Passengers aboard Brilliance of the Seas horrified by big storm

Royal caribbean cruise

The 90,000 ton Royal Caribbean ship Brilliance of the Seas was tossed like a cork in high winds and heavy seas on a Mediterranean cruise. Image: CC Rennett Stowe/Flickr

The Brilliance of the Seas, a Royal Carribean cruise ship, was caught in a surprise storm off the coast of Egypt over the weekend. Heavy seas and high winds damaged the ship and injured 30 passengers. The entire Middle East was battered by the storm, which sunk a cargo ship and forced Israeli airports and seaports to close.

Storm causes ‘severe ship movement’

The Brilliance of the Seas was en route to the port of Alexandria, Egypt, when it sailed into a storm with winds twice as strong as forecast. The ship was carrying more than 2,000 passengers on a 12-day cruise in the Mediterranean Sea. Winds up to 70 knots (80.6 mph) resulted in “severe ship movement” according to Royal Caribbean. Passengers reported people getting thrown around amid broken furniture and shattered glass. Two people landed in the ship’s infirmary with fractures. Most injuries were minor. Guests sailing on Brilliance of the Seas will have to do without the beauty salon, disco and video arcade for the remainder of the journey, which concludes in Barcelona on Friday.

Royal Caribbean’s goodwill gesture

The Brilliance of the Seas is based in Dubai and sails to ports in the Middle East and India. The cruise ship is 962 feet long, weighs 90,000 tons and has a crew of 859. The storm was reported to cause aesthetic damage only. The engines and operating systems emerged from the storm intact. Some passengers called the storm a “horrifying” experience. According to the website Cruise Critic, passengers reported that beds were sliding back and forth and furniture was upended. In a goodwill gesture, Royal Caribbean is giving passengers a full refund and an on-board credit.

Storm wreaks havoc in Middle East

The storm that lashed Brilliance of the Seas triggered sandstorms in Jordan and Egypt and blanketed the streets of Damascus in Syria with snow. Twelve-foot waves closed the port of Alexandria, which forced Brilliance of the Seas to bypass Egypt and proceed to Malta. A Moldovan cargo ship wasn’t so fortunate. It sank off the Israeli coast, but the 11-member crew was rescued.

Sources

CNN

USA Today

MSNBC

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