Linda Harrison wasn’t prepared for her husband’s early Monday orders during the New Jersey couple's stay aboard the Royal Caribbean cruise ship Grandeur of the Seas.
The cruise ship veterans, who had embarked on 10 or 11 cruises over the years, were in for the ride of a lifetime over the next four hours after Don Harrison ordered his wife to “get up,” Philly.com reports.
“I jumped up, threw on a robe; we grabbed everything in the safe and life jackets and went to our muster station,” she said late Tuesday, a day after the cruise ship caught fire in the middle of the Caribbean.
The cause of the fire was not yet clear, cruise officials said Tuesday, as passengers returned to Baltimore on charter flights from the Bahamas, with many praising the response of the company and crew.
Linda Harrison said the crew and the captain remained very calm as passengers waitedcat emergency locations onboard.
“All the crew kept telling us was there’s nothing to worry about, all just a little fire,” she told the newspaper. “They actually made it sound like it was a cabin fire.”
The fire began at 2:50 a.m. Monday and was extinguished roughly two hours later, with no injuries reported. Photos depicted a substantial area of the stern burned on several decks of the ship the length of about three football fields.
At first, Linda Harrison tried keeping her 28-year-old daughter calm, but then she noticed lifeboats were being lowered.
“I thought I was going to throw up,” she said. “I could no longer console her because I needed someone to console me.”
Ultimately, the lifeboats were not needed and passengers were allowed to return to their cabins. The Harrisons then got a few hours of sleep before spending the day in Freeport, Bahamas. While walking along the pier on the island, Harrison finally got a glimpse of the damage.
“When we saw that, I’m telling you, my heart dropped,” she said.
Like other passengers on the ship, the Harrisons learned that Royal Caribbean would refund their cruise cost and give them another trip free of charge. The cruise line also paid for their flight home.
Although the event “dampened” the experience, Linda Harrison said she wouldn’t rule out a return to the high seas.
“We got four wonderful days,” she said.