At Sea ... day three ... December 13
We have learned that our experience on the “Brilliance of the Seas” hit CNN. Good grief! Yes, there is damage on the ship, but we were well cared for and doing well. Here’s the latest update ...
We have now been three days at sea with limited dining options, very little if any entertainment, and no access to “fun” activities. And, it wasn’t until late yesterday that the bars opened. So, you can imagine that people’s nerves are frayed.
About the food ... While it’s true we are being fed, there were two hour lines for lunch (so we skipped it) and about 40 minutes for dinner. And, well, the food isn’t exactly the best. However, we wish people would have some sympathy for the galley staff who were up from 2am to midnight yesterday ... and were working without air conditioning. It must be blisteringly hot and uncomfortable.
Entertainment ... Since there is so much damage, many of the entertainment nooks and crannies are closed. The champagne and martini bars are closed. We were to pick up entertainers in Alexandria, but since we missed that port, we have no headline acts. Not a big deal. Yesterday the lead singers for the Brilliance put on a show that included their favourite show tunes. The children’s activities are also cancelled, so there are a lot of unhappy parents with grumpy children in tow.
Activities ... All of the upper decks are closed. So, the pools, hot tubs, spa, gym, outer lounges, disco and Viking Lounge are closed. Perhaps the most frustrating for many travellers is that the casino and shops are also closed. Both experienced extensive damage. We wonder if they will be open for the next voyage which is the Christmas Cruise.
About the mutiny ... Yes, there are hundreds and hundreds of very, very unhappy onboard. Since this is our third day at sea, and since people are congregating in the very limited common areas, with nothing much to do ... people start complaining. After the initial fright of “the big roll,” people felt relief that they were relatively unscathed and grateful that no passengers or crew were seriously injured. However, after these feelings were replaced with anger and frustration. While we continue to hear expressions of gratitude for the work the crew is doing, we are also beginning to hear more rigorous statements of anger expressed quite openly. The add fuel to their fire, we all received a letter this morning offering us $100 per person for our discomfort. A lot of people feel this is a pittance. You can imagine the conversations going on.
About noon Victor headed into the Atrium, an eight storey central courtyard where, at deck four, we book shore excursions. Apparently there were 500-800 people congregating in the Atrium with others hundreds of others hanging over railings. One very loud man was calling for a formal protest. I wasn’t there, but Victor said it was frightening to hear the level of anger and lack of civility among the complainers. Finally, a ship’s officer arrived and tried to answer questions. Unfortunately, he was not given the opportunity to speak. After about 30 minutes, and being asked to disperse many time, the crowd finally headed off. We are in Malta tomorrow. Hopefully people will settle down after a bit of time off of the ship. One can only hope.
Royal Caribbean’s response ... During the day, the captain made ongoing announcements that he and officers on the ship were in discussion with Miami to see of further compensation might be available. In the end, Miami agree to fully refund all passengers for their cruise fare. We were shocked that they would fully refund passengers. However, as Chad explained, they felt it necessary since the “deliverables” were not available for guests (gym, spa, children’s programs, full dining, shops, casino etc) and since there was considerable damage to the ship making many areas off limits, there felt this was a fair solution. People responded favourably, as one would expect. We can only hope that they use some of their refund to generously tip the crew who worked around the clock to make our stay as pleasant as possible.
Compared to the vast majority of the world, we are doing very, very, very well. Personally, we have no complaints. As we learned later, 8 building in Alexandria were destroyed by the severe winds and weather. As well, there were serious sand storms in Cairo that would have cancelled our tour anyway. All things considered, we were very lucky we didn’t make it to Egypt.
Tomorrow ... Malta and feet on land!