Zenith Cruise Ship Disabled Due to Fire Near Venice

Zenith Cruise Ship FireEarly this morning a fire broke out in the engine room of the Zenith cruise ship, formerly operated by Celebrity Cruises and now operated by Royal Caribbean Cruises owned Pullmantur Cruises,   

The fire started at approximately 03:48 AM today while the cruise ship sailed from Ravenna to Venice with 1672 passengers on board.

The engine room was damaged to the point that the ship was disabled and had to anchor 17 miles off Venice.  The ship had to be towed by 4 tugs to Venice this afternoon. 

The Zenith was built 1992 and flies the flag of convenience of Malta. 

The incident will add to the controversy of the increasing presence of cruise ships in the lagoon of Venice which has been the site of protests from local Italian community groups and environmental activists.  

It is also the latest cruise ship fire in a string of fires which have disabled ships lately including the recent fire aboard Royal Caribbean's Grandeur of the Seas and the Carnival Triumph among others.  

I last saw the Zenith two years ago when it was docked in Royal Caribbean's new port in Falmouth Jamaica (photo below next to Royal Caribbean's Allure of the Seas; smokestack later painted blue).

There is remarkably little news in the U.S. press regarding yet another disabling cruise ship fire even though the ship is operated by  Pullmantur Cruises which is owned by Miami-based Royal Caribbean Cruises.

Anyone with information about the Zenith fire, please leave a comment below or join the discussion on our Facebook page.

June 26 2013 Update: A Spanish newspaper reports:

Josep Cortiella, one of the Spanish passengers on board, told Catalan TV news channel 3/24 that they had gone to the ship's bridge "in pyjamas" and stayed there until 8am.

The passengers had nothing to eat, he explained, except some sandwiches.

Cortellia claimed that the ship's authorities "didn't know what to do."

Pullamantur Zenith Cruise Ship 


Top: vesseltracker.com via Maritime Bulletin.com

Bottom: Jim Walker

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Comments (4) Read through and enter the discussion with the form at the end
Violeta galantu - June 26, 2013 3:53 PM

I have heard about the incident , from a friend that works there, l don.t know much , just everybody is ok , no victims , and this is good , my question is , if the authorities didn't,t know what to do , how that everybody is ok , ??? .... And that they stayed in pijamas on deck, what they expect, while the ship is on fire, to send them back to rooms , to get dressed for gala??? Come on people!!!

Daniel - June 27, 2013 6:15 AM

There were about 50 brazilians on board and it's all over brazilian news. They're also saying there were no victims. http://noticias.terra.com.br/brasil/navio-com-50-brasileiros-pega-fogo-em-veneza,6958b78c2b28f310VgnCLD2000000ec6eb0aRCRD.html

Paola Maria - July 1, 2013 11:37 AM

I was on the cruise. It was a mess. There were no employees on deck for almost an hour. The drill the night before was held in the broadway lounge so when the real thing happened a few hours later a lot of people didnt know where to go or what to do. We stood outside for three hours, in the cold, in pijamas, with barely any knowledge as to what was happening. Afterwards, we had no electricity or running water (which we never recuperated). We barely had food. Around 7pm there weren't even sandwiches left to eat. The buffet looked like a war zone. At midnight we finally reached the commercial port in venice. They divided everybody into two groups: the ones going to madrid and the ones going to barcelona (the japanese group had its own bus and so did the brazilians). The madrid group was recieved with pizzas while they were getting on the buses that would take them to the airport. 4 hours later the last passenger got off and the barcelona group was left practically stranded. They didnt get to it a single slice of pizza or anything to drink. It was raining and cold and there were seniors, babies and children in the group. We had to wait for at least an hour before getting to the buses that were already there and available. Nobody knew anything, nobody could help us, and they all spoke italian. No spanish. We finally are let into the buses when we find out that the barcelona group isnt going to the venitian airport. They were taking us to the bologna airport: two and a half hours away. We have no choice so we leave. And arrive to the plane that is waiting for us. They gave us a bit of food and drinks but nothing to satisfy people that have been hungry for more than 24 hours. When we arrive at barcelona we start looking for pullmantur people and find none. We had been told in the cruise that we would meet people there and that they would help us find transportation for our final destinations and a hotel for the day. There was nobody there and nobody would answer when we called. Finally one of us got a hold of them and they informed us that they would not be receiving us, but that they would pay back whatever we spent.

They did not do a good job. They seemed unorganized and the way they simply left us abandoned in barcelona with nowhere to sleep or go is unacceptable.

maria - July 16, 2013 5:08 AM

i am so surprised to hear that there was a fire on the zenith, that ship has a special place in my heart, i worked on it in 1999 and 2000, it will always be my favouite home, good memories, and the atmosphere on that ship was like no other place on earth, i love that ship and only hope she cruises for ever:-):-):-)

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