Cruises have always been ranked as one of the most popular options for vacationers. Cruises accommodate singles, couples, and families of all ages. Some can get real expensive. But that’s nothing compared to what you get in return—unbeatable luxury, travel, food, and entertainment—all on crystal clear waters, while floating on a decked out ship.
That being said, like all vacations, some experiences on the high seas can have disastrous moments. Inclement weather can have a huge impact on the level of fun you’ll have on a cruise. Typically, cruises are known to avoid such situations. But nature does tend to have a mind of its own. The one thing travelers definitely hope for, regardless of some rain or rough waves, is a nice relaxing time.
The last thing any vacationer would expect to witness would be ghosts or any experiences dealing with the paranormal. Slamming doors, strange voices, knocking sounds, creepy footsteps, objects moving on their own, and lights flickering on and off aren’t usually part of the excursion. Well, unless you book your high seas adventure on a haunted cruise liner.
Many people have heard of liners such as The Queen Mary, which is well-known to be one of the most notorious cruise ships for having active paranormal encounters. Cruise liners such as this one and others have garnered so much attention that some even promote their hauntings through guided ghost tours, and even hold special stays onboard these ships. Now, some vacationers intentionally book stays on these cruises just to have a chance to interact and experience the ‘strange’. Below are 15 creepy sightings and encounters noted by passengers on cruise ships.
15. Spirit Of Dana
The 2nd class pool and cargo areas on the Queen Mary are also booming with paranormal activity. Many have claimed to see and feel a strange spirit. One specific spirit, that makes the 2nd class cargo area her home, is said to be of Dana’s. She was a young girl who was allegedly murdered in B-474 (with the rest of her family) by her father. Stories say that Dana and her father were found dying in the bathroom with gunshot wounds. Dana now likes to play in the cargo area, and is heard calling for her mother. Sometimes, this spirit is often heard in the boiler room area and the second class pool. Many staff members confirm eerie cries that echo in the boiler room and pool areas. A staff member recalled first hearing a child’s voice calling out for her mother and then seeing a small figure, which suddenly disappeared in a cloud of white mist.
14. Three’s A Crowd
A daughter and her mother were on the Thomson Celebration, a smaller and more intimate cruise liner. Both guests were trying to figure out what to do since it was a day out at sea, so they decided to go to the cinema. Allegedly, they were in the cinema and have both decided to sit near the back. Ten minutes into the film, three people walked in and sat towards the left of the mother and daughter. The figures appeared to walk all the way down to the front, as if looking for seats, even though there was only the mother and daughter. The three people turned and walked towards where the mother and daughter were sitting and sat right behind them. As they sat down, the daughter told her mother they should move, feeling uneasy. As both got up to move, they realized there was no one in the row behind them.
13. The Lady In White
There have been countless stories of “The Lady in White,” a ghostly figure that is claimed to haunt castles, cliffs, and even cruise liners. On the Queen Mary, she was once a young and beautiful woman, who once enjoyed dancing in the ship’s salon. Witnesses say that “The Lady in White” is seen dancing to unheard music in the salon area. One passenger said the ghost wears a white, or off-white, evening gown. It’s also said that the piano that now resides in the lobby is also a hot spot for this waltzing ghostly beauty. She has been seen usually around three in the morning, by coming down the stairs into the lobby area. One ghost tour passenger ran after her as the ghost left into the elevator area, but when the passenger caught up, “The Lady in White” vanished. Two people waiting for the elevator didn’t see anyone come out of there.
12. The Stranger & The Wardrobe
In August of 2005, one man and his son went for a vacation onboard the Thomson Destiny, a Greek cruise liner. He had the fright of his life when he awoke at six in the morning to a shadowy stranger in his cabin. It all started when the man woke up to the sound of his wardrobe doors swinging wide open. He sat up on his bed and noticed a man rummaging around the wardrobe. The guest allegedly shouted something out and the ghost (who had shoulder-length blond hair and was wearing some sort of uniform) dived into the wardrobe. The startled traveler jumped out of bed and was at the wardrobe in a matter of seconds. However, there was no trace of the intruder. Then, the guest got even more spooked when his son sat up (Exorcist style) and yelled out, “You don’t care about the people on this ship!” Then his son went back to sleep.
