Reporting Meghan McCorkell
MIAMI (WJZ) –Flames broke out in the middle of the night on a Royal Caribbean cruise ship that just left Baltimore on Friday. The ship was forced to make an emergency stop in Freeport in the Bahamas.
Meghan McCorkell has passengers’ frightening stories.
They had no idea what was happening when they were woken up in the middle of the night, told to grab their life jackets and run.
There was panic on deck as passengers watched lifeboats being lowered into the water.
In the light of day, you can see the scorched stern of Royal Caribbean’s Grandeur of the Seas.
“It was obviously the most terrifying thing in my life,” says passenger Katie Coleman.
The fire broke out Sunday night in the mooring area of the boat.
Passengers said they had no clue what was happening.
“Before we went to bed there was a really bad storm and and the ship was really rocking, so our first thought was that we were sinking,” said passenger Danielle Miller.
Royal Caribbean officials said they first got reports of a fire at 2:50 a.m. Monday. It took more than two hours for flames to be extinguished at 4:58 a.m.
At 6:56, guests were finally allowed to return to their rooms.
“We were basically shoulder to shoulder with a ton of people who were just as terrified as we were,” said Miller.
The National Transportation Safety Board, as well as the Coast Guard, are now investigating the cause of the fire.
Royal Caribbean’s CEO is also on board assessing the damage.
The Grandeur of the Seas recently underwent a $48 million renovation and just returned to service at the Port of Baltimore this month.
The seven-night cruise was set to go from Baltimore to Port Canaveral, to Cococay, and Nassau, but that boat isn’t going anywhere.
The cruise has been canceled and passengers will be flown back to Baltimore Tuesday. No one was injured in the fire.
Passengers will receive a full refund.
Announcements will be made about future trips by the end of the week.