(1:31 p.m. EDT) -- Royal Caribbean's Brilliance of the Seas' return to Barcelona today has been delayed due to strong winds and high seas in the Mediterranean, after what Cruise Critic member coxswain has described as a "nightmare cruise." Embarkation for the October 25 sailing will take place a day late, on Monday.
Royal Caribbean spokeswoman Cynthia Martinez tells us guests on the current cruise, a 12-night Western Mediterranean cruise that departed on October 13, have two options. They can debark the ship once it finally arrives in Barcelona, or they can spend one more night on the ship and debark between 7 and 10 a.m. on Monday. Royal Caribbean rebooked the flights of all passengers who purchased air/sea packages from the cruise line. Independent travelers will receive up to $200 in reimbursement for any flight change fees. The ship is offering free Internet and phone use to all guests onboard to assist them in making new arrangements.
Passengers booked on the 12-night Eastern Mediterranean cruise originally scheduled to depart on October 25 will be affected in several ways.
Embarkation will begin a day late on October 26.
Royal Caribbean representatives will meet all arriving passengers at the airport or cruise port. All passengers will be given complimentary overnight accommodations, transportation to the hotel today and transportation to the port tomorrow.
Passengers will also receive onboard credit, ranging from $200 to $400 per cabin, based on category booked.
Because of the delayed departure, Brilliance of the Seas will miss its first two ports of call, Villefranche (for Nice) and Livorno (for Florence and Pisa). The revised itinerary is as follows: Barcelona, at sea, Rome, at sea, Mykonos, Kusadasi, Santorini, Athens, at sea, Naples, at sea, Barcelona.
According to Cruise Critic member coxswain, the October 13 cruise was plagued with problems from the start: "What can i say - we've missed a port / delayed at the start of the cruise / late into nearly every port - asked to get onboard early at two ports - had to go back to Venice for a medevac - have had no chance of sun bathing up top as all the chairs apart from the pool have been tied up the whole cruise and now this." Martinez tells us the late departure was due to some necessary repairs being made on the ship's portholes, and that the call in Cannes had been rescheduled to the end of the cruise, but ultimately had to be canceled due to the bad weather.
Member Sue L, also on this cruise, says that Royal Caribbean has "gone out of their way to be informative and keep us safe. Yes, there was some rough weather but it would have been a lot worse if they had taken the original route. They gave us $50 and then $150 -- very fair in my opinion. We were late two mornings but stayed later in Florence to make up. Crew and staff [were] fantastic."
Carnival has also confirmed that Carnival Dream had to skip a call in Barcelona on Saturday due to bad weather. Instead, the ship spent a day at sea and the rest of the cruise hasn't been impacted.
--by Erica Silverstein, Senior Editor
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Royal Caribbean Ship Delayed and Carnival Ship Skips Port Due to Bad Weather
October 26, 2009