Carnival Freedom Catches Fire Again; This Time While Sailing

On Saturday March 23, 2024, at approximately 3:15 p.m. EDT, a fire was reported on the port side of Carnival Freedom’s exhaust funnel. The ship was 20 miles off the coast of the Bahamas and she was making her way to Freeport. As of 5:20pm, the fire was extinguished and there were no reports of injuries.

Passengers on board reported the possibility of a lightning strike being the cause of the fire. Carnival referred to this in their initial statement Saturday and again via an update on Sunday, however, a full investigation into the cause continues.

We recorded a quick update and provide more details about this incident and a previous one below.

Déjà Vu?

If you’re thinking this seems like déjà vu, it’s because this isn’t the first time a Carnival funnel has caught fire. On Thursday, May 26, 2022, the exact same ship – Carnival Freedom – made international headlines when her funnel caught fire as she was pulling into Grand Turk. The dramatic footage of flames shooting out of the funnel while crew members attempted to put it out went viral.

Thankfully, once again, no one was injured and all guests were able to debark in Grand Turk where they waited for another Carnival ship – sister Carnival Conquest – to bring them back to Port Canaveral.

While the cruise was originally scheduled to end on Saturday, May 28, Conquest didn’t arrive to Grand Turk until Saturday and guests arrived back to Port Canaveral on Monday, May 30.

For those guests who purchased Wifi and Cheers!, Carnival extended their packages through the cruise at no cost and all guests received $100 OBC per stateroom and 50% Future Cruise Credit.

This time, however, the ship has been stabilized and will return to Port Canaveral to allow passengers to debark on Monday as originally planned.

Carnival Freedom Cancelled Cruises and Refunds

Like last time, the ship is being taken out of service. According to Carnival Brand Ambassador John Heald,

regrettably, the damage is more than we first thought and will require an immediate repair to stabilize the funnel, resulting in the cancellation of the March 25 and March 30 cruises from Port Canaveral.

Guests on those affected sailings will receive a full refund and 100% Future Cruise Credit they can apply to another Carnival sailing.

If Carnival can indeed make the needed repairs in the 2 week timeframe, it would be a reduced down time for the ship. The first time Carnival Freedom caught fire, she was out of commission for a full 3 weeks.

Carnival Freedom Fire Investigation

Heald shared that Carnival continues to investigate the cause, once again referencing a possible lightning strike. The cruise operator likely hopes they’ll be able to point to lightning versus yet another fire caused by their own operation of the ship.

However, if it truly is the case of a lightning strike, does that mean every ship faces the same risk? It seems awfully coincidental that it just happened to be the same ship. Whatever the cause, we hope that fixes can be made to ensure this never happens again.

New Funnel Just Installed

The saddest part? Carnival Freedom just emerged from dry dock in October with a brand new funnel after sailing for 17 months with a trimmed down version of the iconic whale tail. It’s not like Carnival exactly keeps these things in stock, so we expect the Carnival Freedom to once again return to service with a modified version of that whale tail.

Stay Tuned for More Updates

We’ll continue to share updates in the coming days and weeks. If you’re not already, be sure to subscribe to our YouTube channel and follow us on Twitter where we post cruise news updates regularly.

Wishing everyone on board the Carnival Freedom a safe journey back to Port Canaveral. As a ship we love, we hope that Carnival figures out why this keeps happening to this wonderful Conquest-class ship.

Carnival Freedom Catches Fire Again; This Time While Sailing
Photo of Carnival Freedom taken January 12, 2024 in Nassau, Bahamas

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