Grand PrincessA reader of our Facebook page has reported that a fire broke out in the engine room of the Grand Princess this morning as the Princess cruise ship approached Hilo, Hawaii. The reader cites the Cruise Critic Boards as the source of her information:

"BAD news first……about 0530 the captain came on and advised the was a small fire on deck 4 near the engine room…we were losing propulsion and had limited lighting…well that certainly wakes you up!
20 minutes later he advised fire was out but we have limited propulsion and limping onwards to Hilo Hawaii, our first port since leaving SF…

GOOD news… we are about 6 miles fro Hilo…
there isn’t enough power for brewing coffee and limited lighting in horizon court ….which was a zoo with limited lighting and people acting as if they were rushing to avoid a food shortage…some folks really amaze me…."

There has been a string of engine room fires this year. 

Fairplay recently published an article about the "continuing string of cruise ship engine room fires" in the article Cruise Engine Room Fire Risk Persists. The following cruise ships have faced fires over the course of the last year: NCL’s Norwegian Pearl (November) in Caribbean; Royal Caribbean’s Splendour of the Seas (October) while sailing to Greece; Carnival Liberty (September) while at dock in St Thomas; Royal Caribbean’s Freedom of the Seasbefore it arrived in Falmouth, Jamaica; P&O’s Oriana (April) after leaving Miami, Florida; Fred Olsen’s Boudicca (January) Casablanca, Morocco; Oceania Cruises’ Insignia St. Lucia (December).

Photo Credit: Grand Princess (ship, 1998) Ivan T. – Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Commons

November 20 2015 Update: The Star Advertiser newspaper in Honolulu reports that the Grand Princess, cruising to Hawaii from San Francisco, experienced a fire in its engine room and lost power about 100 miles from Hilo this morning. The crew extinguished the fire just before 8 a.m. and restarted its engine, resuming its voyage.According to a passenger, “the ship has only one working engine and there are two small tug boats that might get the ship into port.”

November 23, 2015 Update from Princess Cruises @ 3:05 PM EST:  Princess released the foltowing statement this afternoon:

"At approximately 5:30 am local time, the propulsion circuit breaker in the aft switchboard aboard Grand Princess suffered a significant failure, resulting in smoke. The ship was 20 miles off the coast of Hilo, Hawaii. All guests and crew are accounted for and there were no injuries.

The incident did cause a power outage resulting in the use of emergency lighting and limited air conditioning for a short time. The ship is currently operating on three diesel generators and will arrive in Hilo later today.

We are currently investigating the cause of this incident and the impact it may have on the current voyage.

Grand Princess is carrying 2,592 guests and 1,095 crew. The ship is on the fifth day of a 15-day Hawaii cruise that departed San Francisco on November 25." 

November 30, 2015 Update from Princess Cruises @ 5:53 PM EST:

"At approximately 5:30 am local time, a propulsion circuit breaker in the aft electrical switchboard aboard Grand Princess suffered a significant failure, resulting in smoke and a small fire contained within the switchboard. The ship was 20 miles off the coast of Hilo, Hawaii.   All guests and crew are accounted for and there were no injuries.

The incident was isolated but did cause a power outage resulting in the temporary use of emergency lighting and limited air conditioning for a short time. Power has been restored and all hotel and guest services are in operation.

The call to Hilo has been cancelled in order to proceed to Honolulu where shoreside engineers have been deployed to meet the ship for an on-time arrival at 0700 am local time on December 1.

Once the technical officers and engineers complete their assessment of the situation it will be determined if there will be any further impact to the itinerary."

  • Barbara

    My brother and sister-in-law are on the ship. They said the ship became dead in the water.

  • Barbara

    Just spoke with brother. They are outside Hilo but can’t dock until they have power to steer into port.

  • Kimberly

    My parents are on the ship. They have no power. What is the extent of the damages and what’s the plan for the passengers?

  • MM

    My mother said the Coast Guard will not let them into the port with only one engine.

  • Loretta

    any up-dates?

  • Caalyx

    My father just called from the ship. They are still sitting off the coast waiting for a tow into Honolulu. He said that lights are running and they are fine.

  • Whitney

    I have and Uncle & Aunt onboard. When are the passengers going to be able to get off ship? There’s got to be a way to get off passengers. Maybe by small boats.

  • Laura Kasper

    My Parents are on board, talked to them this afternoon, in Honolulu, they are fine & Happy. They will find out more later today! Relax its an adventure cruise! 😀

  • annie g.

