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Brilliance in 'hurricane force winds'!


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We're just back from the July 23rd Med cruise. We had a great time, except for the morning of Thursday July 28th when the ship was attempting to get into the port at Mykonos and was hit by 'hurricane force winds' (in the Captain's words) and went into a very alarming list towards the port side. Water from the swimming pool came over the port side and there were many breakages, according to wait staff and the concierge.

 

I was wondering if anyone knew what had happened or had experienced similar on other cruises. This was only our fourth cruise and we had never had anything like this happen before. We were on our deck 10 aft balcony when it started and had difficulty getting back into the room and shutting the door. We could hear glass smashing around us and were really frightened at the time. The Captain apologised for 'any inconvenience' but didn't actually explain what had happened. Was this poor customer relations on his part or is this such a common occurrance that it needed no explanation?!!

 

I would love to hear from all you seasoned cruisers out there, and anyone else who was on Brilliance at the time!

 

Judith

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It seems to me that the captain gave you an explanation for this. You stated that the Captain explained that the ship was hit by hurricane force winds. That was probably the reason for the list. Hughe ships have an enormous squarefootage on either side the wind can blow into. It´s just like if it would be a hughe sail. Very strong winds from the side can make a ship list.

 

It might have been scaring for you but I´m pretty sure it was not realy a safety issue. Modern cruise ships are very well designed and they can take lists of quite high degrees without any structural problems. Of course some glass and china may break but not really a problem for the ship itself. Such situations are also tested intensively during the sea trials before a ship gets into service and before it gets it´s classification.

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As I said, we are quite new to cruising and had never experienced anything like this before. Had the captain explained to us, like you have just done, that it was not an unusual occurrance, I'm sure we would have felt a lot less frightened by it. All we got was a very curt apology and a thousand rumours, including one from our waiter who told us that the captain had made a mistake and tried to turn the ship too quickly in bad conditions.

 

Maybe I should just get onto RCL and ask them to explain properly what happened. I do have photos from our room which show the degree of the list and the time they were taken, so I know I didn't imagine it!

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Well I didn´t want to say that I don´t believe that this happened. It´s also not a usual occurance that would happen all the time.

 

However lists happen from time to time and have in the past. I just wanted to ease your mind a little in saying that the ship can handle quite a list easily that none of the passengers would ever be comfortable with.

 

BTW the explanation from your waiter could be true. It might have also been a combination of several factors like wind, sea condition, speed and nautical manouver. There have been reports in the past also about malfunction of the computer that runs the auto pilot that made ships making a sharp turn and results in a list. So no usual occurance, pretty scary I believe (although never experienced myself), but mostly not a real safety issue for the ship. Of course passengers and crew can easily be hurt when such thigs happen. So thank God you seem to be OK and you didn´t report of any injuries on the ship.

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My opinion. This is a VERY expreienced Captain who would handle the ship thru the very worse that Mother Nature could throw at you. I am sure you were scared, but there was no danger. And if you were in your cabin, you may not have heard all of the announcements made.

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Maybe I should just get onto RCL and ask them to explain properly what happened. I do have photos from our room which show the degree of the list and the time they were taken, so I know I didn't imagine it!

 

With all due respect, I don't think it is necessary to contact RCCL regarding a list of the ship. This stuff happens on boats/ships when you're on the water. If these types of things are uncomfortable for anyone, they are probably better off sticking with land-based vacations.

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There were two announcements made, both to the whole ship (ie. including direct into the cabins), the first that the port of Mykonos was closed and we would be spending the rest of the day at sea, then the curt apology for the list and any inconvenience it might have caused. I just feel the Captain would have eased a lot of worried passengers' minds if he had been more open about the incident. Surely he can't have wanted rumours to be flying about the ship like they were. Incidentally, it was always planned that he would be leaving the ship to go on vacation at Athens (and I knew this prior to sailing from reading these boards) but some passengers were under the impression that he had been removed from his post because of this incident and that the 'vacation story' was a cover up!

