A cruise ship catching fire is without question one of the greatest fears of many passengers.  Sadly, it occurred this week aboard Royal Caribbean’s 2000-passenger Splendour of the Seas, which was sailing near the Greek Islands when a fire broke out in one of the ship’s two engine rooms.

The Splendour of the Seas was in route to Argostoli, Greece, when the ship’s fire alarm went off.   Several passengers were forced to evacuate their rooms, and the ship was diverted to Venice, Italy. This incident occurred while the Splendour of the Seas was on a seven-night voyage, which started in Venice.

According to Belfast Live, an Irish radio station, passengers were horrified to wake up in smoke-filled rooms and were ordered to put on life preservers and report to muster stations.  Muster stations are designated areas on the ship where passengers are obligated to gather in emergency situations. One passenger called the Irish radio station with this report:

“There’s thick, acrid smoke all over the cabins. It was an emergency situation–we all had to go to our lifeboat stations and put on our life jackets, getting prepared for lifeboats. The smell of smoke is terrible. We did a drill a few days ago, and we remembered that, thankfully. We all went to our muster stations, getting prepared for what might happen. Some decks are closed because they’re still dealing with the smoke.”

Of course, there is no mention of the fire on RCCL’s website–where they are busy selling cruises–but RCCL did send out the following Tweet yesterday:

#Splendour of the Seas update: All systems functional 1 guest, 19 crew treated for smoke inhalation and released. 1 crew still being treated.


Fires on cruise ships happen more frequently than most would imagine.  Last month alone, fires were reported on two Carnival Cruise ships, the Carnival Pride and the Carnival Liberty.  And of course in July there was the terrifying fire aboard RCCL’s Freedom of the Seas that was captured by passengers and posted on Youtube in this graphic video: 

[youtube id=”fPglWMGBnhM” align=”center”]

RCCL states on its website that all of their ships are equipped with “advanced fire detection  and suppressions systems.”  However, most cruise ship safety experts will tell you that the best way to treat a fire on a cruise ship is to prevent one from ever occurring.


All modern cruise ships must comply with international fire safety regulations and must be built with special firewalls to contain fires from spreading across a ship. Fixtures such as furniture, carpeting, and drapes should be fire retardant as well.  

In addition to the United States Coast Guard, which regularly inspects ships that dock at US Ports, non-governmental entities called classification societies provide inspections and regulations for how cruise ships are built.  Today there are more than 50 classification societies that serve the international shipping industry by regulating marine vessels ranging from cruise ships to submarines to oil rigs.  The primary role of the societies is to classify the individual cruise ships and validate their design and specifications in accordance with published standards.  They also carry out periodic surveys to ensure that the ships continue to meet those standards.

The country or flag state a ship is registered under will determine which classification society will be required to survey and classify a given ship.  Members of a given society perform the ship inspections.  Often the members consist of maritime ship surveyors, mechanical engineers, material engineers, piping engineers, and electrical engineers. If the ship passes the society’s inspection, the  society will issue a class certification that verifies compliance with the appropriate design and safety standards.


When we investigate a slip, trip, or fall aboard a cruise ship, especially in areas on board that we believe are inherently dangerous–such as raised thresholds separating passenger cabins from the bathrooms, steeply designed stair cases, or slippery Lido or Pool decks–we obtain the class certification information for the particular ship and verify whether or not the cruise line is in fact in compliance with the prescribed specifications.

Our cruise ship injury lawyers are passionate about holding cruise lines like Royal, Carnival, Celebrity, Norwegian, Princess, Holland America, and Disney responsible for passenger injuries when they occur because of the cruise line’s putting its profits ahead of passenger safety.  Many of the accidents we see could have been avoided easily with better signage, lighting, or by simply eliminating the dangerous condition altogether.


If you have been hurt during your cruise, you should consult immediately with an experienced cruise ship lawyer, who knows how to fight hard for you.  Cruise lines today control more money and power than many countries; they are billion-dollar international corporations.

Successfully suing a cruise line for a personal injury will require in most cases that your claim be filed in Federal Court in Miami–regardless of where in the world you may live or where the accident happened–within one year of the date of the incident.  Valuable evidence like the CCTV footage of your fall, witnesses’ names, and memories fade with time. We urge you to call today to enhance your potential to win your case and receive the compensation you may be entitled to–for pain and suffering, lost wages, and medical expenses, not to mention the cost of your cruise.

We offer free initial consultations by phone at1-866-597-4529 or email at [email protected] Call today and speak with an experienced maritime personal injury lawyer.  We are here to help you.

Call Now Button