A memorial day cruise turned into a nightmare for more than 2000 passengers on a Royal Caribbean Cruise ship.
In the latest disaster to hit the high seas, a Royal Caribbean cruise ship caught fire Monday, ruining a Memorial Day weekend for thousands of travelers. The Grandeur of the Seas, which departed from Baltimore on Friday, was diverted to Freeport, Bahamas after it was unable to safely make it to the original destination of CocoCay.
The fire that began at 2:50 a.m. Monday was extinguished about two hours later with no injuries reported. A cause wasn’t immediately known.
Royal Caribbean said in a series of tweets that executives have met with passengers and that the cruise line is arranging flights for all 2,224 guests on Tuesday. It said passengers will receive a full refund of their fare and a certificate for a future cruise.
Aboard ship, the captain announced that passengers needed to go to their muster stations, rousing Mark J. Ormesher from his stateroom on the Grandeur of the Seas.
Ormesher said in an email to The Associated Press that immediately after the captain’s announcement, his room attendant knocked on the door and told him and his girlfriend to grab their flotation devices, saying it wasn’t a drill.
Orsmesher, a native of England, who lives in Manassas, Va., said he and his girlfriend smelled acrid smoke as they went to their muster station, the ship’s casino. The crew quickly provided instruction.
“This encouraged calm amongst the passengers,” he said. Passengers were required to remain at their stations for four hours, he said, and the captain “provided us as much information as we needed to stay safe.”
Ormesher, who is 25 and on his first cruise, said the air conditioner had been shut off, and as the hours passed and the ship got hot, bottled water was passed around. The crew and passengers remained calm, and helped those who needed it. Crying babies were given formula and held while their parents used the bathrooms.
Passengers were relieved that the disaster did not turn more serious, as they were warned to put on life jackets after the fire started on the aft mooring deck and then spread to the fourth deck. The cause of the fire is still under investigation. The power and communication systems were unaffected by the blaze. Fortunately, there were no reports of serious injuries or medical emergencies related to the incident. The only incidents reported included fainting, high blood pressure and an ankle sprain.
The Grandeur has been in operation since 1996, and was refurbished just last year.
This is the latest in a long line of large cruise ship disasters that has many people questioning the entire industry and its safety standards. 32 people died in the 2012 Costa Concordia disaster off the coast of Italy. In February and March two separate Carnival ships had issues with the electrical systems, toilet systems, and human waste overflowing. Needless to say, millions of potential travelers must be at least re-thinking their plans.