Cruise cut short by fire onboard ship

Royal Caribbean will pay to send its 2,200 passengers back to Baltimore

FREEPORT, Bahamas - Thousands of cruise ship passengers will be heading home early from their vacations Tuesday, after the latest mishap in the cruise industry.

A fire broke out on board Royal Caribbean's Grandeur of the Seas early Monday morning, forcing the ship to port in Freeport, Bahamas about halfway through the seven-day voyage. While the luxury liner never lost power, its 2,200 passengers and more than 750 crew members awoke to warnings to get to their muster stations immediately.

Dan McTigue was one of the passengers who had to hustle in the middle of the night.

"I heard these big explosions and saw the fire jump out of the ship," he told ABC News. "We couldn't get to the muster station because it was on fire!"

The fire gutted the stern of the ship, which just underwent a $48 million renovation this year. Now it's stuck in the Bahamas, as Royal Caribbean pays to return the passengers to the ship's home port of Baltimore.

Each will be reimbursed for the voyage and a certificate for a future cruise.

On Monday night, Royal Caribbean announced on its Twitter page that the ship's next voyage, planned to leave from Baltimore on May 31 was also cancelled. Passengers of that trip will receive a full refund of cruise fare and 50 percent off a future sailing.

The company's Twitter account also said an update about later cruises will be issued by the end of the week.

According to ABC News, more than 20 fires have erupted aboard cruise ships in the past 15 months. An engine fire was what crippled the Carnival Triumph ship, which was left drifting in the Gulf of Mexico for days earlier this year.

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