Those tedious welcome aboard safety drills do occasionally come in handy. Particularly late last week when passengers on Disney Magic got an unusual wake-up call: a fire alarm. Indeed, a fire atop one of the aft smokestacks occurred at approximately 4:30am while the ship was about 200 miles northwest of San Juan, Puerto Rico en route from St. Thomas to Castaway Cay.
The 2,580 passengers aboard, 1,040 were children under 18, donned safety jackets though crew members managed to put the fire out in about an half-hour and three cruise ships were nearby, ready to assist if needed. Sometime after 6 a.m. passengers were allowed to return to their cabins instructed to stay off decks 9 and 10 for a brief time. The ship returned to Port Canaveral as planned on Saturday. The only damage? The smokestack buckled but with mostly cosmetic damage. All cosmetic repairs should be complete by the first week of May.
Passengers were granted $100 credit for the early wake-up and resulting inconvenience. At the final show of the cruise, Capt. Hans Mateboer was given a standing ovation by the crowd. He explained exactly what had happened and he brought all 100 firefighters out on stage to thundering applause.
The U.S. Coast Guard greeted Disney Magic at the port. Following a complete U.S. Coast Guard inspection, the ship was pronounced safe-to-sail though it departed for its next voyage 4 1/2 hours later than scheduled. The late departure was not all due to fire complications, the Navy had a training exercise in the area scheduled for 7pm and the Canaveral Port Authority held the Magic in port until 9:30pm.