 

Hopefully some other passengers will add their take on this once they get home. I can't believe we were the only ones to have been worried by this.

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I can't believe we were the only ones to have been worried by this.

 

I hope you didn't think I was being mean, sometimes typed messages don't communicate the whole picture. I agree 100% with your concern, as anyone would have some concern if the ship starts taking a significant tip to one side or the other. However, the apology/explanation (albeit brief) the Captain gave would seem to be enough.

 

Unfortunately I can agree that rumors often get the best of people, but I doubt they 'powers that be' on the ship had any idea there were any. Even if they did, it would have only added fuel to the fire of those looking for a future discount/credit, for the ship's executive staff to dwell on a brief event. Had people been injured, or flooding of cabins/common areas occurred, as on Carnival's ship that recently had a SIGNIFICANT list, one would expect more from RCCL regarding explanation. From what you've said, if I understand you correctly, there was no visible damage/flooding/etc other than some broken glass perhaps from the dining rooms and shops.

 

Hopefully you had a fantastic time, and this will pass into distant memory soon and you'll only have happy thoughts looking back on your vacation! :)

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mojo4trav

 

My concern is not with the list of the ship in itself, but with the lack of explanation for what I understand to be a rare event. It was suggested to us that the captain was attempting something he shouldn't have been attempting, and as a result, the ship went into a sharp list which lasted for about 5 minutes. Fortunately, we were not injured, although my son came very close to being hit by the sliding door to the balcony as it slid across with great force when we were trying to close it and lock it (we were right at the back of the ship and the ship listed towards the port side). One of our tablemates toppled out of her bed, again fortunately without any injury. I would be amazed if there hadn't been some minor injuries across the ship as a whole, such was the nature of the list. It was literally impossible to stand up in our cabin.

 

I'm sure if you had experienced it you would have felt the need for an explanation, even if it was only to reassure a very frightened 10 year-old.

 

No, we won't be dismissing water based holidays in future - we enjoy cruising and have no problems with the weather causing changes in itineraries. However, this was our first experience of RCL and we think that they handled the situation poorly. That's why my opening post asked if anyone had experienced a similar situation.

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Hello...My wife and I have been on 14 cruises, and what you described has happened to us on two occasions. Just as you indicated, there never has been any major explanation of such occurance to ease anyones mind, but we knew from reading cruise books prior to our very first cruise, that listing could possibly happen.

 

I know you feel that a more extensive explanation should have been given to you, and it seems like you are waiting for other passengers to agree with you and post this reply on this thread, but I believe you have to look at it like someone flying for the first time.

 

When I flew the first time, there was tremendous turbulance. I was scared to death. The plane was bouncing around, shaking, etc. and I thought we were going to crash. However, the captain never came on and explained to us about the turbulance and not to worry. It's just common knowledge for the most part, or a nearby passenger can explain to the person scared. I was white as a ghost, the person next to me was used to turbulance, he was just reading away at his book.

 

Same thing on the ship. You were scared because you were not familiar with the listing, but i would bet, thousands of other passengers just thought of it as another minor part of the cruise.

 

All I am saying is that I think captains of cruises and airplanes assume everyone knows about these types of things, even though everyone does not. Maybe the cruise lines and airlines should have a little phamplet that explains certains things passengers can experience so it will everyone's mind at ease, especially, passengers experiencing a flight or cruise for the first time.

 

Regards,

 

Dave

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Thanks Dave. This is what I was hoping to hear. I did explain in my first post that we are relatively inexperienced cruisers, and there were also first-time cruisers on this sailing. How were we to know that this was nothing to worry about? My husband was in the concierge lounge at the time and the concierge certainly seemed worried as he was fighting to stop all his glassware and fixtures from sliding off the shelves! You're suggestion is a good one - if we had known that this was a possibility we might not have been so scared.

