It was meant to be a fun, carefree vacation for Alexus Sheppard and her wife Debbie but after their cruise ship was hit by rough weather and suffered engine problems, the couple’s vacation was anything but relaxed.
They were off the coast of Norway in treacherous, frigid waters when there was a loss of power to the ship's engine.
Sheppard, a Rio Vista native, was one of nearly 1,400 people on board the Viking Sky at the time. Now, they’re just thankful to be alive.
“I didn’t think I was going to die but I knew I could,” Sheppard told FOX40 over the phone.
Holding on for dear life, all Sheppard could do was watch as the cruise ship rocked back and forth.
“It got worse and worse to the point where the chairs were sliding completely to one side of the ship, bashing into the windows and sliding to the other side of the ship,” she said.
Furniture went flying, glass shattered and even parts of the ceiling fell on passengers.
“My wife and I are both avid yachtsmen. We have been subjected to some pretty rough seas. But this was unlike anything we’ve ever seen,” Sheppard explained.
She knew it was bad when the crew issued a mayday call.
“We didn’t think we were going to die as long as the captain and the crew did the right thing, but we knew it was possible because of how close we were to the rocks,” Sheppard said.
Rescuers couldn’t use lifeboats to evacuate passengers because of the rough waters and wind. So they took to the air, using helicopters to airlift nearly 500 passengers to safety, one by one.
Other passengers like Sheppard waited on board, putting on life jackets and sleeping on the floor until finally, more than 24 hours after the whole ordeal started, the ship made it to port.
Sheppard and her wife were not injured but FOX40 was told roughly 20 people were.
“We’re finally here and we’re docked, and it’s comfortable,” she said.
It was more than enough excitement for Sheppard, who just hopes the rest of her vacation will be smooth sailing from now on.
“The room is warm and they’ve cleaned it all up. So, we’re spending the night on the ship,” she stated.
They plan to travel around Europe a bit more before returning home to Rio Vista.