11. Saved By The Prayer
In April, a couple decided to sail on the Carnival Conquest. On several occasions, they both started to experience weird and startling events in their room. The couple allegedly claimed that they were about to make love when both heard their cabin doors opening and closing. The girlfriend asked if someone entered the cabin, and the man shook his head and looked toward the darkness. The man then heard the safe and cabinet door slam open on its own. A shadowy figure could be made out, which appeared to be a steward with his hand in the safe, watching the couple. The man asked his girlfriend if she saw him too. She immediately turned on the lights, but the apparition was gone. They decided to pray and then weren’t bothered again for the remainder of their trip. Although, the two would find out that other people in their hall had similar experiences.
10. Half Hatch Harry
During one particular stay onboard the regal Queen Mary, a woman had a memorable sighting of “Half Hatch Harry,” a nickname given to John Pedder, an 18-year-old firefighter who mysteriously died in 1966. Pedder died during a drill behind a heavy door, marked #13. There’s a lot of speculation of how he was crushed by the door, which took 60 seconds to close. The story is very mysterious, but Pedder is known to be quite the celebrity on board. He tends to make his presence known, whether you want him to or not. As the woman was guided by door #13, in her Queen Mary ghost tour, she felt her clothing being tugged on. She looked behind her but there was no one there. Then, as she turned to face the tour again, she noticed a hand print on door #13, which become more and more visible. The woman rushed back to the tour, explaining what had just happened, and decided she’d had enough.
9. Time To Go
On the last day of the cruise’s departure, a mother and her daughter were staying onboard the Brilliance of the Seas. At six in the morning, the mom woke up to her then 15-year-old daughter standing in the middle of the room. She called out to her daughter, wondering what she was doing. Her daughter then answered from the couch. Still dazed from sleepiness, she didn’t bother herself with the eerie occurrence. She fell back asleep. About an hour later, they were both awake and getting dressed to leave. The TV suddenly turned on by itself but the remote was on the bed. Then both allegedly smelled a rotten stench. The mother then heard two staff members next door struggling to open a storage door. The mother overheard one tell the other that it felt like someone was holding the door shut from inside. The mother soon rushed her daughter out, and immediately left their departure an hour early.
8. A Comforting Touch
Another cruise traveler also aboard the Carnival Conquest encountered a seemingly friendly spirit in cabin #2465. One night, a male guest went to dinner solo because his wife wasn’t feeling well. When he returned, his wife asked if he had come back to the cabin for anything. He said he hadn’t. The wife then explained that someone touched her on the leg, and that the touch woke her up. The woman decided it was nothing and blew it off. Weeks after the cruise, the man and his wife decided to attend a séance. Strangely, the soul guider asked the couple if anyone had recently been on a cruise and if anything strange happened. The man’s wife related the touch in the cabin. The soul guider said her aunt had died on the Carnival Conquest two years ago in cabin #2463. Shocked, the wife asked why the aunt had touched her. The soul guider calmly said that the aunt was just comforting her.
7. What’s Your Poison
William Eric Stark, one of the Mary’s officers, was waiting to entertain a couple of the ship’s officers after their watch one evening. Stark mistakenly grabbed a bottle of gin which actually contained tetrachloride, a strong cleaning fluid. The story says that William added some lime juice to the “gin” and began to drink while awaiting the other crewman. Apparently, Stark realized his mistake but didn’t really take it too seriously. In fact, he even joked about it with the two other officers when they finally arrived. A short time later, William Stark became very ill, and within four days, was pronounced dead. His ghost has been reportedly seen mostly near the captain’s cabin, located on the main deck and the ship’s promenade. One crew member says that on chilly evenings, he’ll hear choking sounds near the cabin area even though no one is around. People attribute the gagging sounds to William Stark.
6. Creepy Compliment
At around five in the afternoon, a woman on the Carnival Conquest was staying with her husband in cabin #6412. They both had just finished dressing up for dinner and the woman was admiring her own reflection in the mirror when suddenly, the woman heard something strange. She heard a male voice say, “You look beautiful tonight.” She turned to look lovingly at her husband, but then saw that he was on the balcony with the door shut. She then looked at the TV. It was on the menu channel playing only music. Confused, she assumed the voice came from the hall. The woman continued to prepare for dinner but she soon heard the compliment again. Now thoroughly frightened, the woman raced to the balcony and told her husband about the incident. What was eerie about this experience, coincidentally, was the voice incident happened an hour before an announcement was made about a man overboard the ship the same night.
