A fire broke out on the Queen Mary 2 Wednesday night.

Cruise Critic, which characterizes the fire as "small," explains that "fire was caused by one of QM2’s gas turbines, which are situated below and behind the ship’s funnel. They’re used to augment power to the ship’s main quartet of diesel turbines, allowing the ship to travel at a higher maximum speed  . . . "

Cunard issued a statement claiming that the fire was "immediately extinguished."  The Queen Mary 2 - QM2 - Fire - Rough Seascruise line also claims that "neither passengers nor crew were adversely affected, and neither was the operation of the ship."

Cruise expert Professor Ross Klein’s website contains a reference to a post on Cruise Critic which provides a different perspective on the incident:

"A gas carbine in the engine room of the QM2 caught on fire this evening. Cunard staff were given a 90 minute warning in order to prepare to deploy the lifeboats. Guests had their children dropped off and their animals picked up from the kennels. Apparently it is now under control, but people are understandably shaken up."    

Last December, the QM2 suffered a major engine room incident – Power Outage on Queen Mary 2 Due to Catastrophic Explosion.  

The QM2 will be arriving today in New York late due to what the cruise line describes as "high winds and active seas." 

It is a scary proposition that the Cunard cruise ship was contemplating the use of life boats in such rough weather.

It will be interesting to hear the first hand accounts of the QM2 cruise passengers once they disembark today from their transatlantic voyage.

If you were on the cruise and have comments, photos or video to share, please leave a comment below.


October 10, 2011 Update:  We are receiving some interesting and intelligent comments from a number of cruisers who were on the QM2.  Sounds like a bumpy ride and a fortunate ending to a potentially dangerous situation.  Here is a quote from a passenger who emailed me rather than leaving a comment:

"The biggest problem with the fire on the QM2 was its location. It was NOT as previously reported in an engine room, but in a gas turbine up on deck 12. The problem was this was an open deck and the winds were very strong that night. Yes the fire was minor but the risk was that it could have been spread by very high winds. In fact after the fire was contained, the captain announced that there would be an observation team on deck 12 all night as there were some burning embers.
We learned later that if the fire had not been contained we would have had to board lifeboats in very rough waters (20-25 ft seas). Many of the passengers were needing assistance when we tendered in calm seas, because of age and physical limitations, walkers, wheelchairs etc. At the time of the fire we were more than 250 nautical miles out to sea.  Just wanted to clear up a few facts. Thank you." 


Photo credit:  Wikipedia (Malis)   

  • Betsy Samson-Andrews

    We were on board during the rough weather and the fire. Not for a second were we worried about Mary and the weather, she’s built for it and actually it was quite fun. The fire was a bit unnerving but our wonderful Captain and crew kept us well informed and eased any concerns. Cunard should be very proud of their crew and the new Captain

  • ian Hutchinson

    Iwas also on board and as an experinced certificated yachtsman,given the fact that I believe 3 cruiseliners turned back due to force 11 winds, circa 6mtr waves and gust of circa 66knts across the deck,it might have been prudent of the Captain to delay the departure until the wind participate as it was forecast to do, then when the worst of the weather had subsided leave the relative safety of the St Lawrence river for the open seas of the atlantic.
    It was only a good call if nothing goes wrong which I told my wife circa 6hrs before the fire.
    I think we were all very lucky this was not a disaster,the last Captain to talk up the design merits of the ship etc,was the Captain of the Titanic.It was reported to me that exven the Captain’s wife addorned her life jacket,how serious it really was only the Captain and his dedicated crew really know.Cruise Easy!!

  • Betty Williams

    My friend and I were also on this cruise and unlike the Samson-Andrews were very worried with the crashing waves hitting the windows in the Brittania dining room and the rocking of the ship, it was very hard to walk and with some of the elevators out of commission it was even more difficult on the stairways. It was all very well to state that the QM2 was made for this kind of weather but was the passengers?

  • 534

    “the last Captain to talk up the design merits of the ship etc,was the Captain of the Titanic”. Running into an iceberg and bad weather are a bit different.

  • Eve Strassburg

    I was scared. I’m not an easy cruiser anyway.. The ocean scares me and the thought of going out in it is terrifying. I thought the Captain really didn’t need to tell us about the other cruise ships that opted to stay safe in the harbor. TMI!!!! The waves were extremely high, the winds were extremely fast, and the ship was tipping so it was incredibly hard to walk. Doors crashed open, glasses and dishes in dining room crashed continually. The crew were great. Everything went on as normal. The fire that evening was an added stress and I truly thought we were heading for the boats. I slept with my life preserver and clothes at the end of my bed. I don’t think I’ll cruise again.

  • jl morton

    My husband, grandson, and I took this voyage on QM2 during the horrific storm that was an “11” on the Beaufort Scale (or was it a “12”?) The captain later remarked he had not been in anything stronger than a “10”.
    It was my 5th cruise, and I had never been seasick before. I spent about 8 hours in the bathroom very ill. We all missed dinner. I wish the captain would have returned to safehaven as did other ships, as this was a frightful experience, especially with a grandchild present. The captain did indeed sound much like the captain of the Titanic, extolling the virtues of the ship. Fortunately we fared a better outcome.
    Water was coming in under the doors on Deck 7. The doors had to be tied shut. A glass inner door shattered. Plates were falling and broken. Elevators were banging against the shaft walls and subsequently shut down. Entertainment was postponed.
    Sewage came up into some cabins’ showers.
    The fire was added anxiety in high winds and sea. Staff rushed around donning lifejackets, on alert to possibly launch lifeboats. A staff member remarked the next day that lifeboats were “worthless” in waves that high.
    Prior to weathering the storm, the cruise was enjoyable with good food, service, and ambiance. Am not certain we will be sailing anytime soon, however.

