Quantcast
Get breaking news alerts via email

Click here to manage your alerts
Passengers from the Royal Caribbean's Grandeur of the Seas cruise ship, which caught fire during its voyage from Baltimore to the Bahamas, leave a security checkpoint after arriving on a charter flight at Baltimore-Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport, Tuesday, May 28, 2013, in Linthicum, Md. Royal Caribbean said the fire occurred early Monday and was extinguished after about two hours with no injuries reported. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)
Passengers arrive in U.S. after cruise ship fire in Bahamas
First Published May 28 2013 01:37 pm • Last Updated May 28 2013 02:00 pm

BALTIMORE • Passengers whose cruise aboard Royal Caribbean’s Grandeur of the Seas was cut short by an onboard fire began arriving back in Baltimore on charter flights from the Bahamas on Tuesday afternoon, with many praising the response of the company and crew.

"I’ll never go on any other cruise line," said Craig Dzubak, 26, of Pittsburgh, who was on his first cruise. "They couldn’t have handled it any better." He said he and his wife, Chelsea, were planning their next cruise while on the flight home.

Join the Discussion
Post a Comment

Robert Alexander of Hamilton, N.J., said he was impressed by how well-prepared everyone on board was for emergencies. An actor from the ship’s theater made announcements to passengers after they were evacuated from their rooms, he said.

"It just shows the training they do," Alexander said. "Our head waiter at our dinner table was one of the first responders" to the fire.

Meanwhile, the vice president of the Grand Bahama Shipyard said the ship would be repaired at his facility, though a full assessment of damage hadn’t been done yet.

"We are still working with the cruise line to assess the repairs, and I sent a crew over there this morning," Reuben Byrd said Tuesday. "I’m assuming it will be a big job for us," he added.

Royal Caribbean spokeswoman Cynthia Martinez did not immediately return phone calls or emails Tuesday afternoon about the repairs. Earlier, she said she had no updates on the incident or cause.

Byrd said the shipyard didn’t know about the cause, either. The U.S. Coast Guard and the National Transportation Safety Board planned to investigate. NTSB spokesman Eric Weiss said the agency has sent one senior investigator to the Bahamas. No other details about the investigation were available Tuesday.

The fire began at 2:50 a.m. Monday and was extinguished about two hours later, with no injuries reported. Photos show a substantial area of the stern burned on several decks of the ship the length of about three football fields.

Martinez said President and CEO Adam Goldstein — who met with passengers Monday in the Bahamas — would not give interviews Tuesday. "We’re just going to focus on getting all of our guests back to Baltimore," she wrote in an email.


story continues below
story continues below

The ship, which left Baltimore on Friday for a seven-night cruise, was headed originally to CocoCay, Bahamas. Royal Caribbean said the ship never lost power and was able to sail into port in Freeport, Bahamas, on Monday afternoon. It remained there Tuesday. The ship launched in 1996 and was refurbished last year.

Royal Caribbean said on its website and through social media that executives met with passengers in port. The company also said passengers will get a full refund of their fare and a certificate for a future cruise.

Aboard the ship, the captain announced that passengers needed to go to their muster stations, passenger Mark J. Ormesher told The Associated Press in an email. Immediately after, his room attendant knocked on the door and told him and his girlfriend to grab their flotation devices. The attendant said it wasn’t a drill.

Ormesher, 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 distributed. 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.

After passengers were allowed to leave their stations, Ormesher said he saw water on the outside deck 5 and in the hallways. The mooring lines were destroyed he said; crew members brought new lines from storage.

The damage at the rear of the ship looked bad, Ormesher said; burned out equipment was visible.

Royal Caribbean said all guests and 796 crew were safe and accounted for. Martinez said in an email that the company was arranging 11 charter flights.

The company in a statement on its website said it is "deeply sorry for this unexpected development in our guests’ vacation. We understand that this may have been a very stressful time for them. We appreciate their patience and cooperation in dealing with this unfortunate situation."

Carnival Corp. also had trouble with fire aboard ship earlier this year.

Next Page >


Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Top Reader Comments Read All Comments Post a Comment
Click here to read all comments   Click here to post a comment


About Reader Comments


Reader comments on sltrib.com are the opinions of the writer, not The Salt Lake Tribune. We will delete comments containing obscenities, personal attacks and inappropriate or offensive remarks. Flagrant or repeat violators will be banned. If you see an objectionable comment, please alert us by clicking the arrow on the upper right side of the comment and selecting "Flag comment as inappropriate". If you've recently registered with Disqus or aren't seeing your comments immediately, you may need to verify your email address. To do so, visit disqus.com/account.
See more about comments here.
Staying Connected
Videos
Jobs
Contests and Promotions
  • Search Obituaries
  • Place an Obituary

  • Search Cars
  • Search Homes
  • Search Jobs
  • Search Marketplace
  • Search Legal Notices

  • Other Services
  • Advertise With Us
  • Subscribe to the Newspaper
  • Access your e-Edition
  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • Contact a newsroom staff member
  • Access the Trib Archives
  • Privacy Policy
  • Missing your paper? Need to place your paper on vacation hold? For this and any other subscription related needs, click here or call 801.204.6100.