‘There was an impending doom type feeling’: Louisville couple aboard Norwegian cruise ship

Louisville couple aboard Norwegian cruise during storm emergency

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - A Louisville couple was on the Viking Sky cruise as an emergency unfolded and hundreds were airlifted off the ship, their relaxing vacation ending in a wild and exhausting adventure.

“The whole ship went sideways, and everything came out of the closets,” Kathy Pfeffer said.

Pfeffer was on a 13-day cruise traveling off the Norwegian coast.

“Everything came out the dresser,” Pfeffer said. “My husband was thrown across the room.”

Pfeffer said she enjoyed the first few days of their cruise. Dog sledding was exhilarating, Pfeffer said, but it didn’t compare to the events that followed.

The first wave hit the ship Saturday afternoon, and a second shortly after. Sirens went off and the Pfeffers said passengers put on their orange life vests and headed to their designated safe areas.

“You’re in the North Atlantic with freezing waters and blowing winds, so there was an impending doom-type feeling,” Pfeffer said.

The Pfeffers and about 1,000 other passengers were in the middle of an intense storm. The ship’s four engines cut out while off the Norwegian coast.

“The ship had eight levels, but when you have a disaster, they don’t use the elevators, so everybody has to go down the steps,” Pfeffer said. “There was a lot of people trying to help each other and it was chaotic.”

Nearly 500 passengers were airlifted from the vessel, in groups of 20 at a time.

“I was thrilled that they didn’t say, ‘Pfeffers, it’s your turn,’” Pfeffer said.

Crews reset the engines and made it to Molde, Norway. Pfeffer said she was in the designated emergency area for about 23 hours before getting to shore.

Following the time at sea, it took another 40 hours and multiple flights before the Pfeffers were back home in Louisville.

“It was more of an adventure than I thought it was going to be,” Pfeffer said.

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