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For the most part it’s smooth sailing when you’re on a cruise ship, but every now and then natural and uncontrollable forces step in to shake up the holiday.

Recently one of Crystal Cruises’ ships was hit by an unusually large wave, which caused damage to areas of the ship.

But that isn’t the first time something like that has happened.

From bizarre weather conditions to mass onboard protests, we compiled five interesting incidents that created waves at sea.

Freak waves

Air travel has turbulence and cruising has rough seas – except in some cases.

Crystal Serenity was en route to Monte Carlo when a rogue wave struck the ship in the early hours on Saturday morning. The wave caused damage to several windows in the ship’s Dining Room.

Thankfully, nobody was hurt, but passengers had to dine at alternative restaurants for breakfast and lunch until the Dining Room was repaired.

Mother Nature’s wrath
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Diamond Princess had to delay docking in Victoria, BC when strong winds pushed the ship against the dock. Image: Princess Cruises

With ships weighing up to 100,000 tonnes, it’s hard to fathom how a gust of  wind could push them around.

Passengers on board Diamond Princess felt quite a bit of turbulence when strong winds hit the ship in 2004.

The ship was attempting to dock at Victoria, BC when wind pushed her into the pier.

Onlookers said they heard scraping and crunching as the vessel grazed up against the wharf forcing crew members to abandon docking operations until winds subsided.

Damage was minor except for the bent propeller blade tips.

In a similar incident in 2010, strong winds prevented Holland America’s Prinsendam from anchoring at Portree, Isle of Skye and Scrabster in Scotland.

According to a Cruise Critic reader, gale force winds struck at around 8.15pm while guests were at dinner. They were forced to hold down their drinking glasses to prevent them from flying to the other side of the room.

Windows were damaged and the sound of shattering glassware was heard from the kitchen.

The rolling and rocking of the ship lasted for 1.5 hours, which resulted in 50 broken windows and a dent in the prow of the ship.

Careful of the chandelier
Pacific Pearl

A chandelier fell three storeys down Pacific Pearl at 2.30am.

It was a close call on Pacific Pearl in February last year, when a three-meter wide chandelier fell three storeys and crashed into a café at 2.30am.

Lucky for the line the room was relatively empty and there were no injuries. However, passengers onboard left comments in online forums explaining that a few hours before it fell, the room had hosted guests at a champagne waterfall event, which was attended by a large number of guests.

Mutiny onboard
Queen Mary 2

Queen Mary 2 crew faced passenger mutiny when the ship skipped three port of calls. Image: Cunard Cruise Line

Skipping one port of call can be frustrating, but missing three can lead to an uprising.

That’s what crew onboard Queen Mary 2 in 2006 experienced when passengers threatened mutiny over the dropping of three port of calls.

According to the BBC, guests on the South America cruise from Fort Lauderdale to Rio said they weren’t told the ship would miss all port calls until after they had embarked.

They said the line should have told them prior to boarding and given them the option to skip the cruise.

In protestation, some passenger refused to disembark when the ship arrived in Rio and more than 200 joined a class action suit against the line.

The line offered passengers a full refund for the cruise and airfare and the class action suit was dropped.

They didn’t show up for work
Aerial Labadee - Haiti Oasis of the Seas - Royal Caribbean International

Oasis of the Seas and three other ships were forced to circle St Thomas harbour for two and a half hours because harbour employees didn’t show up to work. Image: Royal Caribbean

The ships arrived – but there’s no one there to greet them.

That’s what happened in 2010 when four ships were forced to circle St Thomas harbour for two and a half hours because wharf employees didn’t turn up for their shift.

So the four ships, Emerald Princess, Carnival Liberty, Carnival Dream and Oasis of the Seas had little choice but to remain at sea.

The captains were forced to work with port officials to find a temporary solution.