear for lives
Terrified passengers ordered to stay in cabins as Anthem of the Seas, the world's third largest cruise liner, is hit by 40-foot waves on her way to Bahamas
One of the world's biggest and most modern cruise ships is on her way back to port after being battered by hurricane-force winds on its way to the Bahamas.
Terrified passengers aboard Royal Caribbean's Anthem of the Seas said they were furious the ship sailed into 150mph winds and 40-foot waves despite warnings.
They reported furniture toppling over, windows broken and plant pots being smashed during a turbulent Sunday night off the Carolinas when they were ordered to stay in their cabins.
Anthem of the Seas - the world's third biggest cruise liner and considered the most technologically advanced when it was launched last year - left Cape Liberty, New Jersey, on Saturday with 4529 passengers for a week long cruise.
She encountered increasingly heavy seas before the order came at about 3am on Monday morning for passengers to remain in their cabins as furniture slid around the ship's passageways.
Frightened passengers took to social media to describe their ordeal.
Shara Strand said she had never experienced anything like it on 20 previous cruises.
"I'm not being over dramatic by saying it was the scariest moments of my life - having no control in hurricane-like winds for hours on end with baby on board, not being able to leave our cabins," she wrote on Facebook.
"Royal Caribbean should be ashamed of themselves for continuing on a course Mother Nature deemed unfit."
Royal Caribbean apologised and said the ship's seaworthiness was not affected.
"We know it was tough day on Sunday and apologise for their discomfort. We also thank our captain and crew for guiding the ship safely back to better weather," the company said.
"Safety is our highest priority and ships are designed to withstand even more extreme circumstances than Anthem of the Seas encountered.”
Passengers thought they would be arriving in Port Canaveral, Florida, on Monday but instead are heading back to New Jersey with the rest of the cruise cancelled.
A spokeswoman said the weather was worse than forecast and that four passengers were injured but none seriously.
All guests have been offered a full refund and half the cost of a future voyage.