The cruise ship Carnival Sunshine ran into some large waves churned up by a storm off the Southeast coast delaying its return from the Bahamas over the Memorial Day weekend.
A low pressure system off the southeast US coast combined with strong high pressure to the north produced winds to 50 knots building seas to 24 feet (7.3 meters) north and west of the center.
Some of the strongest winds occured over the Gulf Stream and counter to the flow of the current. When ocean wind or swell waves encounter a current moving in the opposite direction, the response will be for wave speed and length to decrease, wave period will not change, but wave heights will increase, resulting in taller, steeper waves. In some cases, this can even lead to waves breaking, resulting in greater energy against vessel hulls.