Is Royal Caribbean's Grandeur of the Seas Safe to Sail After Fire?

Six weeks ago, the Grandeur of the Seas burst into flames on the high seas. It took two hours before the crew could finally extinguish the blaze. The cruise ship has since been in dry dock in the Bahamas under repair.

Yesterday travel agents and the cruise & travel media who Royal Caribbean invited aboard the cruise sailed on a one day cruise out of Baltimore for promotional purposes. Today passengers will sail on a one week cruise. One news station out of Baltimore broadcast that the Grandeur is "repaired and ready to sail." 

The problem is that repairs to the cruise ship are still ongoing.

Grandeur of the Seas Fire - Cruise Ship Over 150 passengers from 78 cabins were bumped from the cruise today because their cabins are still being reconstructed. 

Travel agents aboard the ship report that repair work is still ongoing. According to Cruise Critic, in addition to the 78 cabins which are not ready for passengers, several lounges (Diamond Club & South Pacific Lounge) which burned last month will remain closed.

The concern that I have when I hear news like this is whether the cruise ship is really ready to sail and, most importantly, safe for passengers to cruise? Remember that there has been no report released of what caused the fire in the first place. We previously wrote about the tendency of the cruise lines to bring their ships back to service quickly and long before the official analysis is completed, assuming an official report is ever prepared. Read What Caused the Grandeur of the Seas Fire?     

The investigation into the Grandeur fire is being overseen by the Bahamas, with the assistance of the U.S. Coast Guard and the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB).  Cruise Critic says that the "Bahamas Maritime Authority is currently drafting a final report on the incident."  Hogwash.  The Bahamas was responsible for investigating the fire which disabled the Carnival Triumph (the infamous "poop cruise" five months ago) and the Bahamas has still not finalized a report on that cruise fire yet.  

And there has been no report released on the cause of the other high profile cruise ship fire which occurred aboard Carnival's Splendor and left it disabled. That fire occurred over two and one-half years ago.  Another flag of convenience country (Panama) was responsible for overseeing that investigation, but has released nothing.

Its seems irresponsible to pile many thousands of travel agents and cruise passengers (not to mention the hard working crew) aboard the ship without telling the guests why the last time the Grandeur sailed several thousands of people stood at their muster stations in the middle of the night watching the lifeboat being deployed as the fire raged for two hours.

Grandeur of the Seas FireWhat caused the fire?  Why was the fire not extinguished by an automatic system? Is there even an automatic suppression at the mooring area at the stern of the ship? If not, shouldn't one be installed?

Were any of the travel agents and travel media asking these questions? Do any of the passengers boarding the cruise ship this morning care about these basic issues?

It doesn't seem so. A local CBS station in Baltimore aired these comments from travel agents: 

You always tell your clients things happen. Fires happen on land, they’re going to happen at sea,” said Paul Cathcart, travel agent.

“Nobody was hurt. You got free drinks. You got an extra day at sea,” said Donna Lopez, travel agent. 

Join the discussion on Facebook - was the fire caused by a cigarette? An electrical problem? Should the public trust the cruise lines to tell the truth?

 

Photo Credits:

Top: Cruise Critic Facebook

Bottom: Janeeva Russel / the Freeport News

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Comments (7) Read through and enter the discussion with the form at the end
I thought.... - July 12, 2013 12:16 PM

This is kind of funny. When first reported it was just the mooring deck affected. Then we all clearly saw the life rafts burnt in the news videos. Now we hear there were at least 78 cabins affected as well as some bars/buffets. What else is Royal Caribbean hiding?

rick - July 12, 2013 12:57 PM

First of all i enjoy cruising ca n't wait till the next one. I think these cruise lines are saying fix it and fix it quick. What is it going to take a major fire or a sinking of a ship before anything is going to happen. After Costas ship in Italy you fiqure thing were going to change doesn't look like it. Do you ban smoking? that would hurt the industry bigtime. It seems its all about money and you don't make any when your ships are sitting in drydock. Hopefully one of these cruiseline will say enough is enough and stop putting bandaids on the problems and do the surgery on the problems before their is any problems. A discount on your next cruise or your money back will be useless if your dead and hope to God your not dead!!!


Capt. Ed Enos - July 13, 2013 3:05 AM

This event (like others) proves the point that "everything" the CLIA has ever said about prioritizing safety first aboard their ships is simply hogwash. The USCG also plays a role as the party in the US port the passengers are loaded at; to have final say about the voyage. Our USCG today has lost ALL credibility in dealing with the cruise industry.

John Goldsmith - July 13, 2013 9:37 AM

While I have a hard time agreeing with Jim Walker on many of the posts seen here, In this case I must question Royal Caribbean on its decision to sail after the short refit.I saw the Grandeur while I was in Bermuda with Norwegian, and like all regular cruisers, we admired her lines. I love cruising, but I am always aware of my surroundings during a cruise. The size of these ships is growing and as with any environment with the amount of people anything can and probably will take place.Is there enough oversight in place? No there is not, and until something drastic happens and the will of governments grows teeth, the status quo will remain.

Thank you

Lauren - August 29, 2013 9:23 PM

I sailed on this cruise when it caught on fire. My cabin was on the 7th floor, direcetly above the fire in the back of the boat. I can say that everyone was calm and still half asleep. I think that played an important part to the positive outcome. My family and I were not able to get to our muster station as it was too close to the fire on the 5th floor, the last one on the boat. we were shuffled into the dining room, where we were able to see the flames of the fire. We were eventually shuffled to the theater. i was very greatful to not have to stand like sardines outside, but had a seat where my 3 kids (ages 4, 5, and 7) were able to use their lifejackets as pillows to sleep. however, the thought of the fire burning for over 2hrs and no access to a life boat scared me. The next day was bad. With little sleep, no activities for kids, it was a hard day. Our room was an inside cabin, so no power, no bathroom, no light, and smoke damage. We werent as bad off as the people that had all of what we had plus water damage too. we werent offered a room at a hotel like other passengers were. so we had to stay our rooms that night. thank god for cell phone lights. about 10pm that night, they did turn the power on. I was able to pack up our stuff, and get a few hours of sleep before I was rushed out on the first flight back to baltimore. We sat on the runway for 2 hours before the flight actually left. I still cannot believe that this happened.

I do have to wonder how can this happen, and how did the fire get so out of control that it took so long to be put out. That night and the following morning are still so vivid and yet so unreal. We really came close to a really bad outcome and my entire family was in jeopardy.

Ken - March 17, 2014 3:06 AM

Why haven't we heard anything more about the investigation into this fire, and its results? I too was on desck 7, in an aft junior suite overlooking the stern. When they announced where the fire was I peered through my cabin's sliding glass door and saw smoke mixed with flame billowing up from the corner of the stern to my right, the port side. Then there was a large explosion, big enough that I thought my glass door was going to implode. After that, the fire quickly spread along the port side of the stern, no longer just confined to its corner. I will never forget what I experienced that night, and yes, I am still haunted by it. Most of all I want to know what caused that fire. I prefer sailing on RCI's Vision Class Ships, and have, and will, continue to do so. But until this investigation is completed, I'll be sleeping abroad them with one eye open.

Ken - April 11, 2014 10:34 PM

It has been almost eleven months since the fire on the Grandeur. Has anything about the cause been released yet?

I love the Vision class ships and have continued to sail on them - was on the Vision of the Seas last October, the Grandeur again in December, and I'll be on the Legend of the Seas next week. But, like I said, when I sail now I am prepared - I bring a go bag, flash lights, anything I would need in an emergency because you never know...

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