13/12/2010...11:12 am

Brilliance of the Seas: After the storm

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Update, Tuesday December 14, 08.30 GMT: Since this blog story was posted yesterday, Royal Caribbean has offered a full refund to all passengers on Brilliance of the Seas. You can read the full story here.


The Eastern Mediterranean was lashed by horrendous storms yesterday, causing some pretty frightening damage to Royal Caribbean’s Brilliance of the Seas, which was trying to get into port at Alexandria.

From the photoblog on NBC Nightly News: Damage in the atrium on board Brilliance of the Seas

Fortunately, there were no serious injuries and although, as you can see from our news story, the ship is badly battered on the inside, the cruise will go on, with a breather of 48 hours in Valletta for repairs. I should think those passengers will be happy to be on dry land.

Cruise Critic member dirtgirl is on board and has done a fantastic job via the message boards in reporting from the scene.

Late last night, she posted: “The Captain was great with keeping us informed; coming on the intercom about four times in the hour immediately after the event, and having his announcements translated into several languages each time.

“The staff have been going non-stop to clear the areas. The amount of work they have done to keep us all fed is amazing. The Windjammer was a disaster area this morning. That it was open for limited dinner service was incredible.

“The staff have gone without sleep to clean the ship and keep us fed. Venues are being reopened. The Casino is up, and everyone was in the Schooner Bar tonight having a good time.”

It’s amazing how quickly the ship has recovered. Yet still, the talk turns to compensation. Royal Caribbean has offered $200 onboard credit per cabin, which should cover a few drinks before the cruise ends in Barcelona on Friday. But Dirtgirl says in her post: “There are people right here in the computer area writing a letter to RCI saying it’s not enough. They had to line up for breakfast and lunch.”

And members have been quick to weigh in, most with sympathy for Royal Caribbean. Kathynorth says on the message boards: “If last night’s situation was due to an act of God then IMO $200 for every cabin on the ship seems very generous.” Germancruiser is blunter: “I think RCI has done a great job in offering $200 on board credit. THEY did not force the storm to come up. Does nobody read their contracts? In such circumstances they are not in duty to give anything.”

Member c-legs adds: “Did I miss the part where it says cruise lines are responsible to compensate guests because Mother Nature and The Big Guy Upstairs throw a temper tantrum in the form of a violent weather system storm?”

But member Jlg172 points out: “Yes, weather does happen, however, when you skip a port or miss something like Egypt on a Med cruise, one would hope that maybe you could get a discount on a future cruise or something like that. I know for us, we are scheduled on the next cruise and Egypt is one of the highlights and we would/will be extremely disappointed if we miss it.”

If cruise lines are going to have to start offering compensation every time a ship goes through a severe storm, then cruising is going to become a very expensive business.

What do you think? Should passengers on Brilliance of the Seas be compensated? Or has Royal Caribbean done enough?



  • Why must everybody get a Freebie…. In everyday life who coughs up $$$$ everytime were disapointed??? What is it coming tooo???

    • i DO NOT think that… Royal should Compensate any more then what they have already compensated for everyone.

      I beleive that every cruiser should be aware…. that PORTS DO get missed due to WEATHER. that is a safety issue you are talking about. I beleive they did everything possible to keep the vacationers SAFE. Why would you want to go to Egypt….. knowing that it would be worse in port.

      I understand that rccl. had alot of crew on board that did everything possible to get everything up and running again.

      Chalk it up to EXPERIENCE. this is a trip you wont forget….. but Im sure you all had a fun time. So what you missed a port… happens all the time.é

    • I agree with your very reasonable response. Of course,we must remember they are in the middle of shambles and are not able to step back to think this thru.

    • I agree with you Liana. It seems so greedy how people use an unfortunate situation to leach more from the cruise line.

    • The did enough, actually they did more than they should. It was an act of GOd, that was out of the hands of anyone. Yes it stinks, but not RC’s fault therefor they should not be responsible for anything. All this will do is drive up future prices. If you plan a trip to disney and it rains the whole time do you expect Disney to refund your stay… Get real people.

  • I find it overly-generous that RC is giving anything. We all know that when out on a cruise ship we are at the mercy of the weather. (In fact, it’s a benefit when a hurricane comes through and you’re able to re-route compared to vacationers on an island.) RC will have to pay enough to fix the ship, why shell out more to passengers for something out of their control?

  • Atticus0130

    And this is why you should buy travel insurance! Injured onboard? Covered! Missed a port? Compensated! Royal Caribbean is being more than generous by giving $200 OBC. If people didn’t properly insure themselves and their vacation it’s their own fault & hopefully will purchase and utilize insurance if they cruise again!