 

Incidentally, we were on a flight to the US in April that was struck by lightning just before landing. The pilot came straight onto the PA system to reassure us that there was nothing to worry about, and took the trouble to give a brief explanation as to why a lightning strike in the air is not the same as one on the ground and how the plane is designed to deal with these occurances. By 'nipping it in the bud' he prevented passengers from panicking and starting rumours which might have caused him and his crew problems. Maybe our captain could have learned something from Virgin Atlantic.

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As I said, we are quite new to cruising and had never experienced anything like this before. Had the captain explained to us, like you have just done, that it was not an unusual occurrance, I'm sure we would have felt a lot less frightened by it. All we got was a very curt apology and a thousand rumours, including one from our waiter who told us that the captain had made a mistake and tried to turn the ship too quickly in bad conditions.

 

Maybe I should just get onto RCL and ask them to explain properly what happened. I do have photos from our room which show the degree of the list and the time they were taken, so I know I didn't imagine it!

I would love to see the photos if you could post them!!! I think I would be scared to death.

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Guest OBAYbee
We're just back from the July 23rd Med cruise. We had a great time, except for the morning of Thursday July 28th when the ship was attempting to get into the port at Mykonos and was hit by 'hurricane force winds' (in the Captain's words) and went into a very alarming list towards the port side. Water from the swimming pool came over the port side and there were many breakages, according to wait staff and the concierge.

 

I was wondering if anyone knew what had happened or had experienced similar on other cruises. This was only our fourth cruise and we had never had anything like this happen before. We were on our deck 10 aft balcony when it started and had difficulty getting back into the room and shutting the door. We could hear glass smashing around us and were really frightened at the time. The Captain apologised for 'any inconvenience' but didn't actually explain what had happened. Was this poor customer relations on his part or is this such a common occurrance that it needed no explanation?!!

 

I would love to hear from all you seasoned cruisers out there, and anyone else who was on Brilliance at the time!

 

Judith

 

 

Don’t let some of the posters get you down. I happen to differ with some of them posting here. ANYTHING and ANYONE in a hurricane force wind is scary and dangerous. Hurricane force winds do scare me and I have lived through several. To minimize your experience by telling you, the person who experienced it, that it is a “normal” occurrence IMO was mistaken.

I have been on a large number of cruises and experienced listing one time. It scared the you know what out of me.

Anyway, just know that not all of us here minimize your experience, even us seasoned cruisers!! :)

 

"MarciaL My opinion. This is a VERY expreienced Captain who would handle the ship thru the very worse that Mother Nature could throw at you. I am sure you were scared, but there was no danger. And if you were in your cabin, you may not have heard all of the announcements made."

 

And you know this how?

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Seems to me that the Captain was busy handling the situation at the time and put safety first, not choosing at that moment to offer a long and detailed explanation to passengers. What you interpreted as curt was much more likely to be a Captain who was anxious to get back to the problem at hand after a quick explanation of what was happening.

 

I have been cruising for many years and have had experiences much more dramatic than what the OP describes. During these times, I was not looking for the Captain to offer details, a short reassurance was fine; I was more concerned that he was totally focused on the ship and our safety.

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With respect, I don't think we are comparing like with like. We had extremely rough seas on our journey from Naples back to Barcelona last Wednesday caused by the Mistral winds (the relief captain explained this to us in detail!) I would liken the movement of the ship to heavy turbulence in a plane, and it did not worry us, other than having difficulty moving about the ship (and obviously some passengers suffering sea-sickness). The incident at Mykonos was sudden and extreme, more similar to the lightning strike I mentioned in an earlier reply or the aborted landing we experienced coming into Seattle last July when the landing gear failed to deploy. In both those incidents the pilots explained what had happened and how they were dealing with it, which was very reassuring.

 

With regard to the captain's communications with the passengers, his first announcement came shortly after the ship had righted, and he made no mention of what had happened - only that we would not be landing at Mykonos but would be spending the rest of the day at sea. It was some time later that he made his curt apology. If he was still preoccupied with the situation at that time then I really am worried that we were in peril!!

