Fire hits Royal Caribbean cruise ship near Bahamas

The fire-damaged exterior of Royal Caribbean's Grandeur of the Seas cruise ship is visible in Freeport, Grand Bahama island. Royal Caribbean said the fire occurred early Monday on the mooring area of Deck 3 while the ship was en route from Baltimore to the Bahamas. It was quickly extinguished, but the cruise was cut short.
(Jenneva Russell / Freeport News)

Another month, another troubled cruise ship.

The Royal Caribbean cruise ship Grandeur of the Seas -- and its 2,224 passengers and 796 crew members -- saw their trip come to an abrupt end after the ship’s aft mooring deck burst into flames not far from the Bahamas early Monday morning.

Royal Caribbean reported that two passengers fainted but that no one was hurt in the fire. The company said it was working on arrangements to return its passengers to Baltimore.

The ship never lost power and made it to a nearby port in Freeport in the Bahamas, about 75 miles east of Palm Beach, Fla.


The Grandeur of the Seas had left Baltimore on Friday and was on a seven-day trip that included stops in Florida and the Bahamas.

“Royal Caribbean International is deeply sorry for this unexpected development in our guests’ vacation,” Royal Caribbean said in a statement Monday evening. “We understand that this may have been a very stressful time for them. And we also know that it has significantly impacted their vacation experience. We appreciate their patience and cooperation in dealing with this unfortunate situation.”

Officials aren’t sure what caused the fire, which left most of the ship’s common areas and rooms unscathed but forced passengers out of the rooms before it was extinguished at 4:58 a.m.

“Critical ship functions for #GrandeuroftheSeas - power, propulsion, communications systems - all were able to continue without interruption,” the company said in a tweet after the fire and after dispatching top executives to meet with passengers after the ship made port.

The company said it was offering its guests refunds and a future cruise certificate; a May 31 sailing was also canceled, with those guests offered a refund and a 50% future cruise certificate.

The Grandeur of the Seas joins a number of other cruise vessels to strike trouble while sailing in the region.

Cruise operator Carnival announced it would spend $300 million to upgrade its fleet after a series of mishaps earlier this year made the company a punch line, including the stranding of more than 4,000 passengers in the Gulf of Mexico after the Carnival Triumph lost power and had to be towed to port.


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