Cruise ship passengers from Michigan describe terrifying storm

A big cruise ship runs into a terrible storm at sea packing hurricane-force winds and some metro Detroiters on board are telling their story.

They say when they left New Jersey they were warned of a small storm but the captain warned they would try to stay in front of it. Instead it appeared they cruised right into it.

It wasn't the 25th wedding anniversary celebration Laura Varon Brown and her husband were hoping for, but one they won't soon forget.

"Anyone who knows us, it's fairly indicative of our marriage," Brown quipped.

Last Saturday more than a dozen of their closest family and friends boarded the Royal Caribbean in New Jersey for a seven day cruise to the Bahamas. But one day into the trip, they were met by a powerful storm with 175 mile per hour winds and as Grace Leone described via Skype, waves like she's never seen before.

"I thought these waves are as high as we are," Leone said. "And we're on the ninth level. I was freaked out when I saw the waves. That's when it really hit me. I looked at him, I said if this thing goes over I don't think there is any saving us."

"This ship was listing," said Brown. "It was doing more than I have ever experienced. The captain came on and he was painfully honest the whole time that he was trying to get us steered into the wind.  He tried three times in four hours and he could not do it, and  finally did."

They say the captain sent all guests on the Anthem of the Seas ship back to their rooms. The vessel began tipping side to side and water began to seep in through the doorways.

Images and video taken by passengers show the damage, broken glass everywhere, busted windows, overturned furniture and deck chairs and collapsed ceilings.

Laura and Grace aren't the only ones questioning why the ship left in the first place - when the possibility of a huge storm was known for several days.

"It's disappointing when you plan something for so long," said Leone. "But I honestly feel that I don't think they realized the magnitude of this storm."

"I feel like he saved our lives whatever the decisions were, I feel he saved our life, with the way he was piloting the ship," Brown said. "It was incredible."

Royal Caribbean apologized for the "discomfort" the passengers experienced.

The cruise line offering all guests a full refund and 50 percent off a future cruise fare.

But Laura and Grace aren't ready for another cruise ride just yet.

"There's people in line to book and I'm like good for you," Brown said.

"I have to admit my husband said why don't we look in December and see what's out there and I said  I'll look but I'm not sure I'm ready for another cruise right now."

They said they were glad everyone made it through without any serious injuries. Only a few minor injuries were reported.

They are still at sea right now and are told to make it back to New Jersey at 6 p.m. and will fly home.

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