How much does the wind affect cruise ships?

Obviously it affects the water, but aside from that. Do cruise (by which I mean 10k ton+) ships have to steer into the wind by an appreicable amount, or do they only have to take current into account to head where they want to?

This interesting article about SF ship pilots seems to indicate that even in the short term with gigantic tankers, the wind has quite an effect.

The amount that has to be allowed for wind depends on a number of factors. Some ships have much higher windage than others. That is, they are affected more by wind. High freeboard (distance of the deck above the waterline) leads to high windage. Cruise vessels have high windage. So do ro-ro’s (roll on, roll off vessels) and container vessels when they have a lot of containers on deck ie most of the time.

Bulkers and tankers depend: when they are empty (“in ballast”*) they are dreadful because they are like a huge empty box, floating very high and with little draft to work on the water for navigational control. For a recent example of what can happen, Google “Pasha Bulker”.

Working in the other direction is draft: a deep draft vessel will have a lot of “grip” on the water to counteract windage. So when a bulker or tanker is fully loaded it will have massive draft and low freeboard and therefore little windage.

Some ships are much deeper draft than others. I don’t have much experience with cruise vessels. However, they have very high freeboard, and quite light, so I’d guess they are wind affected.

Another important factor is balance: bulkers and tankers tend to have a bridge aft, which catches the wind. In a cross wind, they tend to turn up into the wind. I don’t have any relevant experience, but I imagine that something like a cruise vessel may drift squarely downwind, but without a cross wind affecting heading too much. It depends on the balance of the silhouette they present.

Finally, don’t ask, I don’t think that article you link to says anything about wind having effect on tankers. It mentions container vessels. The tanker difficulties they mention involve draft, not wind. Presumably because they are coming in loaded.

*Empty cargo vessels are referred to as being “in ballast” or “ballasting” when empty because they take on water as ballast to weigh them down, precisely so that they are not utterly uncontrollable when at extremely shallow draft and with high windage. Oh, plus they don’t go real good with the prop out of the water.

Cruise ships have stablizers that help keep roll to a minimum. The don’t have much effect of pitch. Unfortunately, in high seas, the stablizers have to be deactivated to avoid damage.

I’ve been on two cruises that encountered 25 foot seas. Our speed had to be decreased to under 10 knots (normal was 21-23). We were told we were never in any danger, :dubious: but lots of people were sick. There was Dramimine velcroed to every flat surface.

At one point I missed a sign saying the outside deck was closed. I actually saw the drain in the pool, as all the water leaped into the air. Deck chairs were moving about 20 MPH in every direction. I made the trip across the deck without injury.

The storm lasted about 18 hours.

Here’s a site that tells some of the downside of cruising Bruise Cruise