5. Best Friends Forever
Jacqueline Torin [Jackie] and “Sarah” are two little girl spirits between the ages of five and eight. It’s claimed that both drowned in the second class pool on the Mary, during the 1940’s or earlier. Jackie likes to play games with the passengers she meets. Several staff members onboard say that if you hear singing, laughing, giggling, or audible answers to questions, it’s Jackie. A paranormal investigator on the ship once recorded these creepy EVP exchanges. “Sarah,” on the other hand, is reportedly more protective and guards “Jackie.” She’s also temperamental and even slightly more aggressive at times. “Sarah” tends to slap visitors that come to the pool area during late nights. Some say it’s a light tap while others claim it’s strong and sharp. The ghost investigator reported that after a few slaps, Sarah began to get used to the investigator’s presence and eventually got used to him probing the pool area.
4. The “Dudes”
Weird shadow figures are common in haunted ships. It can be quite scary for some who can actually make out clear details of these figures. The ‘Sir Winston’, onboard the Queen Mary, are home to two spirits called “The Dude.” One eyewitness claims that the first “Dude” is a well-dressed man complete with tails, a top hat, and with slicked-back hair. He’s flirtatious and enjoys the ‘Winston’ bar area. One time, he walked behind one female sitting at the bar, cleared his throat until she noticed him, and then turned away to vanish through the wall into the men’s restroom. The second “Dude” spirit, as described by one patron, is more gruesome. The second apparition is extremely tall and wears a yellowish “zoot-suit” paired with a yellow fedora. His eyes are yellow and his teeth are rotten. He appears around half-past three in the morning and likes to walk extremely close to people and staff members in the lobby area. The ghost will then give a scary grin upon passing individuals, then disappearing.
3. The Blonde Lady
The Dawn is another cruise liner which has been at the center of a handful of spooky paranormal experiences that have been reported by many guests. One very active spirit, a woman described as having short blonde hair, has been seen onboard by a few eyewitnesses. Many believe the spirit is that of a lady named Mindy Jordan. Supposedly, she was from New York. She died on the ship’s balcony after a terrible fall back in 2008. Two guests staying in rooms 10626 and 10628 reported waking up in the middle of the night. One guest describes first feeling heavy movement on the bed. The guest assumed it was just his/her partner. But when the guest realized the movement seemed to be at the foot of the bed, the guest opened his eyes to see a short-haired blonde woman. They were shocked to find her sitting at the end of the bed.
On October 2, 1942, the Queen Mary collided with the HMS Curacoa. The Curacoa was destroyed and the doomed ship sank within six minutes. 300 crew members died and drowned in the collision. To this day, guests regularly wake up to phantom sounds of screaming and sounds of water gushing towards the front of the ship. These emanating sounds lead many guests to believe that they are connected with the spirits of the Curacoa’s drowned men. A family was staying on the ship and on continuous nights, the family would wake around three in morning to yelling and screaming. The son of the family even went as far as waking the family up and saying it was a boat drill. When the family walked out of their room, they were surprised to find no drill and that all the other passengers were sound asleep. The boat was silent and there was no more screaming.
1. Room #340
To cap off all the creepy experiences on these eerie voyages, there is one place no passenger wants to stay or is even allowed to go. Room #B340 is the alleged location of an intense and vicious murder. There has been a lot of poltergeist activities related to this room. Through the years, many guests had requested to be placed in other rooms after their aggressive encounters. One passenger in particular was the last guest to stay in this room. He first heard a clear and loud voice telling him to “get out.” Right after that, the lights in the room began to turn on and off. Then, the faucet turned on and off, and finally, the guest reported that the bed covers were pulled off the bed as he lay there terrified. Nowadays, no one is allowed to book a stay in this room for that reason. Staff members have since sealed off the room, removed the cabin number, and they do not, under any circumstances, rent this room out to guests.