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danceman

Fire on Noordam at 3.10am

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Just got back from 11 night med cruise on Noordam. On the 25th August we got to bed at 1.30am after putting our luggage out for the last collection at 1.00am

On the last night of the cruise, at 3.10am the fire alarm sounded while we were fast asleep in our cabin. We didnt actually realise it was the fire alarm as we were disorientated and sleepy initially but then the officer of the watch came over the speaker in our cabin to say that a fire had been located on deck 3 aft and that fire crews were being dispatched and to remain calm. We have been on over 100 cruises and have never had this happen before so we felt it must be serious to have made the announcement in the middle of the night.

We were on deck 6 aft....so the fire was below us!....i went out onto our balcony to see if i could see any signs of a fire....there were several other people out on their balconies also looking around...couldnt see any fire...we were still sailing at normal speed...it was a dark night with the sea rushing past below.

15 minutes later the captain came on over the speaker to say there was indeed a fire in the incinerator room which had not yet spread to the passenger areas....that we are to remain calm and await further updates.

My stomach turned over and i felt rather sick at this announcement and i had visions of us getting into the lifeboats. I opened our cabin door and there were several other people also looking down the corridor and some were walking/running wearing life jackets!

Two of our children were in a cabin with an aunt at the other end of the ship (she had them dressed and in their life jackets by this time...they were frightened)

We remained in our cabins although others went to the life boats.

After approx another 30/40 minutes the captain came back on to say that the fire had been put out and that fire crews would stay in the vicinity for a while to make sure it was safe, and that we could now go back to bed!

Needless to say....none of us got any sleep after this.

It was a frightening experience and spoilt the end of our cruise. There was no announcement next morning or apology.

We spent our next day in Rome as we had booked a hotel so we could do some sightseeing before flying home but we were so tired and exhausted this day was spoilt.

In relation to some other cruise horror stories and the costa concordia sinking this is nothing of course....but all the same it was still very frightening and upsetting to us all.

Should i make a complaint or just thank our lucky stars it wasnt worse?

Edited by danceman

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Just got back from 11 night med cruise on Noordam. We got to bed at 1.30am after putting our luggage out for the last collection at 1.00am

On the last night of the cruise, at 3.10am the fire alarm sounded while we were fast asleep in our cabin. We didnt actually realise it was the fire alarm as we were disorientated and sleepy initially but then the officer of the watch came over the speaker in our cabin to say that a fire had been located on deck 3 aft and that fire crews were being dispatched and to remain calm. We have been on over 100 cruises and have never had this happen before so we felt it must be serious to have made the announcement in the middle of the night.

We were on deck 6 aft....so the fire was below us!....i went out onto our balcony to see if i could see any signs of a fire....there were several other people out on their balconies also looking around...couldnt see any fire...we were still sailing at normal speed...it was a dark night with the sea rushing past below.

15 minutes later the captain came on over the speaker to say there was indeed a fire in the incinerator room which had not yet spread to the passenger areas....that we are to remain calm and await further updates.

My stomach turned over and i felt rather sick at this announcement and i had visions of us getting into the lifeboats. I opened our cabin door and there were several other people also looking down the corridor and some were walking/running wearing life jackets!

Two of our children were in a cabin with an aunt at the other end of the ship (she had them dressed and in their life jackets by this time...they were frightened)

We remained in our cabins although others went to the life boats.

After approx another 30/40 minutes the captain came back on to say that the fire had been put out and that fire crews would stay in the vicinity for a while to make sure it was safe, and that we could now go back to bed!

Needless to say....none of us got any sleep after this.

It was a frightening experience and spoilt the end of our cruise. There was no announcement next morning or apology.

We spent our next day in Rome as we had booked a hotel so we could do some sightseeing before flying home but we were so tired and exhausted this day was spoilt.

In relation to some other cruise horror stories and the costa concordia sinking this is nothing of course....but all the same it was still very frightening and upsetting to us all.

Should i make a complaint or just thank our lucky stars it wasnt worse?

 

We have been on three cruises in the past four years where there was a fire alarm. Twice it was in the incinerator room and the other time, an electrical short in the Lido. The last alert was I believe in May on the Zuiderdam, as we were woken up about 4 AM.

 

It has become a common occurrence for us on our Alaska sailings.:eek:

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Sorry to hear about your expierence. Just be glad it was contained and you could go back to sleep, even though you didn't. Why would you complain, just because you lost some sleep? I had that happen at a hotel once, never through of complaining, just glad it didn't turn out worse. Yes, thank your lucky stars!:)

Hope the rest of your cruise was good.:)

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We had a fire alarm on our first cruise ever Alaska Westerdam. Not sure what they are to "apologize" for. Scary.. yes... happy that it wasn't worse... YES! Sh*t happens...