    Will the scheduled departure from San Francisco on December 10th go forward, or be cancelled?????

    Need to know. Passenger that is supposed to be on December 10th sailing has Allergies and a Heart Condition.

  • Laura Kasper

    Any updates this morning?

  • Debbie

    Still sitting in Honolulu. Coast guard won’t release ship to travel back to San Francisco on half power. Last update 11:00 last night. Waiting for new update.

  • Tammy larsen

    My mom and dad are on the cruise I talk to them about a week ago both phones off so I can’t get a hold of them to see if they have made it home OK. If anyone knows anything please post!

  • Cathy

    Anyone know what time this ship is expected to doc in SF today? In-Laws on board. Just concerned.

  • Debbie

    The Grand arrived this morning in SF as scheduled. We where treated royally by Princess. Sad there was a fire but the cruise line made their best effort to keep us happy and busy. Kudos to them on a job well done. We have already booked another Princess cruise, can’t say anything bad about our voyage except we didn’t make the ports we wanted to visit. Otherwise the cruise was outstanding.

  • Nancy

    I was on the Nov. 25th sailing & Debbie, I agree with you 100%!
    While we were all nervous when we heard the announcement at 5:30 am, the Captain kept us advised every 15 minutes or so of the progress. Once we were told the fire was out, I think we all felt better! The power came back on after about 1/2 an hour, when they got one of the generators up and running, eventually there were 3 generators. We were able to have a limited breakfast in the dining room that morning with some hot items including coffee, eggs, toast, etc and all of the cold ones (fresh fruit, cereal, etc). By later that day, all the hotel & restaurant services were restored.
    When we arrived in Honolulu, where we stayed for 2 days instead of 1,they brought on the Coast Guard and professionals to work on this ship. When the Captain announced that we weren’t going to be able to go to Kauai or Maui, we almost had a mutiny on board. About 100 people mobbed the Purser’s Office & demanded to speak to the Captain. The Captain arrived with some of his officers, members of the security team and the U.S. Coast Guard to talk to the passengers. Some of the passengers were threatening to the Captain and very rude.
    My family & I totally believe that the Captain did EXACTLY what he was supposed to do. The only thing he was concerned about was OUR SAFETY! He said we wouldn’t leave Honolulu until we were cleared by the Coast Guard, which was at about 3:00 am. Did the Captain take time to go to sleep after that?? Noooooo! He got on the phone with Princess Headquarters and he negotiated a compensation package for us which was AMAZING! For those of us who went on cruising to SF, we received 150% of what we paid for our cruise and $200 per person onboard ship spending money. For those who wanted to get off, they received $125% of their fares and Princess paid for their airfare home from Honolulu to SF. About 500 people left, which left just over 2000 passengers. It was a much happier environment without those who left!
    Princess brought on extra entertainers for us to enjoy, since we wouldn’t be in the ports until we reached Ensenada.
    The ship was running at about 18 knots instead of about 22 knots, and it was just fine. Nice & smooth and everything was very enjoyable. We made it to Ensenada and had the full amount of time there and then we went on to SF and arrived exactly when we were supposed to.
    We had incredible food, entertainment & they waited on us hand & foot. It was a FREE vacation with a bit of adventure! None of the passengers even saw the fire in the engine room and we weren’t in danger.
    I applaud our WONDERFUL CAPTAIN and would like to say how much I respect him and Princess Cruise Line. We are hoping to book this cruise early next year on the same ship. I am a Platinum Captain’s Circle Member and my parents are Elite. THANK YOU FOR A WONDERFUL VACATION from a loyal Princess passenger. Give our Captain a raise, he deserves it!!!!

  • michael dee

    I was on the ship.I feel that other than no hot coffee everything was great.the captain did an outstanding job especially after a mob raised hell one could have been a nightmare thank you princess.Michael dee

  • Brenda

    I totally agree with Nancy’s assessment and comments. A week after the cruise and I am still happy about the experience of Princess cruising❤️ The crew and entertainers (esp Indi) will long be fondly remembered.

  • beverly and Don Wilson

    Princess Cruise lines were magnificent and totally
    generous since most ports were missed. Personally we
    have seen all the Islands many times and just love the
    ocean and cruise aspect which was totally perfect.
    we applaud the cruise line and Captain and crew –
    everything was fine – but we have spent nearly 50 years
    on the water and never panicked as some did…….
    great experience!

    Thank you Princess Cruises!