The Crystal Harmony is in wetdock at the Curacao Drydock Company in Curacao undergoing repairs following a fire on October 1. According to a spokesperson for the cruise line, the fire, which occured at about 5 p.m. about 200 miles from Cristobal, was caused by leak in a fuel pipe in an auxiliary engine room and was contained to the engine room and a storage room. While the fire crippled the 960-passenger cruise ship, it was reportedly extinguished within an hour, and there were no injuries to passengers or the ship’s crew, and no damage to passenger decks.
The fire knocked out the ship’s propulsion system and left it dead in the water for nearly 16 hours without air-conditioning. Power was available for lights and fans, and eventually the ship was able to make it under its own power to Cristobal, where 920 passengers disembarked and were flown back to the United States.
Crystal Cruises had chartered three planes from Eastern Airlines, flying passengers to Seattle, Atlanta, and Los Angeles, where it also had arranged connecting flights.
Passengers were offered full refunds and $500 per person in credits for future cruises. Cruise line President Arthur Rodney reportedly handed over refund checks in person.
The October 7 and 17 sailings have also been cancelled and these passengers have been offered full refunds and a $250 credit for rebooked cruises.
While Lloyd’s Register has conducted a formal investigation, its report has not been made available. Crystal also invited the National Transportation Safety Board to observe the fire investigation, as it wanted to make a “positive case” for the industry.
The 49,000-ton ship was built by Mitsubishi’s Nagasaki yard in Japan.
The Curacao Drydock Company is the largest ship repair yard in the Caribbean and its drydock can service cruise ships with drafts up to 27 feet. In recent years, the company has serviced Cunard Line, Regency Cruise and Sun Line Cruise. This fall, two of Costa Cruises vessels were drydocked in Curacao.