Cruise Ship Catches Fire Due to Potential Lightning Strike

( – Two Carnival cruises, scheduled to depart from Port Canaveral, Florida, on March 25th and March 29th, were canceled after a March 23rd fire aboard a Carnival Cruise Line ship.

While sailing 20 miles off Eleuthera Island, Bahamas, the Carnival Freedom caught fire, with witnesses stating it appeared the ship was struck by lightning while sailing through bad weather. The fire started on the port side of the Carnival Freedom’s exhaust funnel around 3:15 p.m., with a portion of the funnel crumbling onto the deck. According to a statement from Carnival, the fire was extinguished by 5:20 p.m., and the funnel was stabilized temporarily, allowing the ship to return to Port Canaveral, where guests could disembark. The Carnival Freedom then went to the Freeport shipyard as the ship required an “immediate repair to stabilize the funnel.”

No injuries to the guests were reported, with an estimated 3,700 passengers aboard the ship at the time of the fire. However, two firefighting crew members received treatment after suffering minor smoke inhalation.

Video footage was posted to Facebook by passenger Heath Barnes, who said in a statement to TMX that he heard “the loudest thunder and lightning” before heading back to his cabin, where he learned the ship was on fire. He said he saw “flames and smoke” that were “pouring out of the tail.”

Carnival offered customers affected by the two cancellations a 100 percent “future cruise credit” and a full refund.

This is the second time in two years that the Carnival Freedom’s funnel has caught fire. In May 2022, a fire broke out in the funnel area while the ship was docked in Grand Turk, causing the cancellation of three scheduled sailings while it underwent repairs at a Grand Bahama shipyard. There were no injuries reported. At the time of the fire, the Carnival Freedom had about 2,500 passengers and a crew of about 1,100 onboard, according to Carnival.

Copyright 2024,