  • Michael Rohde

    We too were on the cruise. The storm was rough to a point where dishes were sliding off the table was short lived, unlikely to be more than an hour. There was some instability that caused difficulty in walking about for 18 or so hours. Those with walking difficulties were advised to stay in cabins. The ship was built to withstand oceangoing conditions where the cruise ships that turned back were not. so I believe the Captain’s decision to press on was correct. Had he turned back, our ongoing travel plans would have been considerably disrupted, missing another booked tour that we would not have been able to join at a later time. I also believe the way the Captain/crew handled the fire scare was beyond reproach. Guest received timely/accurate updates of the situation which meant people were not speculating on possible causes as the crew went through preparatory drills which I have no doubt were totally by the book. Even with a minor fire, the worst case scenaro had to be considered by the crew. The kennels were in an area close to the deck 12 fire hence owners were asked to remove pets from the area. The kids zone was also in the vicinity, so parents were asked to collect children to remove, to remove them from the danger area. Once again, I commend the Captain for the decisions made, the timely and accurate information provided to the guests and the crew for their actions. The sea is the sea, storms happen. If you can’t handle the odd rough spot, then you probably should not cruise.

  • William Whyte

    We were coming out of the worst of the storm when the fire alarm and orders to the fire crew interrupted the 6pm dinner seating. However the ocean was to remain rough well into the following day. The speed with which the crew changed into their fire marshal roles was remarkable and we were all herded in an orderly manor back to our cabins to await further instructions. We changed into warm clothes even though exiting the ship in the storm seemed unlikely. It was with great relief that the captain announced that the fire had been reduced to embers and that the fire crew were stationed on site to see that it was fully extinguished. Everyone was directed to resume normal activities. I walked through the entire ship and, indeed, all had returned to normal.

  • kathleen krause

    I have been cruising since the 60s on all oceans,0n all kinds of ships I grew up 0n the north sea and the Atlantic,and I dont suffer from sea sickness. During the stormy days in the Gulf of St Laurence my thoughts ,with a whisky glass in my hand,were “I am not abandoning ship in this f***ing weather”.No way was that possible.Captain and crew did a good job,with the fire and the info.I doubt wery much that the seriously contemplated using the lifeboats that just was not possible

  • trevor hames

    I was on this ship. i opened my cabin door to see the cabin stewards lined up in life jackets. The crew were on standby to evacuate the ship. It was unnerving and i slept in clothes that night. I have continued to cruise though and will continue to do so.

  • David H. Williams

    Several years ago we took our annual vacation and left North Carolina, flew to Boston and flew Iceland Air to Keflavic and then to in Manchester. As far as we could tell we were the only plane at the airport, but somehow Iceland Air lost our luggage for 5 days! Our plane was very tightly packed and the temperature was right at 80 F. We enjoyed England and Scotland immensely. As we were leaving South Hampton for New York we were notified that we were going to run into a storm as soon as we cleared the Channel. Our room was almost in the center of the ship and we barely felt any movement at all. I think that the hallways on our deck are about 1,000 feet long, I walked to the front end of the hallway and just stood there. I could feel the carpet crush under my shoes and a few moments later I could have easily jumped up and bumped my head on the ceiling. I didn’t feel any side-to-side motion anywhere on the ship. With the storm blowing in from the West and the ship traveling at 28 knots the combined wind speed coming over the bridge was around 106 mph. Maybe it would be foolish to completely disregard the potential danger of any ship navigating a storm, but I wouldn’t blink at a storm related last minute opening on the QM2.

  • Elaine Sweetlove

    I was on this cruise. I loved the storm but I did not love the fire. My husband was a ships captain Master 1 and he had always said to me that a sailors greatest fear was a fire at sea. Those words stuck with me, particularly when we were ordered to return to our staterooms. There was no way they could have launched lifeboats in that weather. I have always maintained that the captain was very cavalier about his attitude to the safety of over 2000 people.

  • David H. Williams

    On or about Nov. 20, 2012 we left South Hampton on our first sea crossing. As we left the captain announced that we would be heading into a North Atlantic storm and that we would diverting south to avoid the full brunt of it. The maximum wind speed was 76 knots and we were traveling into it at 28 knots. The wind speed over the bridge was in excess of 106 mph. When we would hit a wave it felt as if you were in a plane as it had reverse thrust applied a surge best describes it. Our cabin was pretty close to the middle of the ship and motion was barely felt. I walk down the hall to the front and the sensation of the motion of an elevator was pronounced. There was no sense of panic or fear from anyone I saw. I was amazed at the sense of smallness that I felt in light of God’s Creation. This huge ship felt very small in light of the black sea and nothing on the horizon.

  • carl anderson

    this was all an exciting experience! the crew kept us all informed about the approaching weather as well as info about the fire. i knew something was up when all the crew were in their life jackets. the humorous part of all this was when i stopped into the gift shop while trying to make my way back to my cabin from chuchill’s lounge. all the manequins had tipped over and looked like bodies lying all over the floor of the shop. if only i had taken a photo of this. i was too light headed from the tossing of the ship to do so. another incident of this cruise was the loss of a passenger while she was on a shore excursion. very sad. but kudos to cunard for their honesty and concern for the passengers.