Update, 9:45 a.m.: At this point, Princess has nothing to report on the status of the fire that occured yesterday on Royal Princess as it pulled away from Port Said. So far the best source of information -- bless Twitter! -- is a series of posts (and some photos, one of which we've posted here) on Twitter from Greg Surratt, a passenger onboard. It's a don't-miss chronicle that you can find here.
(9:30 p.m. EDT) -- Royal Princess is returning to Port Said, Egypt, after a fire broke out in its engine room earlier today. According to the latest statement by Princess Cruises, the ship will remain in port Friday and Saturday so technical experts and regulatory authorities can fly in to inspect the engine. Royal Princess continues to operate on emergency power.
Passengers have been allowed to return to their staterooms, after remaining at their muster stations for several hours. The ship intends to make tours available for passengers during their extra two days in Port Said, Egypt, which is a three-hour drive from Cairo and the Pyramids of Giza.
Royal Princess' crew will assess the situation on Friday, but the full assessment by the experts won't take place until Saturday. Once the engines are thoroughly inspected, Princess will be able to inform passengers of how the remainder of this cruise, and possibly future sailings, will be affected. The cruise line will also decide what compensation to offer passengers at this time.
The statement concludes, "We understand this is a disappointing development, and we apologize for the disruption to our passengers' cruise. We will be keeping our passengers fully informed throughout this process and we deeply appreciate their patience and understanding."
We'll keep you posted on further developments.
--by Erica Silverstein, Senior Editor
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Princess Assessing Damage From Royal Princess Fire
June 19, 2009