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Cruise Ship Chaos: 'Technical Issue' Causes Carnival Sunshine To List To One Side, Terrifying Passengers

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- It's a case of chaos on the high seas. A Carnival cruise ship tipped to one side, sending luggage and other loose items sliding and falling all around and sparking panic among passengers.

The cruise line says an electrical switchboard malfunctioned, causing the bumpy start to the week-long voyage. The Carnival Sunshine teetered to one side mere hours after leaving Port Canaveral on Sunday night.

Passenger Kyla Williams says her husband had to hold her up so she wouldn't fall.

"I was shifting, falling out of my seat," she said. "This was very much the ship rolling to one side and everything falling down from that, and it was something you'll never forget."

A passenger from Long Island tells CBS2's Orlando affiliate, WKMG-TV, it was "pure chaos" once tables started sliding around the dining room.

Another cruise-goer wrote on social media that water ran into elevators, and all her clothes were soaked by exploding cans falling from shelves.

"Get me off!!!!" the user exclaimed on Twitter.

A spokesperson for Carnival tells CBS2 the ship "experienced a technical issue."

"There was never any issue with the safe operation of the ship," the spokesperson said in a statement. "Our officers quickly intervened to correct the situation."

Carnival says the boat leveled out after about a minute, then continued on its route. Video from the ship shows employees trying to clean up the mess as passengers clutch at life jackets later that night.

In the days following, guests got a letter from the captain offering each person a $50 on-board credit "So you can enjoy something on us."

The next day, a passenger wrote on social media "$50 credit is not enough. I did not sleep at all we got no explanation until this morning. My cruise is ruined. I cannot wait to get off this ship. I'm terrified."

CBS2 sent that passenger's complaint straight to the cruise line, which said in response, "We appreciated our guests understanding of this disruption and provided compensation as a gesture of goodwill."

They say there were a number of guests who wanted to disembark the ship early, and they honored their requests. The Sunshine is scheduled to return to port Friday morning.

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