For 2d time this year, a fire at sea has aborted a cruise ship's voyage. 2,200 passengers back to Baltimore

BALTIMORE (AP) — For the
second time this year, a fire at
sea has aborted a cruise ship’s
voyage. This time, aboard Royal
Caribbean’s Grandeur of the Seas
and the ship’s 2,200 passengers
were expected back in Baltimore
on Tuesday after being flown on
charter flights from the
Bahamas.
The fire that began at 2:50 a.m.
Monday was extinguished about
two hours later with no injuries
reported. A cause wasn’t
immediately known but the U.S.
Coast Guard and the National
Transportation Safety Board
planned to investigate.
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,
Monday afternoon. 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 and that the
cruise line was arranging flights
for all 2,224 guests. Also,
passengers will get a full refund
of their fare and a certificate for
a future cruise.
Aboard ship, the captain
announced that passengers
needed to go to their muster
stations, said passenger Mark J.
Ormesher in an email to The
Associated Press. 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.
Photos show a substantial area of
the stern burned on several decks
of the ship the length of about
three football fields.
Royal Caribbean said all guests
and 796 crew were safe and
accounted for. Royal Caribbean
spokeswoman Cynthia Martinez
said in an email that the
company was arranging 11
different 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.
The 900-foot Triumph was
disabled during a February
cruise by an engine room fire in
the Gulf of Mexico, leaving
thousands of passengers to
endure cold food, unsanitary
conditions and power outages
while the ship was towed to
Mobile, Ala. It remained there
for repairs until early May when
it headed back to sea under its
own power.
On the Royal Caribbean ship,
after passengers were allowed to
leave their stations, Ormesher
said he saw water on the outside
of 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 ‘‘looks bad,’’ Ormesher said;
burned out equipment was
visible.
Martinez said in a news release
that a cruise scheduled aboard
the Grandeur of the Seas for
May 31 has been canceled so the
ship can be repaired.
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