  • As a seasoned cruiser, I know it is inevitable that weather will affect what happens on a cruise. In this case there were no injuries and that in and of itself is a major thing. Every cruise contract (ticket) states that inconveniences such as acts of God (i.e., nature) do not require compensation. It is a risk that every cruiser accepts. Cruisers understand that the ship’s captain takes every precaution to provide a good cruise experience for his passengers. The fact that RCI is providing a $200 per cabin shipboard credit is terrific.

    As passengers we do not see the amount of work that goes into providing us with our daily requirements, i.e., food, clean cabin, etc. But the efforts of the crew to provide comfort and safety must be acknowledged.

    I believe it is RCI’s decision whether or not to compensate passengers further for any ‘inconvenience’ they experience. After all, they could have been stranded at sea like those folks on the Carnival ship a month or so ago.

    IMO, if you won’t accept the risks of being at sea then go to an amusement park.

  • Susan Bischoff

    I think it is generous for Royal Caribbean to offer the $200 on board credit. They are not responsible for the weather. However, I don’t think it is fair to give the $200 per cabin. It should be per person. Everybody had to pay to be on the ship, and some cabins have more in them than others. I think they could offer a discount on a future cruise of some kind, too.

  • These ships are very aware of the weather circumstances. Why this ship did not divert on a different course is the question. Most cruise ships can “outrun” a storm. Hurricanes too. I think the Captain is responsible and yes they should give some sort of compensation for such a catastrophic event.

    • I agree with Rick. The ship is presumably equipped with weather radar and they get weather forecasts. These should be taken into account in setting the course.

      I understood that there were injuries amongst the passengers too. (Broken limbs.)

      In such cases it is common to give compensation. $200 might be enough for minor inconvenience. This would seem to be much more than that.

      To miss the opportunity to go to Egypt is most unfortunate. Unlike one of the commenters, the experiences I have had in Egypt have been generally positive (and I have been there several times, sometimes as part of a cruise itinerary and sometimes ashore).

  • I think some people just look for a handout whenever possible – others are just spoiled babies. My wife and I were on the May 2009 RCI Mexican Riveira cruise that had it’s itinerary modified mid-cruise due to the swine flu “epidemic”. Some people on the cruise were irate, some (like us) took it in stride and made the most of it. After all, it’s my vacation that I’ve looked forward to for a long time. So it didn’t go exactly as I had planned, but I’ll be darned if I’m going to let it ruin my ENTIRE vacation. Get over it people – life will be so much more enjoyable if learn to roll with the punches.

  • You have to put the passengers in perspective. Not all have sea legs and then you are going to put that ship through something like that? The ship can handle an incredible storm but your passengers, which some have dramamine onboard. Consider those people too. Their first cruise. What is stuck in their mind and what do they advertise when they get back on land? This is what the Captain needs to consider while in control of the ship’s course.

  • Are you kidding me? The ship took a hit requiring 48 hours of repair. The staff worked overtime to make everything right for the passengers. Vendors in the ports lose money when a ship’s passengers can’t complete the shore excursions. Give the passengers a credit? What next? Credit for rain? Credit when it’s too hot or too cold? A disappointment for the passengers, but that’s what it is: a disappointment. Buy weather travel insurance. Now there could be a lucrative business.

  • Larry Thornton

    My wife an I are scheduled to take a RC Mediterranean Cruise in March and I was just talking to my wife last night about this saying how I thought it was great that RC was giving an onboard credit to every room for a rough ride and I thought it was fantastic. Obviously they will do something special for the people that got hurt.

    All you whiners who are griping that it is not enough should stay on land and not go on a cruise. Oh yea, don’t stay where they have earthquakes either because then who would compensate you if there is an earthquake?

    Give me a break. You are on a ship at sea and you should expect things to get bumpy once in a while. 30 people hurt, out of 3,000? that is 1%

    99% of the people got a wild ride with no injuries… Don’t people pay to go to amusement parks and get wild rides?

    Bunch of cry babies!

  • You are on a ship for god’s sake… It’s always on motion and will always be… You don’t like it? Get yourself a cheap all inclusive in Cuba then,…
    Well done RCI!!!!!
    Suggestion from an ex crew members!!! ;)

  • Linda Rodgers

    I agree that this was an act of God not a cause of RCCL neglect of the ship or poor administration on the part of the captain or crew. Why are people so quick these days to file law suits or ask for freebees? I vote that $200 per cabin is more than fair!

  • I think RCI are very generous in giving $200 each cabin.
    Have any of those passengers spared a thought for the crew of a ship that went down in the very same storm. I doubt it very much.
    Let them be thankful they weren’t tossed into the sea and appreciate the stalwart efforts of their crew in keeping the ship running through adverse conditions.

    • yes, and those same passangers probably won’t even tip the dining room staff and the staff would’ve worked in the same ordeal FOR FREE.
      the people who moan are not God fearing Christians because then they would know no-one can control the weather.
      if you’re looking for freebies, become a bum!!
      i don’t think any of the moaning passangers know how much hard work goes in behind the scenes. what would they do to a 70hour working week? probably moan about that too!! shame
      i am all for RCCL, the captain and the staff….and yes, i’m ex-crew.

