Blaze cancels more Royal Caribbean cruises

Royal Caribbean International, a Norwegian-American owned cruise company with its headquarters in Miami, USA, has announced further cruise cancellations following a fire aboard one of its vessels earlier this week.

Repairs to the fire damage sustained by the company’s ship, Grandeur of the Seas, will take several weeks to carry out, forcing the company to cancel a further six summer cruises. July 12 is now the date when the vessel is expected to resume its programme of 7-day cruises from the US port of Baltimore.

Thousands of passengers will be asked to reschedule their cruise aboard the 2,446 capacity ship while the repairs are carried out to an ‘industrial area’ in its aft that was affected by the fire. They are to be offered a full refund for the cancelled cruise and 25 percent off the price of a future cruise as compensation.

Royal Caribbean Cruises said in a statement, ‘The company has taken the vessel out of service and expects that it will take approximately six weeks to complete the repair efforts.’

When the fire broke out the ship was forced to alter its course in the Bahamas and disembark passengers. The company then had to provide 11 flights to get the passengers home, with some travelling by ferry to Florida where they met train and coach connections. Organising the mass repatriation will have further compounded Royal Caribbean’s losses from the cancellations to its schedules at its busiest time of the year.

Jason Liberty, the company’s senior vice president and chief financial officer, confirmed, ‘The extent of the financial impact was relatively high because the affected sailings were during the premium summer season.’


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.


Wildfires Could Hurt Russia’s Travel Industry Alongside Devastating Wheat Crisis

Russia’s ongoing heat wave may have taken a turn for the worst. The fires, which have blazed on the edges of capital city Moscow for the better part of two weeks, have approached a secret nuclear research centre, inspiring panic amongst city residents and prompting embassies to advise against travel to the Russian capital. Moscow is currently engulfed in smoke and hazardous dust.

The warning comes at a bad time for the Russian economy, which is already fighting the effects of one of the worst agricultural crises in recent history. With output levels at an all-time low and most exports suspended, the country’s economy may soon weather its worse season yet. Although Russia is not a major centre for tourism in Europe, the declaration will certainly hurt Moscow’s economy.

Environmental groups have claimed that air chemical levels recorded in Moscow just one week ago were almost seven times higher than those recommended by the country’s Ministry of Health. Other observers have pointed to the existence of a secret nuclear facility as evidence that the government is uninterested in safety, quoting the previous Chernobyl disaster as a worst case scenario.

The country’s ongoing fires appear to be on the way out, however, as authorities claim to have taken control of the major blazes. Air quality within the capital remains poor, with most residents appalled at the sudden increase in air toxicity caused by the blaze. While most of the damage is due to forest fires, Russian environmental groups have pointed to government chemical use as a major problem.

It could be months before Moscow’s tourists return, but for the meantime those within the capital are positive that things will soon go back to normal. The city’s thick layer of smog is beginning to clear, providing much needed hope that the city’s streets will once again fill up with people.