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Why would you make a complaint? To me it sounds like it was handled in a very calm fashion with the Captain keeping you informed at all stages. Ship happens :D

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Complain?

 

You rather should send a letter thanking the crew for their quick action that saved any emergency action from passengers.

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Definitely an unsettling event at the best of times, but in the middle of the night with children and other family members at the other end of the ship, it must have been particularly scary for you.

 

On the positive side, it appears that the Captain and crew handled the incident in a professional manner and were able to contain the fire. I'm not sure what the nature of any complaint might be, but I'd suggest that you give it a week or two to reconsider taking any action. That would also give HAL the opportunity to write to passengers should they be planning to do so.

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The ONLY complaint you might have is not having a little more communication - 30 to 40 minutes from the initial captains announcement does seem a little long. We have had fire alarms on 3 of our cruises and we had the all clear within 5 minutes so I can see waiting 30 to 40 minutes for an update would seem rather long.

 

The HAL crew drills weekly for fires and does an excellent job on keep us as safe as possible.

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Sorry you experienced this but IMO, I'd say thank you to a well trained crew who protected guests, crew and ship. Of course, very happy to hear in the end, all were safe.

 

Would you share some comments about your cruise? Hope you had a wonderful time.

 

Welcome Back.

 

Edited by sail7seas

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The ONLY complaint you might have is not having a little more communication - 30 to 40 minutes from the initial captains announcement does seem a little long. We have had fire alarms on 3 of our cruises and we had the all clear within 5 minutes so I can see waiting 30 to 40 minutes for an update would seem rather long.

 

The HAL crew drills weekly for fires and does an excellent job on keep us as safe as possible.

 

On my first cruise on the Eurodam in 2008, there was a fire in the laundry room about 9:00 pm one night. It was about half an hour to 40 minutes before the all clear was sounded. Sometimes it takes a bit longer to get everything under control than you might think. I found out later the ship was seconds away from having everyone board lifeboats, but thankfully everything was resolved.

 

I don't think that 40 minutes is unreasonable to get a fire in the incinerator under control and have the all clear issued. Yes, we would all like it to be immediate, but the thing to remember is that everyone is safe. It might have been an inconvenience and the original poster might have lost a day exploring in Rome, but everyone is safe. That's the important thing.

 

To the original poster: WHY WOULD YOU COMPLAIN? Yes, it was an inconvenience, but do you think the ship PLANNED to have a fire in the middle of the night? What do you think the ship could have done differently, other than not having the fire in the first place? What would complaining get you? What do you want from the complaint? How could HAL make you whole?

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Too bad OP was wakened by the fire alarm. The fact that the officer of the deck passed the word about what was happening - asking passengers to stay calm, followed by the captain's subsequent announcement - again asking passengers to remain calm, followed by the follow-up announcement that all was secure and passengers should go back to bed - all indicates that the ship's company were responding appropriately and were keeping passengers advised. Just what would OP have done differently? Is it HAL's fault that some passengers did not remain calm - as had been repeatedly requested?

 

Just curious : what would be the grounds for complaint?

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Should i make a complaint or just thank our lucky stars it wasnt worse?

 

Somehow I missed the last sentence in your post. I agree with others, why would you complain? If you write a letter, I suggest you thank the Captain and staff for keeping you safe and informed about this incident. The Captain was probably asleep too, but he has the responsibility of keeping his guests and crew safe twenty four hours a day.

 

It does show that the crew are working around the clock so the guests can have a wonderful cruise experience.

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I am glad you were alerted. I am also glad the fire was put out. Glad all were safe.

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Sorry to hear that you experienced a fire alarm during the night.

 

We had a similar experience during a Trans Pacific cruise, on board the Volendam, being woken by the fire siren 1.10 am, the officer of the watch and the Captain kept passengers fully informed of the situation(fire in the incinerator), some passengers dressed, put on life jackets, and gathered in the hallways even though the Captain had asked passengers to remain in their cabins.

The fire was promptly dealt with, then the Captain wished everyone a good night's sleep.

