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Not a Drill': After Royal Carribean Fire, Passenger Describes Scary Night in the Middle of the Ocean

Crying babies were given formula and held while their parents used the bathrooms.

This photo provided by Royal Caribbean shows the fire-damaged exterior of Royal Caribbean's Grandeur of the Seas cruise ship, in Freeport, Bahamas. Royal Caribbean says the fire occurred on the mooring area of Deck 3 about 2:15 a.m. Monday, May 27, 2013, and was quickly extinguished, as the ship was en route to the Bahamas. Passengers and crew members reported to evacuation stations. No injuries were reported. Credit: AP

(TheBlaze/AP) -- An announcement from the Royal Caribbean cruise ship that passengers needed to go to their muster stations roused Mark J. Ormesher from his stateroom on the Grandeur of the Seas early Monday.

A fire had broken out.

Ormesher said in an email to The Associated Press that immediately after the captain's announcement, his room attendant knocked on the door and told him and his girlfriend to grab their flotation devices, saying: "This was not a drill."

(Credit: WPTV)

The native of England, who lives in Manassas, Va., Ormesher said he and his girlfriend smelled acrid smoke as they went to their muster station, the ship's casino. He said the crew quickly provided instruction.

"This encouraged calm amongst the passengers," he said. Passengers were required to remain at their stations for four hours, he said, and the captain "provided us as much information as we needed to stay safe."

Royal Caribbean said that the fire that began at 2:50 a.m. was extinguished about two hours later with no injuries reported. According to WPTV, the ship's medical staff said two guests were treated after fainting, there was one report of high blood pressure, and one report of cramps by passengers.

This photo provided by Royal Caribbean shows the fire-damaged exterior of Royal Caribbean's Grandeur of the Seas cruise ship, in Freeport, Bahamas. Royal Caribbean says the fire occurred on the mooring area of Deck 3 about 2:15 a.m. Monday, May 27, 2013, and was quickly extinguished, as the ship was en route to the Bahamas. Passengers and crew members reported to evacuation stations. No injuries were reported. (Credit: AP)

Ormesher, 25, and on his first cruise, said the air conditioner had been shut off, and as the hours passed and the ship got hot, bottled water was passed around. The crew and passengers remained calm and helped those who needed it. Crying babies were given formula and held while their parents used the bathrooms.

The ship had sailed from Baltimore on Friday and arrived in Freeport, Bahamas, Monday afternoon.

In Freeport, passenger Andrea Sanders of Washington, D.C., said she slept on the deck with hundreds of other passengers as smoke billowed out of the stern of the ship. "I was terrified with it being my first cruise," Sanders told The Freeport News as she ate lunch in port.

A Royal Caribbean statement reads:

"In an abundance of caution, the Captain deemed it necessary to muster all guests at their assembly stations. All 2,224 guests and 796 crew have been accounted for, and there have been no injuries of guests or crew reported.  The safety of our guests and crew is our top priority, and we will continue to focus on their needs and concerns.

Grandeur of the Seas was enroute to CocoCay, Bahamas, but is currently heading to Freeport, Bahamas, for further evaluation.  The ship is in calm seas, and has full power."

The National Transportation Safety Board said in a tweet that it will join the U.S. Coast Guard in investigating the fire.

Here's a report from WPTV:

NBC's news piece on the fire and aftermath:

(H/T: Gawker)

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