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   Brilliance Of The Seas 

Brilliance Of The Seas as seen sailing past the outer pierheads of IJmuiden at the 12th of may 2012.

Brilliance Of The Seas is the second ship in the so-called Vantage class of ships for Royal Caribbean International. They are also known as the Radiance class, named after the first ship that entered service in 2001. The order was placed just when Celebrity Cruises was taken over by Royal Caribbean, although the name of the ships class at that moment was Voyager-class. When Voyager Of The Seas was named in 1999, the name of this original Voyager-class was changed to Vantage class. The Voyager Of The Seas was part of the Eagle class, you still understand? Also, the newbuilding teams of both Royal Caribbean and Celebrity Cruises were joined together. When RCI ordered four new panamax ships for Celebrity (the later Millennium-class), the Celebrity newbuilding team was delighted, but RCI did not order these ships from the Meyer-werft in Germany, where all previous Celebrity ships were built. The Celebrity newbuilding team was dismayed because of their good relations with Meyer and especially annoyed when RCI did order four ships for their own line based on the new design and had them built at Meyer-werft. Meyer changed the hull-design in comparissement with the French ships and also the machinery was changed. The propulsors used in the German built ships are of the Azipod design, manufactured by ABB. Unlike the French Mermaid units fitted in the Celebrity vessels, the Azipods have been trouble free in service.

Originally, it was planned to be a six-ship class, but during building, two ships were cancelled and the much larger Eagle class was ordered. The first ship of the Vantage class was the Radiance Of The Seas and she floated out of her building dock at Meyer Werft at the 12th of october 2000. Brilliance Of The Seas followed her earlier sister, floating out at the 31st of may 2002. During building, at the 9th of october 2001, the ship suffered a fire that was set by an employee of one of the companies that worked together with Meyer. Luckily, the ship suffered only minor damage and the delivery date did could still be met. The ship was built under yardnumber 656 and she was not the biggest ship in the fleet of Royal Caribbean when launched. Despite this, she still is an impressive ship, measuring some 90.090 tons and with her lenght of 293, 20 meters. She is 32,20 meters wide and has a draft of 8,10 meters. There is space for a total of 2501 passengers aboard, the normal figure given is 2112, but this is based on a two-per-cabin measurement. These passengers are cared for by 848 crewmembers. The ship has 12 available decks and she can sail at a speed of 25 knots, quite fast for a ship of her size, due to her gas-generator propulsion. These vibration-free General Electric gas generators are also very environmentally friendly, a part of ship-design that is becoming increasingly important.

Brilliance Of The Seas docked at Amsterdam at the 16th of july 2002, just a few days into her maiden voyage.

On the 12th of june 2002, the ship sailed from the wharf to the Dutch Eemshaven over the river Ems, always a very spectaular sight because the river is quite narrow and it is a long way to the sea. Because of her size, she was part of the largest ship-class that was built at Meyer werft untill then, a lot of onlookers saw the ship pass the river. The ships were also the biggest ships that were ever fitted out in The Netherlands at the time and they were also a very welcome visitor to Eemshaven, a port in the northern part of the country that normally lies just empty.The ship sailed for Harwich, England, where she was named by Marilyn Ofer at the 13th of july. Marilyn Ofer is co-founder of the New York chapter of the WIZO, the Women's International Zionist Organisation, an organisation that supports health and education innitiatives in Israel. She is also the wife of one of the board directors of Royal Caribbean International.

After her naming, Brilliance Of The Seas sailed her first European cruise. In her life, she has been anywhere already, from Northern Europe to the Arabian peninsula, the Mediterranean and India as well as North America. 

A controversy still plagues Royal Caribbean, in the aftermath of the dissapearance of one of the passengers of Brilliance Of The Seas during a cruise in july 2005. The passenger, named George Allen Smith, was reported missing while the ship sailed between Greece and Turkey. The company stated that an accident had occured, but evidence showed that blood was found in his cabin, as well as on the side of the ship where he was reported falling overboard and drowning. The FBI was researching the case, and in june 2006, Royal Caribbean paid over a million dollars to Smith's estate as compensation. There are several theories, including a mafia-connection as well as a robbery that had gone bad. George Allen Smith was on a honeymoon-cruise while the incident occured.

Below, Brilliance Of The Seas follows the classic 1970's built cruiseship Discovery out of the port of IJmuiden.

Another incident happened in the Mediterranean, after the ship left Rhodes for Alexandria on december 11th, 2010. The ship suffered from high seas and hurricane forced winds while approaching Alexandria, Egypt. Several ships tried to rush into port and suddenly a freighter turned into the path of the ship, causing her captain Erik Tengelsen to slow down Brilliance Of The Seas to just below 9 knots. Because of this, she became a playtoy for the waves and the wind, and the ship was healed badly to her port and starboard sides. In the Centrum lobby, the Christmas tree was toppled over, reminding several people of the scene in the movie 'The Poseidon Adventure',  where people had to climb the Christmas tree in the lobby of the fictional ship Poseidon to get to safety. Besides the tree, more furniture was toppled over and a piano smashed through a glass window. Next to the structural damage, a reported 105 passengers had to be treatened for injuries. According to passengers, Royal Caribbean knew that the sea was going to be rough and they could have taken more precautions because of this to minimalize damage. They do not agree with the claim that the seas took the ship by surprise. When Royal Caribbean announced the next morning a refund of $200 per stateroom, a vocal outrage followed in the Centrum lobby, after which Royal Caribbean changed plans and issued that there would be a full refund.

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