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Carnival Freedom Cancels Two Sailings

Because of a possible lightning strike, Carnival Freedom’s whale tail funnel caught fire on Saturday afternoon, March 23, 2024, while sailing in stormy weather in the Bahamas. 

The ship was just about 20 miles off Eleuthera Island, Bahamas, on her way to Freeport–a replacement port since the cruise line had canceled a call to Princess Cay due to weather. The fire was reported just after 3:00 pm and the Coast Guard had been notified. 

Carnival’s statement on social media read, “There are no operational issues with the ship’s systems and the ship is expected to arrive to Freeport on Sunday morning. The captain has made multiple announcements to guests and crew and advised all but essential safety personnel to stay away from all open decks. There are no injuries. The port side portion of the funnel has fallen onto Deck 10 and the fire response is putting out the flames.”

At that time, Carnival said they did not expect the fire to impact the next voyage scheduled on Monday, March 25, 2024, from Port Canaveral. 

However, Carnival Cruise Line reached out to passengers the following day to inform them they were canceling two upcoming cruises from Port Canaveral. The sailings include the March 25, 2024 and March 30, 2024 departures to the Bahamas.

Carnival Cruise Line Brand Ambassador John Heald posted the following statement from the cruise line: 

Carnival Freedom experienced a fire in the port side of the exhaust funnel on Saturday.  Our onboard team acted quickly to contain and put out the fire.  While we continue to investigate multiple eyewitness reports of a lightning strike, our technical team completed a thorough assessment during the ship’s visit to Freeport today. 

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.”

The statement went on to say the funnel had been stabilized for the return to Port Canaveral to disembark guests. Carnival Freedom would then return to the Freeport shipyard in order to begin her repairs. The Conquest-class ship is expected to resume service for her next cruise to the Bahamas on April 4, 2024.

Booked guests on both canceled cruises are being given a full refund and a 100% future cruise credit.