Some 2,224 passengers aboard the Royal Caribbean ship the Grandeur of the Seas had an unexpected scare yesterday when a fire broke out at the rear of the ship in the early morning hours.
Despite the alarming circumstances, the Grandeur’s crew responded calmly and swiftly, according to passengers. After a ship-wide announcement from the captain that guests were to go to their muster stations, staff reportedly knocked on doors to ensure compliance and quickly provided instruction. Reports stated that passengers were offered bottled water, baby formula and assistance with young children.
Fortunately for all involved, the fire was extinguished in about two hours with no reported injuries to guests or crew. The ship was able to continue into port at Freeport, Bahamas, later that afternoon. After departing the ship, passengers were met by Royal Caribbean International President and CEO Adam Goldstein and other executives.
Royal Caribbean’s crisis response moved just as quickly and smoothly off-site as well. The company issued a statement of apology to its guests on Monday evening, and announced on its website and social media today that all passengers would receive full refunds, flights home and certificates for a future cruise.
The cruise line appeared to have a well-established crisis communications plan in place, both aboard the ship and in its corporate office. Royal Caribbean was transparent and apologetic in its response, and made information quickly and easily accessible. Having the CEO personally address the crisis on-site also communicated to customers that the company was clearly taking the situation seriously.
Despite the unfortunate incident, Royal Caribbean seems to have learned from the mistakes of others in the industry over the last few years and handled the PR crisis quite well.