WINSTON-SALEM, N.C.-- Relief only begins to describe how a Winston-Salem family feels being back on land after their trip turned terrifying.
The cruise ship they sailed on went right into a powerful winter storm last week-- the same storm referred to as a "bomb cyclone."
The Kouri family is mostly smiles now, but just last week they feared this day would never come.
"Today is actually the first day that I have gotten through the day without crying," Sara Kouri said.
Sara and Brian Kouri decided to do this past Christmas differently.
Instead of gifts, they booked a family vacation on "The Breakaway" a cruise ship with Norwegian Cruise Line.
"We decided to go to New York for a couple days and then get on this boat and go to the Bahamas--get some warm weather." Sara said.
The ship set sail December 29th, 2017. The vacation was going great until the ship hit inclement weather in the Bahamas. It only got worse on the way home.
"We woke up in a dead sleep at one in the morning with 60 mile an hour winds whistling outside of our door people screaming. We find out about our neighbors having their door sucked into the ocean," Brian said.
"I came out into the main cabin and the winds just took my breath away," Sarah explained.
In the early hours of January 4th, the ship's captain decided to sail the ship through the winter storm.
"It would just rock back and forth stuff would fall off the shelves and just crazy loud crashes for hours." Brian said.
"That was the moment my oldest daughter said to me, 'are we going to die are we going to die'." Sarah said.
Scared and confused, the family split up--mom with the three teenage girls in the lobby and dad with their three-year-old son-- because their safe dry spot couldn't hold the entire family.
"It was terrifying. The girls would tell us there was water not in the lobby we were in, but on our floor." Sara said.
The family says it weathered this storm, but say no cruises ever again.
The cruise line apologized, saying it didn't expect the seas to be this rough, but the Kouri family says that's not enough.
They want to know why the captain sailed into the storm even though the Bomb Cyclone had been forecasted well in advance.
So far, the family has not heard from the company directly, but is waiting for answers.
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