A British cruise ship was forced to make an unscheduled return to port last night after a fire on board. P&O Cruises’ Oriana was en route to a day in Key West, Florida, but turned round and returned to Miami, which it had left only a few hours earlier.
A P&O spokeswoman said the fire was minor and “localised” and that the safety of passengers and crew had not been affected.
She said that in order to allow for a mandatary US Coastguard inspection, the ship would remain in Miami until 8.00 am local time (1.00 pm BST) and the call at Key West would be cancelled. Oriana is due to arrive in New Orleans at 9.00 am on Tuesday for an overnight stop.
A contributor to Cruise Critic’s P&O forum said that Oriana put in a distress call to the US coastguard as a result of a fire in the engine room, but then declined assistance as the fire had been extinguished and the ship still had power.
The 20-year-old vessel, which carries 1,880 passengers and 760 crew, is in the middle of a 32-night adults-only cruise which left Southampton on April 4. The itinerary has so far included the Azores, Bermuda, Charleston, and Port Canaveral. After New Orleans, the ship is due to call at Cozumel in Mexico, Nassau, in the Bahamas, and the Azores before returning to Southampton on May 6.