Princess' Latest Update Offers Few Clues

March 26, 2006

(5:20 p.m.) -- Princess released a statement today that essentially offers nothing new about the fire that engulfed some 100-plus cabins onboard Star Princess earlier this week, although the cruise line does now say that the ship will not leave Montego Bay today as was announced. Instead, Star Princess will spend the weekend docked in Jamaica while authorities from the United Kingdom, Bermuda and the United States work to assess damage and determine cause.

It's anticipated that most passengers will have been flown home by tomorrow, though many are still housed either at land resorts or onboard.

While most of the onboard facilities are operational, according to a Princess spokeswoman, the mid-ship's pool is closed, a fact which will surprise no one who's seen the famous photo of the scorched ship.

At this point, there's absolutely no word on future cruises beyond the fact that this weekend's departure has been cancelled. "Because the investigation is in the early stage, we do not have any information about the cause of the fire at this point," reads the Princess statement. Nevertheless, the issue is of concern to numerous passengers. Cruise Critic member cruisingmen reports that "last night, a Princess representative would only confirm that the March 26 sailing was cancelled and reservation staffers did not have a timeline as to when they would make the decision on the April 2 sailing. He then asked me if I had seen the pictures. I said that I had, and he said to use common sense based on seeing the pictures. Probably his own opinion, but it sure did sound like he was suggesting that the April 2 sailing would likely be cancelled."

And here's a warning, continues cruisingmen: "He did say that if we cancelled before they 'officially' cancelled, we would lose all of our money (seven people, three balcony cabins...can't afford to walk away from that kind of money!). However, if they did cancel, we'd get a full refund, plus 25% toward a future cruise, plus out-of-pocket expenses. Hope they make a decision soon, because other options are disappearing quickly. He did confirm that all Princess cruises in April were now waitlisted."

Cruise Critic's news team will be checking in through the weekend in case of updates -- and we encourage you to help us out as well by dropping a note to if you have information to add.