Passengers fly home after fire cuts cruise short
FREEPORT, Bahamas – A voice on the intercom woke Danielle Miller and told her to put on her life jacket and run to a deck. Not knowing what the emergency was, she nervously woke up her roommate and did just that.
The emergency, as she and other passengers would learn, was a fire that started in the rear of Royal Caribbean’s Grandeur of the Seas cruise ship about 2:50 a.m. yesterday while it was heading to the Bahamas, sending guests to the decks under the night sky.
Though it never lost power, the ship was diverted to Freeport in the Bahamas, and the fire, which began in a mooring area, was extinguished just before 5 a.m., the company said.
The ship’s 2,224 guests and 796 crew members initially were headed to CocoCay, Bahamas, but the ship was redirected to Freeport for evaluation, Royal Caribbean said.
Miller said it was a scary race topside.
“We probably ran up to that deck faster than we ever ran before,” Miller said by phone from Freeport on Monday afternoon, a few hours after the ship docked. “We were terrified, though, and a lot of people were just crying and freaking out.”
Two guests were treated after fainting, and medical staff also responded to reports of high blood pressure and an ankle sprain, Royal Caribbean said.
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Royal Caribbean spokeswoman Cynthia Martinez said she didn’t have further information about the medical reports, “but the ship has told us that there are no medical emergencies onboard.”
The fire started on an aft mooring deck and spread to the fourth deck at the crew lounge area before it was extinguished, US Coast Guard spokeswoman Marilyn Fajardo said. Information on the fire’s cause wasn’t available, she said.
Miller and the rest of the passengers will be flying home from Freeport because the company canceled the rest of the voyage Monday afternoon.
Royal Caribbean said it was arranging flights to get passengers back to Baltimore, where the ship left port on Friday on a seven-night cruise. The first flight carrying cruise guests from the Bahamas left Tuesday morning, and flights will continue throughout the day, Carnival said.
All passengers will receive refunds for this cruise and a certificate toward a future cruise, Royal Caribbean said.
The company apologized for the stress to passengers and thanked them for their “patience and cooperation in dealing with this unfortunate situation.” (CNN)