Fire Reports on Grand Princess Overblown

April 1, 2008

Reports of a fire onboard Princess Cruises' Grand Princess as it departed from Jamaica's Ocho Rios yesterday afternoon were falsely reported in an island newspaper. According to a report in the Jamaica Gleaner, residents saw thick smoke billowing from the ship at about 4:20 p.m.

But a fire it wasn't, according to Princess spokeswoman Julie Benson.

"Upon departure from Ocho Rios yesterday, one of Grand Princess' engines suddenly stopped, emitting a large amount of smoke into the engine spaces. There was no fire, and the safety of the ship and our passengers was never compromised.

"This technical problem affected the ship's speed and caused it to arrive in its next port of call, Grand Cayman, approximately two hours late today. We expect the problem to be resolved prior to the ship departing Grand Cayman this afternoon."

The ship has arrived at Grand Cayman by now and port of call activities are underway as usual.

Speculation, running rampant in both online media outlets and on Cruise Critic boards, did address the fact that the report could have been an April Fool's Day "joke." Alas, it was not a misplaced effort of foolish silliness, just a case of sloppy reporting.

--by Carolyn Spencer Brown, Editor in Chief