Terrifying scene captured onboard Australian cruise

Nearly 3,500 passengers and crew from an Australian cruise ship stranded at sea are on solid ground after powerful waves off the coast prevented the Carnival ship from docking in Sydney Harbour.

What was meant to be a 12-night cruise onboard the Carnival Spirit was prolonged by what some are calling a once-in-a-lifetime storm, reports CBS News correspondent Elaine Quijano.

Video taken from inside the Carnival Spirit shows powerful, 30-foot waves slamming against the ship.

Violent waters and winds up to 85 mph forced officials to shut down Sydney Harbour to commercial shipping.

"Upstairs on the main deck a lot of the glass had been pushed out smashed all over the place," passenger Ernie Pittana said. "Chairs just turned like lollipops, it was just crazy."

It's all part of a massive storm system barreling its way down the Australian Coast.

Three people have been killed since Monday as more than a foot of rain led to flash flooding.

More than 200,000 homes and businesses lost power and emergency responders were overwhelmed by calls from people needing help.

"There is no doubt that this is a very severe storm event, indeed it's a one-in-every-ten-year event. It's probably more severe than what was anticipated, so the clearly the consequences are quite significant," New South Wales state premier Mike Baird said.

Carnival reported no medical emergencies onboard the stranded ship.

"The waves were just incredible and that made it a little more scarier," one passenger said. "I'm just glad to be here."

Representatives for Carnival said their ships were built to take the kind of punishment brought on by the powerful storm which gave Sydney it's wettest two days in nearly two decades.