(March 3, 4 p.m. EST) -- A series of huge waves smashed into a cruise ship near the coast of Spain, killing two passengers and injuring 14 others.
Louis Cruise Lines' 40,876-ton, 1,464-passenger Louis Majesty was sailing between Barcelona and Genoa when the freak waves struck the vessel. Cruise line spokesman Michael Maratheftis told CNN that the waves were as high as 8 meters (26 feet) tall.
A statement from the Cyprus-based line details the tragedy. "The windows in a public area on Deck 5 on the forward part of the vessel smashed resulting to the fatal injury of two passengers of German and Italian nationality while 14 more passengers suffered light injuries. Louis Cruises extends its sincere condolences to the families of the two victims and its full support to the injured passengers while expressing its deep sorrow for the incident. The vessel's medical team is already providing all possible care to the injured passengers."
Louis Majesty was on the tail end of a 12-night Western Mediterranean and Canary Island cruise and was due to return to Genoa tomorrow, March 4. The ship will instead head back to Barcelona, its previous port of call. Requests for information from Louis Cruise Lines as to the reason for the itinerary change have not been answered at this time.
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