Grandeur of the Seas, the Royal Caribbean cruise ship damaged by fire on Monday, will be out of action until mid-July.
All passengers who were on board when the blaze broke out, and who spent four hours at their muster stations during the emergency, have now left Freeport in the Bahamas. Most returned to Baltimore on 11 chartered planes, while 25 chose to travel by ferry to Fort Lauderdale and onward by bus or train.
The ship has moved from the Freeport Cruise Terminal to a berth at the Grand Bahama Shipyard, where repairs will be carried out. Investigators have not yet revealed the cause of the fire, which broke out on the aft mooring deck
Royal Caribbean had already announced the cancellation of the cruise due to depart from Baltimore on Friday
Passengers on the ship when the fire broke out will receive a full refund and a future cruise certificate worth 100 per cent of the fare. Those booked on the May 31 cruise will get a refund and 50 per cent credit. For the later cruises, the credit will be worth 25 per cent of the fare, in addition to refunds.
“We are gratified that no one was hurt and that the safety and comfort systems performed exactly as designed,” said Adam Goldstein, president and chief executive officer of Royal Caribbean International. “I extend my appreciation to our crew who performed so well, as well as to our guests who have been cooperative, understanding and highly complimentary of the shipboard team throughout.”
While Royal Caribbean have earned praise for the handling of the emergency and the PR storm which followed, the fire – which follows other incidents earlier this year on Carnival ships – is likely to damage customer confidence.
Prof Christopher Muller, of Boston University’s school of hospitality administration, told Gene Sloan of USA Today that the image of the entire industry will suffer. The string of bad news could be causing “a slow bleeding from a thousand cuts.”
“Many people choose to take a cruise because of the perception of simplicity, value and safety,” said Muller. “If you are 500 miles out to sea, you do not want to think it is going to catch on fie. In a land-based hotel, you can simply check out.”
Royal Caribbean informed Wall Street that they expect the cost of the fire and its aftermath to be in the region of 10 cents per share – current price $35.11.