carnival sensation fire

A fire broke out on the Carnival Sensation as the Carnival cruise ship was returning to Miami at the end of a short cruise to the Western Caribbean. The cruise ship left Miami, Florida on February 7th to Key West and was scheduled to call on Cozumel, Mexico and then return to Miami today.

The Sensation was on the last night of a four day cruise to the Western Caribbean when the fire reportedly started around 3:00 a.m on the last night, according to a passenger who wishes to remain anonymous. She stated that the fire occurred on deck 6 aft.  Another passenger posted the following information and a photo of the aftermath of the fire on her Twitter account:

A producer at CNN was aboard the ship and took photographs and posted information about the fire on her Twitter page. Cruise guests donned life vests and crew members appeared wearing fire gear. Deck six reportedly smelled of smoke and fans were used to try and blow the smoke away:

She also commented that when the Sensation was heading from Key West toward Cozumel, a crew member was medevaced (on February 9th), requiring the ship to head back toward Key West. The passengers missed port in Cozumel.

Another cruise passenger commented on the smoke “so thick you could not see:”

Carnival responded to the tweets by denying that there was a fire and calling the incident a “smoke event.”

There have been other instances where cruise passengers reported that a fire occurred during a cruise which Carnival denied.  I call this the “smoke but no fire” excuse.

In March of 2016, there was a significant fire on the Carnival Splendor which disabled the ship. Carnival characterized the incident as involving “only-smoke-but-no-fire.” The Splendor had to be towed back to port after the fire. The final Coast Guard report stated that the fire burned for over nine hours before it was finally extinguished.

We have heard Carnival characterize the fires as “smoke events” before, like a fire on the Carnival Pride in 2015.  Carnival even tried to convince the passengers after a fire broke out on the Splendor that what they smelled was just a “flameless fire.” You can hear “there’s-smoke-but-no-flames-or-fire” characterization on this announcement recorded on this YouTube video of the Splendor fire which disabled the ship.

Carnival released the following statement after this latest fire or, as Carnival calls it, the “smoke event:”

“Carnival Sensation reported a smoke event early Monday morning while the ship was on its way back to its homeport of Miami and the conclusion of a five-day journey.  Smoke was coming from a housekeeping storage area on Deck 6, but when first responders arrived, they confirmed there was no fire.  Guests were alerted by public announcements and some guests near the source of the smoke were asked to evacuate their staterooms.  Both the captain and the cruise director made subsequent public announcements to update guests. Some guests waited in public areas and we provided refreshments; others returned to their staterooms once they were notified that the situation was under control.  Guests are now disembarking in a routine manner and the ship’s next sail, another five-day cruise, is scheduled to depart as planned Monday afternoon.”

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

Photo credit: Top – Amanda Jackson via Twitter.

Update:

After I published this article, cruise passenger Amanda Jackson posted on Twitter an audio recording of the Cruise Director repeatedly referring to the “fire” (the “fire is under control,” etc.). Cruise passengers also recall being awoken by an announcement where Carnival stated that there was a fire multiple times.

Another Carnival passenger on the cruise ship also posted about the fire on Twitter after we published this article. She commented “the smoke was so thick that I couldn’t see/breathe:”