Royal Caribbean ship fire forces cruise cancellation

May 28, 2013 at 11:50 AM
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BALTIMORE, May 28 (UPI) -- A passenger on a Royal Caribbean ship forced to cancel its trip from Baltimore due to fire said she dismissed banging on her cabin door before she heard a horn.

"Crew members told us to get our life vest on," Bang Warren told The Baltimore Sun in an interview published Tuesday. "We asked if we could throw on clothes real quick. They told us we didn't have enough time for that."

A fire broke out early Monday aboard the Royal Caribbean International cruise ship that departed Baltimore for the Bahamas Friday. The U.S. Coast Guard said the ship was 35 nautical miles northwest of West End, Bahamas.

Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. said all 2,224 passengers and 796 crew aboard Grandeur of the Seas were accounted for and no injuries were reported.

The ship, bound for CoCoCay, Bahamas, was diverted to Freeport, Bahamas, for evaluation. After announcing Monday that it canceled the remainder of the voyage, the company said it would issue full refunds to all passenger and arrange flights to return them Tuesday to Baltimore. Passengers also would receive certificates for a future cruise.

The fire began in an aft mooring area and was put out after in about 2 hours, said Cynthia Martinez, a Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. spokeswoman. Martinez didn't reveal the cause of the fire, the Sun said.

Royal Caribbean said it was canceling the next cruise on the ship, scheduled to leave Baltimore Friday.

The U.S. Coast Guard and the National Transportation Safety Board are investigating, the Sun said.

After being roused from her cabin, Warren told the Sun she went to the assembly area where she was told lifeboats were being prepared if an evacuation was necessary.

"The guests were asked to go to their muster or assembly stations, which is the area where they assemble in the event of an emergency," Martinez said in an email to the Sun. "They did not board lifeboats."

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