Update: Passengers will be flown to Baltimore tomorrow, with full refund for cruise
Royal Caribbean CEO Adam Goldstein inspects fire damage
Developing: We just heard from a passenger on board the Grandeur that the cruise is being terminated and that the passengers will be flown back to Baltimore where the cruise originated. There are some 2200 passengers on board.
When this happens the question of passports always arises, because it is legal to take a "closed loop" cruise (one that begins & ends in the same U.S. port) and re-enter the United States without a passport. However, the Customs and Border Patrol has made concessions in the past for people where the cruise has ended and they were forced to fly back to the United States. At this point we expect that they will be processed as if they were on a closed loop cruise.
This statement was just issued by Royal Caribbean:
Unfortunately, the damage caused by the fire on Grandeur of the Seas will require us to cancel the rest of the voyage. We are currently working on making the necessary arrangements to return all guests to Baltimore, Maryland.
Royal Caribbean International will provide each guest with a full refund of the cruise fare paid. Royal Caribbean would also like to provide guests with the opportunity to sail with us again. We will be providing each guest with a future cruise certificate for 100% of the cruise fare paid for their May 24, 2013, Grandeur of the Seas sailing.
Royal Caribbean International is deeply sorry for this unexpected development in our guests' vacation. 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.
A dedicated telephone hotline has been established for family members of guests at 1-888-824-0012 or internationally at +1-408-916-9000. The cruise line requests that only families of guests use the telephone numbers in order to help ease call volume and ensure that they can receive information as quickly as possible.
Grandeur of the Seas was on a seven-night sailing that departed Baltimore, Maryland, on May 24, and had included port calls to Port Canaveral, Florida; CocoCay and Nassau, The Bahamas.
Here is the original article:
What appears to have been a pretty hot fire broke on Grandeur of the Seas last night (Monday May 27, 2013) - a ship belonging to the fleet of Royal Caribbean Cruise Line. The ship had sailed from Baltimore on Friday with 2,224 passengers and 796 crew members on board. All have been accounted for the company said in a statement. It was subsequently reported that two passengers were treated for mild smoke inhalation.
The fire started at 2:50 a.m. in the mooring area of deck 3 aft, of Grandeur of the Seas, according to according to Cynthia Martinez, director of global corporate communications for Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. Martinez did not disclose the cause of the fire.
That area of the ship contains rope assemblies used to tie the ship to the dock. It is only accessible to crewmembers, and part of it is often a common area where all crewmembers can go to get fresh air (and to smoke cigarettes) - while the mechanical area of the deck is kept sectioned off so only the crewmembers assigned to manage the mooring operations can access it.
Around 3:00 a.m. all passengers and crew were called to their emergency muster assembly stations as a precaution before the fire was extinguished, according to the Royal Caribbean web site. The fire was completely extinguished just before 5:00 a.m. They did not board any life boats.
The ship, which was en route to CocoCay, Bahamas, was diverted to Freeport, Bahamas, for further evaluation of the fire damage.
Royal Caribbean has been announcing updates to the situation by Twitter. By noon, Royal Caribbean tweeted that the ship will dock overnight in Freeport. A number of guests in affected staterooms will be put up in hotels in Freeport, the company also announced via Twitter.
"Some guests are staying onboard, while others have chosen to spend the day on shore," the company tweeted.
It has not yet been decided whether the ship will return to Baltimore, or whether the cruise will continue. Freeport happens to be the location for one of the biggest dry dock facilities on the East Coast. The ship never lost power, so we at CruiseMates would not be surprised to see Royal Caribbean choose to end the cruise and fly passengers home, with compensation for the failed cruise, of course. But those details have not yet been reported.
When asked if the fire would delay the return of the ship; if customers would be issued refunds; and if the ship had a history of problems, Martinez responded: "We do not have this information at this time."
Ironically, the Grandeur of the Seas just returned to Baltimore this month after undergoing a $48 million renovation, with much of the work done in Navantia, Spain. However the Grand Bahama Shipyard in Freeport is the location of the currently ongoing renovation of Carnival Triumph.