The 40,876-ton, 1,464-passenger Louis Majesty was sailing from Barcelona to Genoa when the abnormally large waves -- exceeding 10 meters (33 feet) in height according to the line -- slammed into the vessel. "The windows in a public area on Deck 5 on the forward part of the vessel smashed," the line said in a statement.
The Associated Press is reporting that amateur video footage taken by a passenger was aired on Spanish television. According to the AP, the footage shows "the instant when a huge, foamy wave hit what appeared to be a restaurant or lounge area, blowing out the window, triggering screams and sending shin-high water gushing along the floor."
Overall damage to Louis Majesty, however, was not extensive, and the ship returned to Barcelona for a few days' worth of repairs. According to the line, the next cruise, scheduled to depart from Genoa on March 12, will sail as planned. Louis Majesty was on the tail end of a 12-night Western Mediterranean and Canary Island cruise.
While rare, cruise ship run-ins with massive waves are not all together uncommon. In April 2005, Norwegian Dawn was punished by a 70-foot rogue wave that smashed windows, flooded some 60 cabins and injured four.
In September 1995, Cunard's now-retired icon, QE2, connected with a 90-foot rogue wave at around 2 a.m. while the ship was sailing through Hurricane Luis. Hundreds of tons of water broke over the bow, but most of the passengers slept through the event (no one was injured). The next morning the line distributed certificates of contact with Hurricane Luis.
Louis Majesty launched in 1992, but debuted for Louis Cruise Lines in December of 2009. The ship is better known as Norwegian Majesty, its name when it sailed for NCL from 1997 until fall 2009. Louis offers reasonably priced, port-intensive itineraries in the Greek Islands, Mediterranean and Canary Islands on its fleet of 11 ships.
--by Dan Askin, Associate Editor