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I can't believe you would even consider complaining about a fire onboard; it isn't something that is planned. I'd complain if there was one that wasn't taken care of! You were in good hands, had a Captain who kept you informed, perhaps as he was made aware of the situation, and he got you to your destination on time, with the ship intact. Better to be a little shy on sleep, than to have to disembark in the middle of the night into a lifeboat! I can only imagine how tired the Captain and crew were the following day, as they had to disembark the passengers, welcome new folks onboard and start all over again, looking fresh and happy as always.

 

Smooth Sailing! :) :) :)

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It was a frightening experience and spoilt the end of our cruise. There was no announcement next morning or apology.

We spent our next day in Rome as we had booked a hotel so we could do some sightseeing before flying home but we were so tired and exhausted this day was spoilt.

In relation to some other cruise horror stories and the costa concordia sinking this is nothing of course....but all the same it was still very frightening and upsetting to us all.

Should i make a complaint or just thank our lucky stars it wasnt worse?

 

1. YOU ARE NOT OWED AN APOLOGY!

2. Too bad your next day was "spoiled" because you were tired. Have you stopped to consider the fact that you may NOT have had a NEXT day? :eek:

3. What do you have to complain about? So you lost some sleep during a tense situation..... deal. :(

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1. YOU ARE NOT OWED AN APOLOGY!

2. Too bad your next day was "spoiled" because you were tired. Have you stopped to consider the fact that you may NOT have had a NEXT day? :eek:

3. What do you have to complain about? So you lost some sleep during a tense situation..... deal. :(

Well said. (CC really needs a "like" button.)

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1. YOU ARE NOT OWED AN APOLOGY!

2. Too bad your next day was "spoiled" because you were tired. Have you stopped to consider the fact that you may NOT have had a NEXT day? :eek:

3. What do you have to complain about? So you lost some sleep during a tense situation..... deal. :(

Well, I think that is reasonable to ask the tripulation to be careful not to star fires in first place.

It seems to me that HAL happens to have much more fire related incidents that other companies of similar size, and a lot of them in crew areas, which are fully under their control and responsibility. They seem to be very professional and well trained to stop the fire, but when something like that happens there should be apologies, as it was a dangerous situation entirely caused by them.

It's the same as when there is a fault in a motor for example, I understand that they don't broke it just to inconvenience me, but if it impacts the schedule, I think we are owed an apology.

This is my personnal opinion, I think a fire onboard is a serious issue no matter how professionally you deal with it. The problem is not with the response, but with the cause.

 

Sorry if there are mistakes, english is not my mother tongue.

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We were on the Noordam on that cruise also.

 

I agree with the OP regarding most of what he says.

 

I don't have an issue with the fire itself and how it was handled, although, I do tend to agree with what some say here in that there seems to be far too many incidents. You don't hear of fires this often on other cruise lines from what I read. Yes, some, but not as often.

 

Also, a bad aspect of this incident for me was not being given any mention of this before disembarkation. I still think that's very bad form.

 

My more major concern is in relation to people leaving their staterooms whilst being told to stay in their cabin. Most of the corridor next to us left wearing life jackets. I'm not talking about a couple of people, a good few. Minutes later when I looked out into the corriodor again, a crew member told me to stay inside, but HE was wearing his life jacket also!

 

We were on deck 4 and had a balcony overlooking the Promenade Deck. People were congregating wearing life jackets. It was all quite confusing, compounded by being dark of course.

 

I wonder why the crew allowed people to leave the rooms with life jackets. Is there a policy on this, when having been instructed NOT to do that.

 

I myself felt....should I stay in or go? As it was, I stayed, but it would not have taken much more for me to go too, given the mixed messages and actions.

 

I think HAL should at least apologise for not acknowledging the incident the following morning, if for no other reasons than to reassure and also apologise for the many who may likely been frightened and could not sleep afterwards.

 

I totally understand that safety and security is the number one priority, but after that there is still the important aspects of good customer service and even just a little common sense maybe.

 

So JULIA...the apology is not specifically that the fire occurred. It's simply a recognition of lack of rest, being frightened and providing a little reassurance. I also find your blunt tone rude, but everyone to their own. You weren't present.

Edited by richardukcruise

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People do not seem to understand the difference between the "fire is under control" and the fire is out! the reason for taking what seems an eternity to stand people down is not just to make sure the fire is out but also to make sure that it does not re ignite.

 

As people have already said there is no reason for complaint it appears the ship crew did what they had to do in order to extinguish the fire, had you arrived in port late and missed a flight then that would be a different matter.

 

Put it down to experience and on any future cruises maybe try and get cabins closer together at least that will lessen some of the anxiety of the kids being further away.

