Star Princess Returns!

May 16, 2006
Princess Cruises' Star Princess, which spent more than six weeks at a German shipyard after a now-notorious fire that peeled balconies off the ship's structure, has returned to service. The ship, as had been announced, returned to service yesterday, departing from Copenhagen on a ten-night Baltic cruise.

The fire took place on March 23 as the ship was sailing between Grand Cayman and Montego Bay, and resulted in the cancellation of five Caribbean cruises and one Atlantic crossing. It also has spurred the industry, via the International Maritime Organization, to begin discussions about implementing new safety measures relating to cruise ship balconies. It is believed that the fire originated on one of the ship's balconies.

Editor's Note: Onboard Royal Caribbean's Freedom of the Seas this weekend, cruise line president Adam Goldstein told assembled reporters that as a first step the line, along with others in the industry, was beginning to inventory balcony furnishings and that changes would be made (with regard to flammable materials) where necessary.

As far as Star Princess was concerned, one passenger died (later, of a heart attack) and 13 were injured. Damage was extensive; 79 cabins were destroyed and another 204 were damaged by either smoke or water.

The 109,000-ton, 2,600-passenger Star Princess will spend the summer sailing 10- and 15-night Baltic cruises before repositioning back to the U.S. for an autumnal round of Canada/New England itineraries from New York's Red Hook terminal in Brooklyn.