  • The port was missed because of the bad weather, there will be and should be no compensation for this, it’s part of cruising. The $200 per cabin, I imagine, is to compensate for the loss of venues aboard the ship and for any discomfort endured by the passengers during the storm that damaged the vessel. People should stop whinning and enjoy their holiday

  • You are so right…Thank God you are safe instead of looking for compensation..

  • What a world we live in, when people hope to
    cash in because of a bad storm was inconvenient!
    What do they do when they can’t get out of their
    house due to a weather related occurrence!
    The cruise line contract clearly states that they
    may miss ports due to weather. If you are a frequent cruiser it has happened to you at least once.

  • Chesapeake Cruise

    Sounds like RCL is being fair taking care of the passengers. Everyone is compensated some bucks, and I assume they are being refunded the costs for shore excursions at the missed ports. Ships ARE ships, not terra firma, and storms happen. Luckily, the result wasn’t something like a disabled ship with no power in the middle of the sea.

  • Elena Monglaise

    I was on two Silversea cruises within 2 months of each other. Each cruise missed a port due to weather. On the first cruise we were offered USD500.00/rm off a future cruise but on the 2nd we were offered nothing. I don’t think Silversea needed to do anything and was most appreciative of the credit. What I didn’t understand was the lack of consistency in applying a policy. I emailed Silversea to ask about this and received a reply that made no sense. When I questioned this reply, there was no response.

  • Seems to me that weather is beyond the control of any shipline – it’s an occupational hazard which should be understood by all passengers. The unrest and demands seem to be growing more and more often –
    along with frivolous law suits. So it’s a sign of the times – where did personal responsibility go?

  • no freebies the company had nothing to do with the weather! Some people are just looking for an excuse to get something for nothing. Read the contract you signed before you went on the cruise!!

  • We were on a cruise last September when hurricane Earl hit St. Thomas and we had to miss a port call. The captain has a responcibility for safety. Passengers should grow up and enjoy the rest of the cruise.

  • Those whiners subscribe to the philosophy: “I didn’t get what I want and you owe me!”

    If you follow that philosophy through to the alternate conclusion, if you have a cruise where the skies are incredibly blue and the temperature exceeds your expectations, you should give the cruise line an extra $200!!

    (Hey, you can’t have it both ways, folks!)

  • My husband is on the cruise. They are now getting a full refund. They announced it earlier today

  • Joanne Payling

    RCCL is being generous to its customers. Cruisers Beware – you are on a ship in open seas. You are at the mercy of the weather, the ship, and the captain. What I would love to know is the behind-the-scenes decision making that 1.) allowed the captain to take the ship into such bad weather when he could (assumably) have rerouted and avoided it, and 2.) the cruiseline actions that will be taken (assumably) against this captain for the $$$$$ he cost the cruiseline by not avoiding the storm. Bottom line, was this rough ride avoidable and who is responsible for that call?

  • These people should not leave their homes! Obviously they have never considered the risks out there! If you go to sea, then you are at the mercy of the elements as you are anywhere on the planet. If you are injured in an extreme weather event, that’s what your insurance is for.

    I was on a Celebrity ship that misssed two ports due to very bad weather. The company compensated us but the incredible/constant whining that went on for the rest of the trip really spoiled my holiday. Of course these same complainers would have really had a field day had someone been injured or worse, lost their life in a tender in the mountainous seas! I didnt feel that Celenrity needed to do anything at all – after all they are not responsible for the weather, just as any cruise line is not. As for the person that suggested the Captain was at fault, until you are there in his shoes and armed with all the facts, I dont really think any of us are in a position to make a valid comment. Not all storms can be outrun and other factors do come in to play eg. Europe has had appalling weather in the last few weeks, there may have been other potentially worse storm cells besides the one that he was dealing with.

    Sadly this is all part of the nanny mentality where we expect everyone else to take responsibility for us! Step up, shut up or stay home.

  • My daughter and I were on that cruise Nov. 23rd. The entire crew was fantastic and we were fortunate to have good weather. We are so sorry for the trouble they encountered on this trip. Our concern was that all passengers and the great crew were safe. Our prayers go out to the staff that all are well.

  • My daughter and I just returned from the same cruise on Dec. 7th. Thank God no one was badly injured. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the Captain and crew for their handling of a terrible situation. We hope all the great staff we got to know survived with no injuries.

  • I think the consumer issue is a red herring in this incident. The real issue is whether the crew made any mistaken decisions (knowing that there was inclement weather near the port).. For example, a thunderstorm is an act of god-but if a commercial pilot flies a plane through a Cb thunderstorm cloud (even though it is visible by radar), that pilot is taking reckless action given the act of god, and increasing the risk of adverse outcome for the passengers.. If RC is giving refunds, is most likely because mistakes were potentially made by one or more members of the captain and crew….