 

One thing i would say is do you have a fire action plan at home should there ever be a fire? if not make one with an escape route, if you have any worries about it contact the local Fire station who will be only to happy to come out and discuss it with you and if need be fit smoke alarms .... :) even on a cruise ship or hotel stay you should consider having an escape plan just in case.

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Well, I think that is reasonable to ask the tripulation to be careful not to star fires in first place.

It seems to me that HAL happens to have much more fire related incidents that other companies of similar size, and a lot of them in crew areas, which are fully under their control and responsibility. They seem to be very professional and well trained to stop the fire, but when something like that happens there should be apologies, as it was a dangerous situation entirely caused by them.

It's the same as when there is a fault in a motor for example, I understand that they don't broke it just to inconvenience me, but if it impacts the schedule, I think we are owed an apology.

This is my personnal opinion, I think a fire onboard is a serious issue no matter how professionally you deal with it. The problem is not with the response, but with the cause.

 

Sorry if there are mistakes, english is not my mother tongue.

 

Not to alarm anyone further, but fires onboard are a fairly common occurrence. It's just that the guests are usually unaware of them. When a fire is reported to the bridge, a "code" announcement will go out to the crew, and the emergency teams will muster and attend to the emergency/fire. There will be an "on scene commander" (generally the Staff Chief Engineer or Chief Officer) who will advise the Captain whether the situation is serious enough to warrant sounding the alarm and mustering the guests. Many fires are dealt with before even all of the fire teams have arrived on scene, and then things return to normal. I'm a bit surprised that an incinerator fire was announced that quickly, but the 30-40 minutes between the alarm and the Captain's announcement would be normal, as the fire teams need time to determine if the seat of the fire has been extinguished, and to check for hot spots to prevent re-flashing of the fire.

 

Other than perhaps having the Captain apologize for waking all the guests in the middle of the night (as a courtesy), there is nothing to apologize for. To say that the crew should be "careful not to start fires in the first place" denigrates the company's policies and the crew's training (in fire prevention as well as fire fighting). Trust me when I say that the crew is far, far, more concerned with fire prevention onboard than the guests are, because the crew lives onboard for longer than the week the guests are there, and because the crew are the ones who will be on the business end of the fire hose facing the flames if a fire breaks out.

 

To say that HAL has many fires in crew areas "that are under their control", and this shows that they are somehow negligent is false. The reason there are fewer fires in guest areas is because the lines try to remove as many possible sources of fire as they can, yet they still allow hair care appliances and smoking, which are the two most common sources of fire in guest areas.

 

Let me explain about incinerator fires. Every day, the ship generates about 6-10 m3 (cubic meters) of paper and cardboard trash. This is shredded and stored in a silo until the ship gets underway, and the incinerator can be started at sea to burn all this trash. The crew is very conscious about trash sorting, and go through everything they take from your cabin wastebaskets (and their own, and all other trash receptacles) to ensure that not only is as much as possible recycled, but that no metal is left in the paper trash. This metal, when sent through the shredder, can spark, and this spark falls on a fine source of flammable material, the shredded paper in the silo. I have seen a silo fire caused by a single AA battery going through the shredder. This spark will ignite some of the paper, but as more paper is shredded and dumped on top of the smolder, it gets buried, and waits. At night, when the incinerator is being run, the smolder will gradually work its way towards the air as the shredded paper is dropped into the incinerator. This is when the smolder bursts into flame, and there is a fire in the silo. This will set off the fire alarm, and there are fire suppression means built into the silo to fight the fire. However, the fire teams will still need to open the silo doors, and using thermal cameras rake through the shredded paper looking for remaining hot spots before the all clear will happen. This can take a while.

 

Yes, fire at sea is a serious business. I've been at sea for 40 years, and seen my share. Yes, fire prevention is the most important aspect of fire fighting, and the crews are probably more aware of fire prevention than anything else in their shipboard life. To those of you who are asking for an apology from the line for the fire happening, would you expect an apology from them if the fire had started in a passenger cabin from a cigarette butt in a trash can?

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Not to alarm anyone further, but fires onboard are a fairly common occurrence. It's just that the guests are usually unaware of them. When a fire is reported to the bridge, a "code" announcement will go out to the crew, and the emergency teams will muster and attend to the emergency/fire. There will be an "on scene commander" (generally the Staff Chief Engineer or Chief Officer) who will advise the Captain whether the situation is serious enough to warrant sounding the alarm and mustering the guests. Many fires are dealt with before even all of the fire teams have arrived on scene, and then things return to normal. I'm a bit surprised that an incinerator fire was announced that quickly, but the 30-40 minutes between the alarm and the Captain's announcement would be normal, as the fire teams need time to determine if the seat of the fire has been extinguished, and to check for hot spots to prevent re-flashing of the fire.

