More than 2,000 passengers on the Royal Caribbean cruise liner, Brilliance of the Seas had a terrifying experience when their ship ran into rough weather in the Mediterranean last week. The ship listed heavily at several points, and passengers were thrown about. Photographs that passengers have posted on websites since then show the degree of chaos inside the cruise liner.

Royal Caribbean has wasted no time in offering its passengers a full refund of their cruise fee. Since it seemed to be heavy seas and rough weather that contributed to the nasty cruise experience, maritime attorneys were more than a little surprised when Royal Caribbean jumped the gun to offer a full refund to all of its 2,060 passengers.

But is there more to this than meets the eye? Some cruising websites have been discussing whether the full compensation and the speed at which it was announced, is hiding a potential liability issue. For instance, according to cruise magazine Cruise Critic, the captain announced within the first 30 minutes after the vessel run into bad weather, that “a mistake had been made” by slowing down the vessel in harbor traffic. That caused the stabilizers to disengage, and could have possibly caused the heavy listing of the vessel in stormy weather.

Reports coming in from the passengers on the vessel seem to indicate that the mood on the cruise turned nasty following that terrifying experience. Several passengers became irate, and the anger dissipated only when the cruise representatives informed them that they would be getting a full refund.

Nasty weather is part of the sailing experience, but modern vessels come with highly sophisticated navigational, weather forecasting and other aids to help mitigate the effects of poor weather. However, it’s still too early to say whether this particular cruise vessel could have avoided running into that kind of weather.