Royal Caribbean captain given heave-ho?

If you’ve been following the ongoing saga of Royal Caribbean’s Brilliance of the Seas, the ship that chucked people and stuff around enough to make headlines, we have a new development in the story. It seems that the ships captain is no longer at the helm.

“Captain Erik Tengelsen has been placed on voyage leave so he may participate in the after-action review into of the severe ship movement Brilliance of the Seas,” Royal Caribbean spokeswoman Cynthia Martinez told “Captain Henrik Sorensen, who was already scheduled to relieve Tengelsen on January 10, took command of the ship on Friday, December 17.”

Gadling reported earlier that “passengers, furniture, and pretty much anything not tied down went flying back and forth as the ship was tossed around by inclement affecting the middle east.”

Later we told you that Royal Caribbean had stepped up and done the right thing, refunding the cruise fare of all those on board, providing a generous onboard credit and caring for the 30-some guests with minor injuries.

As the story developed, AOL Travel let us know that it was actually more than 100 guests injured at later count but that all were doing fine.

Yesterday, we heard from maritime attorney and perpetual pain-in-the-cruise-lines-neck Jim Walker who wasn’t buying any of it saying “RCCL has pulled this stunt time and time again, quickly issuing misleading statements in the hope that the media will quote its carefully crafted misinformation and then the story will quickly blow over”

Let’s hope Captain Tengelsen has not had to walk the plank.

Flickr photo by xJasonRogersx

Weather spoils itinerary, cruise line softens the blow

Royal Caribbean’s Brilliance of the Seas was first on the chopping block today as a massive storm system in the Middle East bounced the ship around like a toy boat. The battered ship skipped a scheduled call in Alexandria, Egypt when the port was closed, sending it to Valletta, Malta.

Everyone on board is fine and the ship is completely seaworthy; minus a few onboard attractions.

Closer to home, Carnival Cruise Line announced weather-modified itineraries on four ships. Carnival Fascination skipped Key West and spending the day at sea, Carnival Freedom is skipping Key West too and will call on Cozumel Tuesday. Carnival Sensation, scheduled to call on Freeport in the Bahamas will spend a day at sea also. Carnival Inspiration due back in Tampa at 8a.m. today was delayed due to weather conditions as were two cargo vessels.

Weather-related events often cause modification of cruise ship itineraries cancelling plans of guests for shore-side shopping, sightseeing and shore excursions. While the safety of guests is of primary importance to the cruise lines, they know that getting off the ship in port is a highlight of the vacation, one they desperatley want to make happen. As a result, cruise lines commonly provide onboard credit for guests confined to the ship to spend on board.

In the case of Royal Caribbean’s Brilliance of the Seas, the cruise line said in a statement today “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”

Not bad for an experience they’ll surely remember for the rest of their lives.

Cruise ship tossed around, passengers sent flying

Large waves and heavy winds caused Royal Caribbean’s 2,110-passenger Brilliance of the Seas to list heavily several times early Sunday.

Passengers, furniture, and pretty much anything not tied down went “flying back and forth” as the ship was tossed around by inclement affecting the middle east recently reports

“Listing” is a vessel’s angle of lean or tilt to one side. “List” can be caused by improperly loaded cargo or flooding on ships. On cruise ships, extreme listing is rare and most often caused by weather related events and high seas.

It all happened as Brilliance of the Seas approached Alexandria, Egypt around 2:15 a.m. causing injuries to about 30 passengers and damaging some of the public areas. Later, Alexandria closed its port because of the weather and the ship was diverted to Valletta, Malta. Brilliance of the Seas was on a 12-night sailing from Barcelona.

Royal Caribbean reports the ship has full power and is sailing as normal now with onboard programming returning within a few hours. Photos on MSNBC’s Photoblog show the damage done in areas ranging from individual passenger cabins to common areas shared by all guests.

Flickr photo by Twiga269