Cruise Ship Fiery Inferno: Passengers Evacuated

Two scheduled departures from Port Canaveral, Florida, on Carnival Cruise Line were called off following a fire incident aboard one of its ships, the Carnival Freedom. The incident occurred approximately 20 miles from Eleuthera Island in the Bahamas. Witnesses on the scene described a scenario where it seemed the ship was hit by lightning amidst adverse weather conditions, igniting a fire on the port side near the ship’s exhaust funnel around 3:15 p.m. The resulting damage led to a part of the funnel collapsing onto the deck. Carnival Cruise Line reported that the fire was successfully put out by 5:20 p.m., and temporary measures were taken to secure the funnel, enabling the vessel to make its way back to Port Canaveral for passengers to disembark. Subsequently, the ship was sent to the Freeport shipyard for urgent repairs to the funnel.

Despite the dramatic circumstances, no passengers were injured during the event, which affected approximately 3,700 individuals on board. However, two crew members who were part of the firefighting efforts were treated for minor smoke inhalation.

A passenger, Heath Barnes, captured the incident on video and shared it on Facebook, recounting a sudden, loud noise that sounded like thunder and lightning, followed by the sight of flames and smoke emanating from the ship’s funnel as he returned to his cabin.

In response to the disruptions caused by the incident, Carnival Cruise Line has offered the passengers affected by the two canceled cruises a full refund along with a 100 percent credit for future cruises.

Remarkably, this is not the first occurrence of such an incident on the Carnival Freedom, with a similar fire outbreak in the funnel area reported in May 2022 while docked in Grand Turk. That incident led to the cancellation of three cruises and required repairs to be made in a Grand Bahama shipyard. The earlier fire incident did not result in any injuries among the approximately 2,500 passengers and 1,100 crew members on board at the time.