The cruise is officially over for guests on the Carnival Liberty, which was damaged in a fire Monday.
After floating a plan on Tuesday afternoon to sail back to San Juan from St. Thomas with nearly 4,500 passengers and crew pending approval from authorities, Carnival Cruise Line said late Tuesday night that it would instead fly guests home from the island.
Spokeswoman Jennifer de la Cruz said charter flights would start departing Wednesday afternoon and head to San Juan as well as “a variety of points in the continental U.S. based on where guests are from.”
“It may take a few days to get everyone out,” she said in an email.
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Liberty is expected to return to its home port of San Juan later in the week. The 10-year-old ship left San Juan Sunday for a seven-day Caribbean sailing with 3,346 guests and 1,150 crew on board.
During its first port stop in St. Thomas Monday morning, fire broke out in an engine room. The blaze was extinguished by automated suppression systems and no one was hurt, but some repairs will be needed.
Passengers have since been staying on the ship, which is operating with normal services and activities, and been allowed to spend their days in port. They will receive a full refund for the trip and a 50 percent discount on a future cruise.
“We apologize to our guests for this unexpected disruption to their vacation and the inconvenience they are experiencing,” Carnival wrote in a statement.
While de la Cruz said the timing of Liberty’s departure from St. Thomas had not yet been determined, upcoming voyages were scheduled to operate as planned.
“We have not canceled any future cruises,” she wrote.