There is an interesting post on the message board at Cruise Critic, indicating that a fire broke out in the incinerator room of the HAL Noordam around 3 A.M. on August 25th.
The fire reportedly was extinguished it seems after a hour, more or less.
The cruise passenger indicated that the captain of the ship made several announcements and tried to keep everyone calm.
The passenger also said that he saw others walking/running wearing life jackets. Some people stayed in their cabin and other passengers went to the life boats. He and his family seemed scared and upset.
What struck me about the responses to his post is that a fair amount of people mocked him, accusing him of complaining about such a "minor" event, "just because you lost some sleep?"
What also struck me was that so many other passengers told stories that they too had experienced small fires or incinerator fires or electrical fires on other cruises.
The posters mentioned fires aboard the Carnival-owned Rotterdam, Westerdam, Volendam, and Zuiderdam. I wasn’t aware of some of these fires.
One cruiser commented:
"We have been on three cruises in the past four years where there was a fire alarm. Twice it was in the incinerator room and the other time, an electrical short in the Lido. The last alert was I believe in May on the Zuiderdam, as we were woken up about 4 AM.
It has become a common occurrence for us on our Alaska sailings."
The majority of those commenting seemed rather blase’ about the danger of fire at sea. They fluffed off the incident as another example of "ship happens."
I think that all passengers deserve a detailed explanation regarding the cause of the fire. The passengers are entitled to an explanation regarding the efforts taken to extinguish the fire together with a time table regarding the responsive steps and the announcements to the passengers and crew.
There is a tendency of the cruise industry not to disclose incidents like this. The cruise lines always claim that fires are "rare" but they never release evidence of incidents like this.
There should be a database available to the public detailing these type of incidents. No one should ever be made fun of for talking about such a potentially dangerous and deadly incident.
Photo Credit: Wikipedia / MilkoholicBear