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.