Passengers back on land after Carnival Freedom catches fire at sea: 'Very scary'

Spring breakers are stranded, and cruisers are crushed after a Carnival cruise ship caught fire in the ocean over the weekend. 

The Carnival Freedom, a cruise ship based in Port Canaveral, made it back to land on Monday morning, but the rest of the ship’s sailings for the week were canceled because of the damage. 

Carnival is still investigating what caused the fire, but guests on board say they saw the ship struck by lightning on Saturday.

People disembarking the ship tell FOX 35 they’re thrilled to be back on land after going through a terrifying situation. 

"It was scary, very scary, fire on a cruise ship in the middle of the ocean," said passenger Jamie Eubanks. 

It sounds like a movie, but it really happened. On Saturday, people shared a video with FOX 35 as they watched in disbelief as flames and smoke engulfed an exhaust pipe on the ship.

"I’m kind of shaken up by this whole situation," added another passenger after he disembarked. 

"When the flames started, it took them about three hours to put it out," said Nicole, noticing how rocky the trip was back to port after the fire. 

Because of the fire, the top deck was closed for the rest of the trip, and cruisers didn’t get to visit all the ports they had planned for.


"Carnival got to step it up, man," said another passenger. 

FOX 35 asked the Moore family, visiting from Indiana, if they still wanted to cruise after the ordeal. First-time cruiser Brandon says, "Maybe a different kind of cruise, maybe not Carnival."

Carnival says the fire didn’t spread past the smokestack, but the damage was worse than they thought. The funnel has to be stabilized before it can sail again.

The next two trips are canceled because the car will be repaired in another country. This has left thousands of spring breakers stranded in Central Florida. 

"I didn’t expect our ship to get hit and start a fire," said Moore. 

No one would, but passengers are still thankful they survived.

"Hey, they got us back safe," concluded Nicole. 

At this time, Carnival says the ship will be fixed in the Bahamas.