Carnival flying passengers home early after ship fire
(Photo: Andy Newman)
A seven-night Carnival cruise to the Southern Caribbean has come to an abrupt end in the wake of an engine fire.
Carnival on Wednesday began flying more than 3,000 passengers on the Carnival Liberty home from St. Thomas, where the ship has been docked since the Monday blaze. Upcoming calls in Barbados, St. Lucia, St. Kitts and St. Maarten have been canceled.
Carnival said it would issue full refunds to passengers for the shortened voyage as well as a 50% discount on a future cruise. This is in addition to a $150 per person credit that already has been applied to shipboard accounts.
"We apologize to our guests for this unexpected disruption to their vacation and the inconvenience they are experiencing," the line said in a statement issued late Tuesday.
No one was injured by the fire, which erupted Monday morning while the ship was docked in St. Thomas. It was extinguished by the Carnival Liberty's automated suppression system, the line said.
Carnival hasn't said if the ship's engine room was damaged in the fire, but the vessel Tuesday failed to receive clearance from authorities to sail. In its late Tuesday statement, the line said the ship would return to its home port of
San Juan, Puerto Rico later in the week.
Carnival said all hotel services on the ship including air conditioning, elevators, toilets and galleys were fully functional and the ship's normal array of activities including entertainment and dining proceeded as normal on Tuesday. Passengers on Tuesday were given the option of spending the day ashore in St. Thomas, and Carnival set up shuttles to take them to sites around the island.
The fire is the second in three months on a large cruise ship sailing in the Caribbean. A July fire on
Royal Caribbean's Freedom of the Seas as it sailed into Falmouth, Jamaica left one crew member injured.
Carnival Liberty was on a seven-night Southern Caribbean cruise that began Sunday in San Juan, Puerto Rico. It had been scheduled to spend Tuesday at sea on its way to Barbados, where it was due Wednesday morning. There are 3,346 passengers and 1,150 crew on board, the line said.
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