Cruise ship fire the latest setback for industry

In the latest of a series of mishaps that have been blighting the cruise industry, Norwegian-American-owned cruise line, Royal Caribbean International, has suffered a fire aboard one of its ships.

The company, based in Miami, reported that the fire broke out aboard its vessel, Grandeur of the Seas, in the early hours of Monday morning. The blaze took about two hours to extinguish, causing damage to the recently refurbished ship. 2,224 passengers and 796 crew were on board at the time, and all were safely accounted for, although the vessel was forced to alter its intended course from Baltimore in the USA to Coco Cay in the Bahamas and take an emergency detour to the Bahaman town of Freeport.

No serious injuries were reported during the incident, although medical staff reportedly tended to cases of fainting, high blood pressure and one sprained ankle. Passengers reported having to sleep on deck while smoke continued to emanate from near the ship’s stern.

In a statement, Royal Caribbean said, ‘In an abundance of caution, the captain deemed it necessary to muster all guests to their assembly stations during the incident.’

Royal Caribbean’s president and chief executive officer, Adam Goldstein, immediately flew to Freeport with a guest care team to assess the damage.

The company added, ‘The safety of our guests and crew is our top priority, and we will continue to focus on their immediate needs and concerns. Throughout, the ship’s power, propulsion and communications systems functioned uninterrupted.’

Following the cancellation of their cruise, passengers are being flown back to Baltimore today. Next Friday’s scheduled sailing has also been cancelled and passengers booked on that cruise will receive a full refund and 50 percent off a future cruise.