Photos and video footage of a Carnival Cruise fire made their way around social media Thursday after passengers saw smoke billowing from the tail funnel. The cruise originally left Port Canaveral, Florida, on Monday, and docked in Grand Turk Island Thursday when the fire began.
At a glance
- Carnival Cruise vacationers saw a fire ignite from the tail funnel of the Freedom ship
- The boat’s emergency response team quickly extinguished the flame, but not before guests took photos and video of the incident
- News of the incident circulated quickly on social media
- Carnival sent a second ship to transfer guests back to Florida from Grand Turk Island
“The Carnival Freedom’s funnel/exhaust system is currently [burning] in Grand Turk’s port,” said Blake, a passenger on the Carnival Mardis Gras. The Mardi Gras was docked next to the Freedom when the fire began.
Carnival officials did not evacuate the ship, though they did assemble at the muster station and put on life jackets. Once emergency crew accounted for everyone’s safety, the guests and crew went ashore for their excursions.
Carnival released a statement saying, “Freedom’s emergency response team quickly activated and extinguished a fire inside the ship’s funnel.” They also said they continue to assess the situation, and will work with local authorities for next steps. The Freedom remained in port past its scheduled departure time Thursday.
“We are all safe and were able to disembark as planned. As to what happens next, we have no clue,” one passenger said.
Carnival said it will send a second ship, the Conquest, to Grand Turk to pick up the Freedom passengers on May 28. Ships that size can carry around 3,500 people, so the job of transferring from one site to another will take significant time and planning. Carnival said it plans to have Freedom passengers back to Port Canaveral by May 30.
Neither guests nor crew suffered any injuries due to the Carnival Cruise fire
Carnival canceled Freedom’s next cruise, scheduled for May 28; and the ship will go to Freeport for repairs. Similarly, Carnival canceled the Conquest’s next trip, scheduled for May 27. Carnival also delayed its next trip after that to May 31.
Freedom passenger Summer Richardson said that the fire caused some anxiety, but ultimately just became a slight inconvenience more than anything.
“First thing we did was get our passports because you don’t want to be stranded in a foreign country,” Richardson said. “If we’re stuck here for another day and a half, hey, that’s just an extension on our vacation. We couldn’t be stuck in a better area. You know, it’s drinks, it’s the sunshine beaches.”
Read a partial excerpt from the official Carnival statement, reported by WFLA Tampa, below:
On Thursday morning while in port at Grand Turk, Carnival Freedom’s emergency response team quickly activated and extinguished a fire inside the ship’s funnel. All guests and crew are safe; and all other ship, hotel, and guest services, along with safety equipment are fully functioning.
While the majority of guests went ashore today, Carnival’s technical team completed an initial assessment of the funnel. And the shoreside team completed a plan to get our guests back to Port Canaveral.