PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Craig and Chelsea Dzubak sailed from Baltimore last Friday on the Grandeur of the Sea.
“We haven’t taken a trip just by ourselves yet since we been married, so we wanted to go on a vacation just ourselves,” said Craig Dzubak, of Mount Washington.
They made it to Florida and surf lessons and enjoyed a formal dinner on board including drinks at sunset, but it was in the overnight cruise the next morning they heard a knock on their door that got more urgent.
“It was one of the staff members saying you have to get out of here,” said Craig.
At first, Craig thought it was a drill.
“Whenever she said grab your life jackets and get up on deck – that’s when it kind of became real,” he said.
Once crowded onto the ship’s deck, Craig said he saw lifeboats.
“It really started to sink in when the lifeboats started being lowered down to deck level. They asked women and children to step forward,” said Craig. “I’m thinking Titanic at this point. I’m looking for a piece of driftwood.”
Anxiety was high.
“Those first 15 minutes were the worst because everybody didn’t know what was going on, but once the crew informed us what was going on it become a lot easier,” he said.
Endless in his praise for the crew, Craig says the captain kept making announcements every 15 minutes.
Four and a half hours after it started, the fire was out and they were allowed to return to their rooms.
Incredibly, as the ship headed for Freeport, life continued on board as normal as possible, including the acrobatic show, which Craig shot with his camera.
It wasn’t until they docked in Freeport that that Craig had any idea of the scope of the fire.
“My jaw dropped when I got off the boat the next day,” he said. “I went, ‘Wow, I had no idea it was that intense or that involved of a fire.”
After a sightseeing day in Freeport, Royal Caribbean brought in charters to get everyone back to Baltimore, and left Craig thoroughly impressed.
KDKA’s John Shumway: “Will you go again?”
Craig: “Absolutely. I’ll only ever sail on Royal Caribbean now.”