Due to a fire onboard, passengers on a Caribbean cruise spent their second day in port in the Virgin Islands yesterday. Fire erupted in the engine room of the Carnival Liberty on Monday while it was anchored at St Thomas.
As smoke billowed through the vessel, crew evacuated passengers to shore. Nobody was injured by the fire or in the subsequent evacuation. A Carnival spokesperson said that the onboard fire system had extinguished the blaze automatically.
The representative noted that passengers were ferried to St Thomas hotels. They were provided with drinks, snacks and a buffet meal plus film entertainment. The smoke had been cleared from the ship by the evening and passengers were able to spend the night in their cabins.
Local and US coastguards had still not finished their damage inspections yesterday and passengers were given US$150 (£98) of credit each to use onboard and the option of free shuttles into St Thomas. Carnival says it plans to refund customers’ money in addition to giving them 50 per cent off the price of their next cruise.
The Carnival Liberty had departed from San Juan on Sunday for a seven-night odyssey of the Virgin Islands. There were 1,150 crew and 3,346 passengers on board. Carnival told passengers that if the ship was not ready to sail from St Thomas by yesterday evening it would send passengers home by aeroplane.
Despite having to spend two days in port, passengers seemed upbeat about their predicament last night. Many seemed happy they had not been injured in the incident and one, Elaine Myers, said she viewed it as a free cruise.