Royal Caribbean Cruise Ship Damaged in Rough Seas, Dozens Injured

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Dozens were injured when Royal Caribbean's 2,100-passenger Brilliance of the Seas was battered by an intense storm in the Mediterranean and listed several times.

All the injuries were "minor injuries – bumps, bruises, scrapes and cuts," Royal Caribbean spokeswoman Cynthia Martinez tells AOL Travel News. She says about 30 passengers and a handful of crew received medical treatment onboard.

Several of the ship's public areas were also damaged in the storm.

But Martinez says the damage to the ship does not impact the Brilliance's seaworthiness. "The damage was not concentrated in one area of the ship. Some areas remain closed (hair salon and arcade) but most public areas are open."

The incident occurred at 2:15 a.m. as the Brilliance neared Alexandria, Egypt, and experienced heavy swells and high winds. Egyptian authorities later closed the Alexandria port due to the unusually strong storm. The Brilliance diverted to its next port, Valletta, Malta.

The Brilliance is on a 12-night cruise which embarked from Barcelona and also includes port calls in Italy and Greece.


The cruise line has compensated passengers with a $200 shipboard credit.

There were reports of the large waves rocking the ship so dramatically that furniture and a large Christmas tree in the ship's atrium toppled, and a grand piano smashed into a wall.

Passenger Michael Solin tells NBC that being on the ship in the storm "felt like the end of the world, I mean everything was flying, the bed was flying, the night tables were flying."

Another passenger, Alesha Cirillo says people were screaming throughout the ship. "Anybody that was on their beds was riding back and forth, smashing into walls."

Jimmy and Justine Lovelace of North Branford, Connecticut, are honeymooning on the Brilliance and say they were shaken by the incident. Justine tells WTNH-TV the ship was rocking back and forth and then "almost went on its side."

On CruiseCritic.com, a passenger identified as dirtgirl writes she was in her cabin when the ship started listing: "I was flying back and forth. My roomie managed to brace herself. The beds were sliding back and forth!! Broken glass everywhere as everything on it went flying. Tables and chairs upended."

The ship's casino and some bars were closed for a time but have since reopened, according to passenger accounts.

Large waves from the same storm sank a Moldovan cargo ship off Israel, according to The Associated Press.

Just last week the luxury cruise ship Clelia II had an engine and communications temporiliy knocked out when it was hit by a 30-foot wave in the Antarctic. One crew member sustained minor injuries in that incident.

UPDATE, 3 pm: Royal Caribbean says the ship experienced extreme conditions including "heavy seas and 70 knot winds, nearly double what had been forecasted." Two guests suffered fractures and the onboard medical team "is diligently caring for" all injured guests.

Some staterooms lost electricity and the hair salon, video arcade and disco remain closed, the line says in a prepared statement.

"There has been no impact to the ship's operating systems or engines and the ship continues to be fully seaworthy," Royal Caribbean says.

"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," the line says. In addition to the shipboard credit, guests will be given a full refund for the cruise.

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