It was a traumatic weekend for our guests and crew onboard Royal Caribbean International‘s Brilliance of the Seas. A storm of great intensity affected a considerable portion of the Eastern Mediterranean, with serious impact on land and at sea. Based on numerous conversations with Bill Wright, our SVP Marine Operations, prior to his leaving for Malta to meet the ship on Tuesday afternoon, as well as with Lisa Bauer, our SVP Hotel Operations, the following is our update as of Monday night Miami time.
During Brilliance of the Seas’ approach to Alexandria, Egypt, early Sunday morning, eight days into the sailing, the ship experienced extreme wind and sea conditions, including heavy seas and 70 knot winds, nearly double what had been forecasted. The combination of the wind and sea conditions resulted in some episodes of significant listing within the span of a few minutes. While the ship is built to withstand such extremely rare occurrences, the experience was nevertheless frightening for those onboard.
Approximately 60 guest injuries were reported, the most serious of which were two guests with fractures. The medical facility onboard is fully operational and our medical team is diligently caring for guests.
The severe ship movement caused damage to some public areas and a loss of electricity in some staterooms. Aesthetic damages to the ship’s interior have caused the closure of three public venues for the remainder of the sailing: the beauty salon, video arcade and disco. There has been no impact to the ship’s operating systems or engines and the ship continues to be fully seaworthy.
Because of the inclement weather, Brilliance of the Seas was unable to call in Alexandria, and instead proceeded to the next port of call, Valetta, Malta, where it is arriving Tuesday morning at 7:00 a.m. local time. The ship will conclude its sailing in Barcelona, Spain on Friday, as scheduled. Subsequent cruises will sail as scheduled and the ship will not require a dry dock, as repairs are underway.
As a gesture of goodwill, and to thank guests onboard Brilliance of the Seas for their understanding during this difficult situation, Royal Caribbean International has provided guests with an onboard credit, as well as a full refund of their cruise fare paid for the sailing.
I want to send my thanks to the crew of Brilliance for the tireless efforts during all of this. They have gone without sleep in order to provide the best cruise possible for our guests during times of less than positive circumstances.
Royal Caribbean understands that this has been a frightening experience for our guests and crew, and our officers and crew onboard Brilliance of the Seas will make every effort to ensure that the remainder of the cruise is as enjoyable as possible.
Brilliance of the Seas is sailing on a 12-night itinerary that departed Barcelona, Spain with scheduled port calls in Sicily (Palermo), Italy; Athens (Piraeus) and Rhodes, Greece; Alexandria, Egypt and Valetta, Malta.
On behalf of my colleagues at Royal Caribbean International, I sincerely apologize that our guests onboard Brilliance of the Seas suffered such a direct impact from the storm.
We would also like to share this video of Captain Wright expressing our concern and further discussing details of what happened from an experienced marine operations perspective: