Carnival Cruise Line got to work on its Port Canaveral-based ship Carnival Freedom after fire gutted part of its funnel in a headline-grabbing incident in Grand Turk last week.
The inferno destroyed the starboard side of the iconic red-white-and-blue funnel on board the ship that had been on a five-night sailing that had departed Port Canaveral on May 23. The more than 2,500 passengers were rescued from Grand Turk by the Carnival Conquest, which arrived alongside Saturday and returned the passengers two days later than expected on Monday morning.
“We are grateful to our guests for their support as our team worked this weekend to bring them back to Port Canaveral on Carnival Conquest, and we remain proud of our Carnival Freedom crew who handled the situation on the ship effectively and according to safety protocols,” reads an updated statement from the line posted on Monday.
Initial work to the damaged exhaust stacks of the 110,000-gross-ton, 952-foot-long ship that debuted in 2007 have to be done in Grand Turk, but the line will then sail it to Freeport, Bahamas for further repairs.
The ship, which sails four- and five-night Bahamas and Caribbean voyages from Port Canaveral, has had three planned sailings removed from the schedule. Freedom’s next available sailing on the line’s website is June 11, but future sailings could also face cancellation depending on how long repairs take.
Carnival brand ambassador John Heald shared comments from Carnival passengers who had to make the transfer to Carnival Conquest, which canceled its own sailing out of Miami to come to the rescue.
“John it has been a adventure for sure but the feeling of togetherness has been incredible. And this morning as the Conquest ship came in there were many of us who (became) very emotional. The horns sounded. The crew on the Conquest held up signs and cheered. We were sad to say goodbye to the crew in Freedom but the crew on Conquest are awesome. We will forever love Carnival,” Heald posted.
My parents cruise story continues… After the fire on Carnival Freedom, they’ve just been chilling waiting for Carnival Conquest to literally come rescue them to return to Port Canaveral. My mom says it was like a movie — everyone was cheering with happiness as the crew waved 🚢 pic.twitter.com/CBKoekl0tD
— Pamela Garcia (@mspamelagarcia) May 28, 2022
Another comment he shared said, “Seeing all the videos people are posting of the Conquest pulling into Grand Turk to pick up the passengers from the Freedom warms my heart! The passengers are standing out on the deck cheering and clapping, the ships’ horns are sounding, and the crew of the Conquest are on deck holding up signs welcoming the Freedom’s guests!”
The whale tail smokestack became an inferno last Thursday when it arrived to Grand Turk pulling alongside Carnival’s new ship Mardi Gras. That ship’s passengers posted video and images of the fire, which Carnival said was quickly addressed.
Freedom Cruiser – TURKS AND CAICOS.
The fire fighting group managed to extinguish the flames from the exhaust system in an effective manner.
no injured. congratulations for the teamwork. pic.twitter.com/Aw8sUwawDH
— Chester4x4 (@Chester4x4) May 26, 2022
“Emergency response team quickly activated and extinguished a fire inside the ship’s funnel while the ship was in Grand Turk. All guests and crew are safe, and the ship’s guests were cleared by local authorities to go ashore.”
As the extent of damage was revealed, plans were made for the Conquest rescue. The ship was sailing with 2,504 guests and 972 crew.