Latin America & Caribbean

Royal Caribbean cruise cancelled in Bahamas after fire

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Media captionFootage from Freeport in the Bahamas, where the ship has docked, shows the damage

A fire has broken out aboard a Royal Caribbean cruise ship, forcing more than 2,200 passengers to end their trip early.

The Grandeur of the Seas had left Baltimore on Friday and was en route to CocoCay in the Bahamas when fire broke out in the mooring area in the early hours of Monday, the company said.

Passengers were mustered to assembly points for several hours while the fire was put out.

No serious injuries were reported.

The 2,224 guests and 796 crew were all safe and accounted for, Royal Caribbean said in a statement.

The fire broke out at about 02:50 ET (07:50 GMT) on Monday and was put out at 04:58, it said. Guests were released from their muster stations at 06:56.

'Passengers calm'

Mark J Ormesher, a Briton who lives in Manassas, Virginia, told AP news agency he and his girlfriend smelled acrid smoke as they went to their muster station, the ship's casino.

The crew quickly provided instruction, which "encouraged calm amongst the passengers", he said. The captain "provided us as much information as we needed to stay safe".

The air conditioning was shut off, he said, and as the ship grew hotter bottled water was passed around. Crying babies were provided with formula milk.

On-board medical staff attended to calls for help including incidents of fainting, high blood pressure and an ankle sprain, the company said, but there were no medical emergencies.

The 17-year-old ship never lost power and was able to sail into port at Freeport, Bahamas. Charter flights are now being arranged to return passengers to their starting point in Baltimore, the US.

Passengers are being refunded their fares and offered a free cruise in the future, the company said.

In March 2012, a Royal Caribbean-owned cruise ship was forced to cancel a trip after fire broke out a day after it left Manila, the Philippines, for Malaysia.

In February this year, passengers were forced to spend nearly five days in the Gulf of Mexico aboard a stranded ship operated by Royal Caribbean rival Carnival after the ship was disabled by an engine-room fire.

In January 2012, 32 people died when a Costa Cruises ship ran aground off Tuscany, Italy. The captain is facing prosecution.

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