 

Other than perhaps having the Captain apologize for waking all the guests in the middle of the night (as a courtesy), there is nothing to apologize for. To say that the crew should be "careful not to start fires in the first place" denigrates the company's policies and the crew's training (in fire prevention as well as fire fighting). Trust me when I say that the crew is far, far, more concerned with fire prevention onboard than the guests are, because the crew lives onboard for longer than the week the guests are there, and because the crew are the ones who will be on the business end of the fire hose facing the flames if a fire breaks out.

 

To say that HAL has many fires in crew areas "that are under their control", and this shows that they are somehow negligent is false. The reason there are fewer fires in guest areas is because the lines try to remove as many possible sources of fire as they can, yet they still allow hair care appliances and smoking, which are the two most common sources of fire in guest areas.

 

Let me explain about incinerator fires. Every day, the ship generates about 6-10 m3 (cubic meters) of paper and cardboard trash. This is shredded and stored in a silo until the ship gets underway, and the incinerator can be started at sea to burn all this trash. The crew is very conscious about trash sorting, and go through everything they take from your cabin wastebaskets (and their own, and all other trash receptacles) to ensure that not only is as much as possible recycled, but that no metal is left in the paper trash. This metal, when sent through the shredder, can spark, and this spark falls on a fine source of flammable material, the shredded paper in the silo. I have seen a silo fire caused by a single AA battery going through the shredder. This spark will ignite some of the paper, but as more paper is shredded and dumped on top of the smolder, it gets buried, and waits. At night, when the incinerator is being run, the smolder will gradually work its way towards the air as the shredded paper is dropped into the incinerator. This is when the smolder bursts into flame, and there is a fire in the silo. This will set off the fire alarm, and there are fire suppression means built into the silo to fight the fire. However, the fire teams will still need to open the silo doors, and using thermal cameras rake through the shredded paper looking for remaining hot spots before the all clear will happen. This can take a while.

 

Yes, fire at sea is a serious business. I've been at sea for 40 years, and seen my share. Yes, fire prevention is the most important aspect of fire fighting, and the crews are probably more aware of fire prevention than anything else in their shipboard life. To those of you who are asking for an apology from the line for the fire happening, would you expect an apology from them if the fire had started in a passenger cabin from a cigarette butt in a trash can?

 

I think it's fairly flippant and a huge assumption to state that....

 

"Trust me when I say that the crew is far, far, more concerned with fire prevention onboard than the guests are, because the crew lives onboard for longer than the week the guests are there, and because the crew are the ones who will be on the business end of the fire hose facing the flames if a fire breaks out."

 

I don't really think it's relevant at all. The vast majority of people are concerned about fire and danger to some degree. Training and awareness aside, some crew will be less or more bothered, as will some passengers.

 

Also, when you describe the removal of items that may spark, that alarms me! If I thought this was all done manually and relied on a person, no wonder there is an increased risk of spark/fire. Seems to me like a fundamentally flawed system. I realize HAL are trying to be environmentally friendly, but dare I suggest that it may be better to process this waste off ship. Just a thought.

 

And yes, if the fire was caused by the cigarette example, I would still expect an apology. Not for the fire. For the distress. A little good customer service, that's all. It makes some of us feel a little for at ease with a situation that we found distressing.

Edited by richardukcruise

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Sorry that this happened to you.

We have been on quite a few ships when a fire broke out. And all of them were on HAL.

The captains would come on and tell us what was happening every few minutes.

It is scary but nothing to complain about.

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My more major concern is in relation to people leaving their staterooms whilst being told to stay in their cabin. Most of the corridor next to us left wearing life jackets. I'm not talking about a couple of people, a good few. Minutes later when I looked out into the corriodor again, a crew member told me to stay inside, but HE was wearing his life jacket also!

 

The crew member was wearing his life jacket because that's what he is supposed to do when the emergency alert sounds. HE will not have time to go back to his designated area to get his life jacket in the event an abandon ship order is issued. HE has to be prepared for that event long before passengers need to be. Have you not watched the safety drills on board? The crew is prepared for their role in the emergency, and for most that means being ready to board lifeboats/liferafts at the start of the emergency, not the end. That crew member's job was to direct passengers to safety. He was wearing his lifejacket for the same reasons firefighters have oxygen and hardhats -- to be prepared and to have them before they are needed.

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