Massive Nassau Fire Burns Block Near Cruise Port

February 15, 2011

(1:33 p.m. EST) -- A massive Monday morning fire on the Nassau waterfront has destroyed a number of buildings frequented by cruisers who pour into the busy Bahamas port on an almost daily basis.
Although early reports on our message boards suggested that visiting cruise ships -- including Disney Dream and Carnival Glory -- were not allowed to debark passengers, a Disney spokeswoman confirmed that passengers were indeed allowed to debark, just later than expected. A Carnival spokesman concurred that Glory also had a delayed debarkation but passengers were ultimately allowed to get off the ship at the Nassau cruise terminal.

Two Bahamas news outlets -- the Tribune and Bahama Islands Info -- reported that the fire started before 8 a.m. local time at the Betty K building on the waterfront and spread quickly to East and Bay Streets as the area is packed with buildings.
The latest update is that the fire has been completely extinguished. According to the Tribune, "Police estimate the entire block of buildings affected by the fire -- including the Bacardi building and the Green Parrot Crew Pub -- has been extensively damaged and is not salvageable." No serious injuries or deaths have been reported.
Disney spokeswoman Christi Erwin Donnan tells us that passengers were allowed to debark late, when the situation was safe, and the ship will stay in port until 7 p.m., longer than originally scheduled. Carnival Glory passengers also had a delayed debarkation. All cruise ships dock about a block away from the scene of the fire. "Officials [had] to reroute disembarkation in the interest of safety, but it did not prevent passengers from leaving their ships," says Ellen Wilson, spokeswoman for the Bahamas Ministry of Tourism.

Over the course of this week, Carnival, Disney, NCL and Royal Caribbean have ships scheduled to call in Nassau. Representatives for all four lines tell us no itinerary changes are planned for the week. Says Wilson, "Local businesses, including shopping, restaurants and excursions, continue to operate serving visitors along the pier and beyond."

We'll keep you posted.
-- by Erica Silverstein, Senior Editor