Maritime lawyer and cruise expert says Royal Caribbean handled aftermath of fire correctly

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - Royal Caribbean officials said Monday evening they planned to fly all the passengers on the Grandeur of the Seas back to Baltimore where the cruise originated.

The ship is in Freeport, Bahamas after a fire broke out early Monday morning.

According to the Coast Guard, the fire started on the third deck in the rear of the ship and spread to the fourth deck.

Passengers say they were told to put on their life jackets and go to lifeboats. The ship was not evacuated and the fire was out within a couple of hours.

In cell phone video, passengers are scene on the deck in their life jackets while cruise employees gave them instructions.

"I can tell you it looks pretty scary and serious," Maritime lawyer and cruise expert Mark Hanson said.
Hanson is a maritime lawyer based out of Palm Beach Gardens.

"A fire on a ship is clearly the most dangerous and deadly thing. No captain wants to see that. All of the internal compartments can be sealed off so they can suffocate and smother the fire," Hanson said.

Hanson says the cruise lines are learning from each other after a rocky couple of years.

He says Royal Caribbean handled the aftermath of the fire correctly.

Their PR team was even the first to tweet out a picture of the burnt ship.

"Why not take the sting out of it by putting out it out there yourself? It is a PR move...and a good one," Hanson said.

Hanson says, despite terrifying images like the pictures of the ship, overall, cruises are not dangerous.

"We're here in the 21st century and we expect the ships to be flawless and that is not possible, but they are still an extremely safe way to travel," Hanson said.

The NTSB is investigating what caused the fire. No word on how long the ship will remain in Freeport.

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