Yesterday evening, a fire broke out on the Quantum of the Seas as it sailed on an Alaskan itinerary, according to a Royal Caribbean crew member who wishes to remain anonymous. The crew member notified me of the following information:

“Fire on Quantum OTS last night in the engine room/casing in zone 5, multiple decks. Bravo announcement (code to alert crew to a fire or other serious incident on board without alarming passengers) at approx. 8:50 P.M., then again a few minutes later. When the theatre let out passengers were met with fire crews rushing down the stairs. Passengers were visibly a bit panicked. Kilo announcement (Royal Caribbean general signal for crew to report to emergency stations) shortly after 9:00 P.M. with crew running down hallways with emergency vests on. Deck 6 aft passenger cabins evacuated and deck 5 closed past aft elevators. Passengers were advised not to use aft elevators and stay clear of the area. Captain and Cruise Director made a few announcements stating there was a fire and crew members were working on it. Around 10:00 P.M. they announced fire was out and they were working on clearing the areas to open again.

Just a little excitement for the evening!

This morning, we arrived in Juneau a little early (1 hour), but other than that it seems like business as usual.

Later this afternoon, the captain made an announcement thanking the crew’s ‘quick action which prevented a potentially very serious situation.’ Knowing the Kilo code was called, this was a very serious situation anyway!”

When I inquired of the crew member whether there was a public announcement of the cause of the fire, the employee responded:

“Nothing. As usual, the only information given was the absolute bare minimum.”

A number of cruise guests tweeted about the fire with several people complaining about the lack of public information released to the passengers.

One guest commented that the crew was “professional and quick” although he also mentioned that “it was still a little scary with the alarms and doors shutting.”

The Royal Caribbean ship departed from Seattle, Washington on August 29th for a seven day Alaskan Glacier cruise. Before it arrived in Juneau this morning, the ship sailed to Ketchikan on August 30th and Sitka on September 1st. The ship is scheduled to call on Victoria, Canada on September 4th and will return to Seattle on September 5th.

Fortunately, there were no injuries reported. There has been no public disclosure of the extent of the property damage or the cause of the fire.

According to cruisemapper.com, on June 5, 2014, a fire broke out on the Quantum during construction at the Meyer Werft shipbuilding yard in Papenburg, Germany. During the incident, two of the workers were injured, suffering from smoke poisoning. The ship sustained damages estimated at around USD $68,000.

Ship fires are not uncommon occurrences, although cruise lines try to create  the illusion that such dangers are rare. In an article titled dated 2013, the New York Times concluded that cruise ship fires were “not unusual,” (citing cruise expert Dr. Ross Klein who testified before the U.S. Congress), stating that:

“There have been about 79 fires onboard cruise ships between 1990 and 2011, according to Mr. Klein’s data. Up until about 2006 there were usually three or four fires a year. From 2006 onward the number of fires doubled to about seven or eight a year. That increase, Mr. Klein said, is the result of a combination of better reporting (thanks, social media) and the rapid growth of the cruise industry.”

As part of their efforts to restrict adverse public sentiment, cruise lines prohibit their crew members from releasing information to the public. Thanks to this particular crew member for disclosing details to the public.

Have a comment or questions? Please leave one below or join the discussion on our Facebook page.

September 3, 2022 Update:

We are receiving additional informaton from passengers on this ship. One guest (Jenna Kavana), who provided the video above, stated:

“My husband and I saw smoke and fire embers from our 7th deck balcony a little before 8:35 pm. We also noticed that the boat had come to a complete stop. We ran up the stairs to deck 15 for a closer look and did not understand why there were no announcements and why the decks seemed empty with no people. I think they closed the fire doors and we’re keeping people in the restaurant and theater around this time. We finally heard them announce the Bravo x3 and later the Kilo x3 closer to or past 9:00 pm. I was having to message my family to ask what these codes meant. At some point we realized our muster station access was blocked and we had no life jackets in the room. It would have been nice to have more information about where to go and what to do. I was in a panic for at least an hour. ☹️

. . .  I could see the fire from my balcony about 30 minutes before an announcement was made and was panicking due to the lack of acknowledgment and instructions. There’s no excuse for withholding information that may put someone’s life in danger. People should have a right to be informed as quickly as possible so they can make the best decision they can.

. . . this one isn’t a great picture but that black looking cloud is smoke.”

Image credit: Quantum of the Seas – Frank Schwichtenberg – CC BY-SA 4.0 commons / wikimedia.