Angry BC Ferries passengers demanded answers Monday after going on what they described as the "ride from hell."

Heavy winds and large waves battered the Northern Adventure's overnight sailing Sunday from Prince Rupert to Skidegate in the Queen Charlotte Islands, sending dishes off shelves and cars into one another.

Passengers told that they held on tightly as the ferry listed from one side to the other.

"There were cleaners all over the floor in the hallway. Supply closets exploded," said passenger Tara Sjolund, who said she rode out the storm with her family on a mattress on the floor of their cabin.

"Nobody slept."

The ferry, which left at 11 p.m. Sunday and was scheduled to arrive at 7 a.m. Monday, never made its destination.

At about 7 a.m., the captain announced that he was turning the ferry around and returning to Prince Rupert, passengers said.

The ferry got into Prince Rupert at about 1 p.m.

As of Monday night, some people were still stranded, uncertain what they were going to do and wondering why the captain made the decision to ride into rough seas in the first place.

"We knew we shouldn't be going. We were surprised when they started to leave," said Sjolund, 37, of Masset, who spoke by phone from the Anchor Inn in Prince Rupert where she and others were staying.

Attempts to reach representatives from BC Ferries for comment were unsuccessful Monday night.

A notice on the BC Ferries website Monday afternoon indicated that Northern Adventure's 11 p.m. sailing was cancelled and that its next scheduled sailing was 6:30 p.m. Tuesday to Port Hardy.

"We apologize for any inconvenience experienced as a result of this service interruption," the site said.

Passenger Katrina Overton, 27, a paramedic in Queen Charlotte City, who was also staying at the motel, described the ferry trip as the "ride from hell."

She said a plate flew off a table in her cabin and hit her boyfriend, Matthew Davies, in the head.

Overton said she could hear vehicles smashing into one another below her room and plates crashing in the cafeteria above.

"The captain should never have sailed in the first place. He put everyone's lives in danger," she said.

The couple were considering taking a flight out of Prince Rupert on Tuesday. Overton said she's due back at work and her boyfriend manages the main grocery store in Queen Charlotte City.

The ill-fated trip didn't just inconvenience them, she said. The ferry was hauling a week's worth of the store's food supplies.