 

OBAYbee - Thanks for your kind words. I really was beginning to wish that I hadn't dared to ask this question in the first place! I can't stress enough how scary this was, maybe because my son and I were alone on an aft balcony, where I'm sure a list would be felt the most, hearing crashes and breaking glass all around us. Obviously I've overstepped the mark in suggesting that the captain might have been in the wrong, but without any other explanation, and only gossip from other crew members to go on, what else were we to think?

 

Maybe some think that I am pursuing some kind of claim for compensation, but I can assure you that all I want is to gain some understanding of what happened to us and why. This could have easily been achieved at the time had the captain taken the time to talk to the passengers about it.

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With respect, I don't think we are comparing like with like. We had extremely rough seas on our journey from Naples back to Barcelona last Wednesday caused by the Mistral winds (the relief captain explained this to us in detail!) I would liken the movement of the ship to heavy turbulence in a plane, and it did not worry us, other than having difficulty moving about the ship (and obviously some passengers suffering sea-sickness). The incident at Mykonos was sudden and extreme, more similar to the lightning strike I mentioned in an earlier reply or the aborted landing we experienced coming into Seattle last July when the landing gear failed to deploy. In both those incidents the pilots explained what had happened and how they were dealing with it, which was very reassuring.

 

With regard to the captain's communications with the passengers, his first announcement came shortly after the ship had righted, and he made no mention of what had happened - only that we would not be landing at Mykonos but would be spending the rest of the day at sea. It was some time later that he made his curt apology. If he was still preoccupied with the situation at that time then I really am worried that we were in peril!!

 

OBAYbee - Thanks for your kind words. I really was beginning to wish that I hadn't dared to ask this question in the first place! I can't stress enough how scary this was, maybe because my son and I were alone on an aft balcony, where I'm sure a list would be felt the most, hearing crashes and breaking glass all around us. Obviously I've overstepped the mark in suggesting that the captain might have been in the wrong, but without any other explanation, and only gossip from other crew members to go on, what else were we to think?

You mention that you are relatively inexperienced cruisers, so did you ever consider that the captain did not feel that the situation merited a detailed explanation? You use the word "curt" rather than "brief" to describe his apology, so I take it that you did not feel his apology was sincere?

Without knowing more details about exactly what happened and what he said it is difficult to determine whether or not he responded to the situation correctly. Once the situation was resolved he might have felt that a detailed explanation wouldn't serve any real purpose. What kind of detail besides the fact that the ship was hit by "hurricane force winds" did you expect him to share with you? Would your situation been any different if you knew in detailed fashion exactly what the windspeeds were, or how much of a list the ship experienced? Perhaps he gave you exactly the amount of information that you needed to have since the situation was already in the past and there had been no serious damage to the ship, or injuries to its passengers or crew.

Crews on cruise ships often spread rumors or give fanciful explanations for things that happen while you are onboard. I try not to give them much credence because they are frequently incorrect or based on incomplete or faulty information.

We have been on the Brilliance in very high seas and winds, doing our best to avoid the worst effects of Hurricane Gustave. The captain at that time (Captain MacDonald) was very passenger oriented and kept us fully up to date on what was happening, what he was doing to avoid the storm, and what we could expect to encounter. Perhaps your captain could take some lessons in communication from him, but perhaps the way he handled the situation was exactly how he should have. Without being there, it is not possible to really judge.

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The airline pilots just tell you that your experiencing a little turbulence without going into detail about the cause. It seems to me that it's really hard to apologize for mother nature, something that is completely out of RCI, or anyone elses control.

 

Last November on Explorer we experienced tropical storm force winds that I think occasionally nosed into the hurricane force catagory. This kept up the entire sea day and pretty much unitl we arrive in San Juan a few hours late. The captain only apologized for the rough seas and delay but not much more. Why should he? All he could do was the best he could do. That is keep the ship and passengers safe and get us to port as soon as safety allowed.

