(CNN) — A voice on the intercom woke Danielle Miller and told her to put on her life jacket and run to a deck. Not knowing what the emergency was, she nervously woke up her roommate and did just that.
The emergency, as she and other passengers would learn, was a fire that started in the rear of Royal Caribbean’s Grandeur of the Seas cruise ship about 2:50 a.m. Monday while it was heading to the Bahamas, sending guests to the decks under the night sky.
Though it never lost power, the ship was diverted to Freeport in the Bahamas, and the fire, which began in a mooring area, was extinguished just before 5 a.m., the company said.
The ship’s 2,224 guests and 796 crew members initially were headed to CocoCay, Bahamas, but the ship was redirected to Freeport for evaluation, Royal Caribbean said.
Miller said it was a scary race topside.
“We probably ran up to that deck faster than we ever ran before,” Miller said by phone from Freeport on Monday afternoon, a few hours after the ship docked. “We were terrified, though, and a lot of people were just crying and freaking out.”
Two guests were treated after fainting, and medical staff also responded to reports of high blood pressure and an ankle sprain, Royal Caribbean said.
Without giving away too much about the plot of Topaz, the sixth manuscript in my catalog and my current focus, I’ll say that one of the most important events of the story involves a fire aboard a commercial cruise liner. I started writing it two and a half years ago, before all of these stories about Carnival Cruise passengers stranded at sea and the capsizing of the Costa Concordia broke into mainstream news. Then, all of the sudden, a bunch of these stories start making headlines, and my first reaction is, “Crap, now my audience (assuming I ever have one) is going to think I ripped off these current events.” While I still worry about that a tiny bit, it’s not nearly as bad as before for two very important reasons: 1) There will never be anything worse than Steven King’s readers thinking he stole the idea for Under the Dome from The Simpsons Movie, and 2) these news stories have been immensely helpful for my research.
I feel bad for the folks in the story above, but they’ve got it a lot better than those in Topaz — sorry, I’m not saying more right now. Sure, their vacations are cut a bit short, but they get their entire cruise refunded AND get coupons for a future cruise. There were no deaths, and now everyone on board has an interesting story to tell. Get over it.