  • Everyone should get free cruises. They were aware of the weather conditions many days in advance.

  • Roger Bouchard

    If as in the case earlier this year, the ship broke down which is a direct fault of the cruise line, or actually responsibility is a better word, then yes compensation is warrented. In this case the cruise line is not able to control the weather. Had they reacted badly and not looked after people appropriately then perhaps there should be something else. In this case it appears from comments that they have jumped through hoops trying to please people. Obviously some will think they should receive more, it is human nature after all to try to get what you can. But I think they are in line with what I would expect.

  • Veronica Saville

    I just returned from a 12 night cruise on The Brillance of the Sea. I did a Barcelona run from the 30th November. After reading some of the comments above I would like to add that some of the passenger on my cruise complained bitterly to the staff over the rain. I mean to say, really, these passengers have to get a life, they were making out it was the staff & Royal Caribbeans fault. It is an act of God & as I said to the passenger’s who complained around me “It’s only water”. This was my second cruise with Royal Caribbean & I have & will recommend them highly to whoever will listen. The staff are amazing, nothing is too much for them, not to mention the entertainment, it is up there with Vegas. The John Taylor “Believe in Dreams” magic show is amazing. No wonder he won The Merlin award. I feel Royal Caribbean has been very generous with $200.00 credit & a refund. The people who are complaining that it isnt enough are going to complain about the sun coming out after a month of rain.
    I carnt wait for my next cruise, which will be with Royal Caribbean.
    Veronica Saville

  • Royal Caribbean is a top notch cruise line. Other cruise lines would not have offered a full refund. When something bad happens on Royal Caribbean, it is not hid from the public. The cruise line puts the problem in the news and gives the name of the ship and makes the media very awary. Kudos to Royal Caribbean.

  • I think the passengers should give the crew on the ship $200 each for getting them through this with only minor problems. What is it with people these days? We are on this ship on the 29th Dec, and looking forward to sailing with RCCL again. I honestly don’t know how some people dare walk out of their houses these days just incase they might find something to claim for…….

  • I think in this case the stabilisers were drawn in by mistake which made the ship list badly, causing most of the damage, yes I agree weather is weather and you cant control it.

  • People who take a cheap cruise in the med in the middle of a European winter must be aware that they may encounter bad weather. The cruises are cheaper at this time of year in Europe because of this. People who want to cruise in sunshine and calm waters can go to the Caribbean or pay summer prices in the Med. I see no reason why anyone should revieve anything from RCI.

  • My thoughts are that Captain Wright using the word ‘mistake’ in his announcements was the reason behind the compensation. I wasn’t on the cruise but from what I have read the ship was coming into a busy shipping lane, the weather bad and poor sea conditions. That is what is is like at sea you have to be prepared for the unpredictible.

    • The captain then turned the ship broad side to the waves and with no power and no stablisers we were caught sideways in a wave. Human error as the captain said, that’s why we were given the full refund. There were complaints about the 200 dollars but I don’t think anyone was expecting the refund. So was it an error? Off course it was why else would they give it, the captain said so himself. As for the injuries being mild, if it hadn’t been 2:30am and we were all up and about then I have no doubt that there would have been fatalities onboard.

  • we were on the freedom in november we could not stop at the Bahamas ,because of the hurrican on the west coast of the Caribbean, we were offered no compensation, and did not expect any ,we were just glad that the captain ,had made the decision to go futher east to keep away from the storm.

  • Paula Banks

    I do not want to be a RCCL basher because I do believe they are the best in the world and was on board the Brilliance and have already rebooked our next cruise. But I would like for people to really open their eyes to what happened, this was no random act of god. In my opinion this was an error either by the computer or poor judgment of the captain. I feel and was told by staff that the reason we listed was because the vessel had slowed down so much that the stabilizers became ineffective. We had been in the same weather before the incident and after the incident for hours with no issue. So than the question becomes, why did we slow down? Was it due to traffic or an attempted entry into the port of Alexandria which was already closed at that point and was the captain on the bridge and should he have been if the weather was so bad. The staff did work night and day and no one is taking that away from them but people please think about why you got the credit so quickly. It took the captain approximately 30 minutes before he even came on the pa , he did call it an accident on two different occasions and he also said that he would attempt a safer approach at later time. People that left their staterooms right after we righted ourselves to look for family members saw numerous staff with lifejackets on but we were never called to our muster stations. I do not want to see this one incident define anyone’s lifelong career but maybe we should all wait until the officials from tha Bahamas that boarded the boat in Malta according to RCCL finish their investigation before we put RCCL on too high a pedestal.

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