Cruise Critic contributor Douglas Newman reports that British cruise enthusiasts woke up Saturday morning to the alarming news that Louis Cruise Lines' 11,162-ton The Calypso was experiencing a major engine room fire in the English Channel.
According to the BBC, Newman notes, the ship was about 20 miles south-west of Beachy Head in south-east England when it issued a Mayday call at around 4 a.m. Saturday (11 p.m. Eastern Standard Time on Friday). Carousel had left Tilbury, U.K. (London) earlier that evening en route to St. Peter Port, Guernsey.
The Calypso's 462 predominantly Dutch passengers boarded lifeboats in preparation to abandon ship, but the fire was successfully put out before this was necessary. Firefighters from the U.K.'s Maritime Incident Response Group were flown by helicopter to the ship and assisted the crew in extinguishing the blaze.
After the fire was extinguished, The Calypso was towed to Southampton by the Coastguard tug, arriving around 7:30 p.m. All passengers were safely disembarked from the ship upon her arrival at Southampton.
The ship was carrying 246 crew in addition to is passengers, many of whom were employees and staff of the Dutch travel agency Cruise Travel. The Calypso was originally built in 1967 as the ferry Canguro Verde, was converted by Regency Cruises to the cruise ship Regent Jewel in 1993 and has been operated by Louis since they bought her in 2000. It is not currently known what impact the fire will have on her future schedules.