The Cruise Ship is a scary story about a man who books a holiday at sea, but soon begins to suspect that his cabin is haunted. It is based on an old ghost story called “The Upper Berth” by F. Marion Crawford.
A few years ago, I booked a holiday on a cruise ship. I was staying in Cabin 105. Each cabin had a bunk bed, so I had to share the cabin with another person. I never met my roommate, but I saw his suitcase sitting next to the wardrobe.
The cabin was quite small, but the bed was comfortable. The only thing I could complain about was the dreadful stench of damp that hung in the air. That night, when we set sail, I was tired, so I went to bed early and chose the bottom bunk.
In the middle of the night, I was suddenly awakened by a loud noise. I heard a groan coming from the bunk above me so I assumed that my roommate must have come into the cabin while I was asleep. I couldn’t see anything in the darkness.
I heard him unlocking the door and then I heard his footsteps running down the corridor. He left the door open behind him and it swung on its hinges as the ship rolled on the waves. I got up to shut it, then groped my way back to my bed in the darkness and went to sleep again.
When I woke up in the morning, the sea was very rough and the cruise ship was rolling back and forth on the waves. The damp smell was still in the room and it was extremely cold. The porthole was hanging open and I had to get up to shut it. The curtains of the top bunk were closed, so I assumed my roommate was still asleep.
I got dressed and went up on deck. When I found one of the stewards, I complained about how cold and damp my cabin was.
“Which cabin are you staying in?” he asked.
“Cabin 105,” I replied.
As soon as I said this, the steward’s face turned pale. He visibly shuddered and stared at me.
“What’s the matter?’ I asked.
“Oh… um… nothing,” he replied. “It’s just that… Everyone who stays in that cabin has complained about it… There’s something not right about it… Well, I’m not supposed to talk about it. They don’t want us to frighten the passengers.”
“What are you talking about?” I asked in surprise.
The steward looked over his shoulder and lowered his voice. “I don’t want to lose my job,” he whispered, “but I thought you should know. On the last three trips, all of the people who have slept in cabin 105 have jumped overboard…”
With that, the steward walked away. I wasn’t sure if I should take him seriously.
When I was eating breakfast, the captain came down to see me.
“Have you seen your roommate?” he asked.
“No,” I replied. “Why?”
“He seems to have disappeared,” the captain said in a low voice. “We’re afraid he might have jumped overboard.”
“He’s the fourth, then!” I exclaimed.
When he realized I knew about the other three, the captain became nervous.
“Don’t mention this to the other passengers,” he said grimly. “We don’t want a panic on our hands.”
That night, when I went back to my cabin, I pulled back the curtains on the top bunk. It was empty. It gave me the creeps to think that the man who slept there was probably dead now. I got undressed and lay down on my bed to get some sleep.
In the middle of the night, I was awoken by a banging noise. It was freezing cold. The porthole was wide open again and it was banging against the wall. I got out of bed to close the porthole, but just then, I distinctly heard something moving behind me in the top bunk.
I turned to look, but it was too dark to see anything. Then, I heard a faint groan and the blood almost froze in my veins. Something was there.
Overcoming my fear, I ran across to the top bunk, pulled open the curtains and felt around inside. To my horror, my hands felt something there… something wet and icy cold… something that smelled horribly of rotting seaweed.
All of a sudden, the thing sprang at me. It was like a clammy mass of ooze, heavy and wet, but incredibly strong. I fell backwards and in an instant, the door opened and the thing flew out. I rushed out after it, but the corridor was dimly-lit and I couldn’t see anything there.
I was very frightened so I went back into my cabin and turned on the lights. The top bunk was completely drenched with sea water and the whole place stank of rotting seaweed. I was too nervous to go back to sleep, so I went up on deck to get some fresh air and clear my head.
The captain was there and I tried to tell him about the night’s events.
“I’ve never been so scared in all my life,” I said. “I think my cabin is haunted.”
“Nonsense,” the captain said. “Just to prove it to you, tomorrow night, I’ll share the cabin with you. Then we’ll see what happens. I’m sure there’s a rational explanation.”
The next night, the captain met me outside my cabin. We went in and he locked the door behind us.
“Now nothing can get in or out,” he said.
We searched the cabin to make sure it was empty. Then, the captain sat down on a chair in front of the door and I sat on the edge of the bottom bunk. He took out a bottle of whiskey and offered me a drink.
“The first time it happened was a month ago,” he said. “The passenger who stayed in this cabin was a mental patient. He escaped from the lunatic asylum and bought a ticket on this cruise ship. Maybe he was planning to kill himself. Who knows what goes on in the minds of these lunatics? In the middle of the night, he threw himself overboard…”
Just then, he stopped and stared at the porthole. I stared at it too. The bolt that held it closed seemed like it was turning, ever so slowly. We both gasped. All of a sudden, the lights went out.
The cruise ship rolled on the waves and the porthole slammed open. The curtains on the top bunk swung back and forth. The captain jumped to his feet with a loud cry of surprise. In the darkness, I could see him wrestling with something.
“There’s something in the top bunk!” he screamed.
I reached out and tried to help him, but my fingers closed around something ghastly… something that was horrible beyond words… something that stank of rotting seaweed and stale sea water.
It was a slippery, oozy horrible thing… the pale, bloated corpse of a drowned man. His dead white eyes stared at me from the darkness and there was an awful grimace on its dead face.
The ghastly thing grabbed me by the neck and began to choke the life out of me. It was so strong, it was overpowering me. I was struggling to breathe. I cried out and it let me go. The thing sprang across me and threw itself on the captain and he fell backwards with a cry of horror.
The thing paused for an instant, crawling over him and then it vanished through the porthole.
I helped the captain to his feet and we both staggered out of the cabin. An hour later, some members of ship’s crew were nailing boards over the cabin door.
To this day, the cabin is blocked off and no passenger has ever been allowed to stay the night there again. As far as I know, Cabin 105 is still haunted by that ghastly dead thing.