 

I was actually impressed that we docked since we only had 4 or 5 hours in port. For me that was four or five hours on dry land that I reeeeaaaallllyyy apprecieated. It let me get my equiliberium reset and the rest of the cruise was much more enjoyable.

 

As for the ship, we were bobbing on the ocean like a cork in a bathtub. Everyone was advised NOT to go outdoors on the top decks but there were a few not so bright people who absolutely insisted on trying to get to the pool deck. Our deck furniture on Deck 8 (I think our cabin was on 8) was totally coverd with sea salt when things finally calmed down enough to go out there. It was a really rough couple of days for most of us.

 

There were several passengers that we met who had sailed this route at this time of year and all said they had never experienced weather like this. Even some of the crew was put in bed sick.

 

Weather happens and there is nothing anyone can do about it. No one to blame unless you open up a personal line with God. IMO, there is no need to the captain to apologize for the weather. He certainly can't control it. He can only steer the ship around it and try to make it to the next port. He'll never be able to please everyone. A brief explanation is good enough for me as I'd rather him be watching the ship rather than watching the passengers.

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sl0905 and Wirenut624

 

I'd happily post the photos but I haven't a clue how to!!! If anyone could give this absolute novice computer operator some step-by-step instructions....!

 

Judith

 

First you need a place to host you pictures. You can sign up for someplace like Photobucket.com (There is no charge to sign up). If you use that sight, you use the "browse" button to find your picture on your computer (it helps to know where it is located on your computer) and then "Submit". When your picture is listed there, copy the text in the "IMG" box and post it here.....hope that helps!

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we had a similar situation on our Splendour transatlantic crossing in May this year. We had 7 days at sea which were officially classed as rough for the latter part.On arrival at Punta Delgada we still hadn't docked an hour after our due time. This was because the seas were still rough and we had gale force winds. The Captain did make several announcements to say that he would keep trying to dock but he couldn't do this without the port pilot.We bobbed around in the bay for another hour.I was having breakfast in the main dining room when the ship started to list gently at first,then all of a sudden we could hear smashing in the galley area, glasses and trays sliding off the waiters stations and the staff were running around trying to catch everything. It was a bit scary at the time .What did make it less scary was the staff swaring in all their native tongues!! We found out later that evening that the captain was trying to protect the pilot boat so he could board. Without him we would not have docked at all and it would have been another 3 days at sea before we got to mainland Spain ( I think ) You can imagine the uproar if the port of call had been cancelled.By the way , the weather was so terrrible at Punta Delgada we stayed on board in the lovely solarium where it was warm and peaceful.

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We had a similar experience on another cruiseline. The captain did explain - after it was all over - that there had been a problem with the "autopilot" which caused the ship to make a sharp turn and caused quite a list. We were in the dining room and all of the dishes ended up on the floor. In that case there were some injuries. I've been on 14 cruises and believe me that was scary. Not at all anything "normal" for a cruise so if the OP experienced anything like it I can relate to the fear. Didn't stop us from cruising though!

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Maybe some think that I am pursuing some kind of claim for compensation, but I can assure you that all I want is to gain some understanding of what happened to us and why. This could have easily been achieved at the time had the captain taken the time to talk to the passengers about it.

 

 

Come on, between us..........what are you really looking for??

 

Free cruise, Voucher for next time?? What??

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Thank you for all your input.

 

For the most part I am left feeling that I am a hysterical, over-reacting, freebie-seeking moaner who should never set foot on a cruise ship again.

 

What happened to us was unexpected and extremely frightening. We were not moving at the time and the list lasted for many minutes, not a sudden tip to one side then back again. Only a handful of you who have replied have experienced similar and I think all admit to being scared by the it. If I am ever in that situation again I would like to think that I can reassure others who are afraid rather than criticise them for wanting to know what happened and how we came to be in that situation in the first place. Our captain knew he was sailing into gale force winds at Mykonos; I would like to know why he was attempting to turn the ship in those conditions when he maybe should just have been trying to get us away from that situation.

 

Rest assured, I won't be troubling this board with any further requests for information in the future.

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