Fire Ends Couple’s Cruise

Neither a hurricane nor a ship fire can stop David and Alice Javersak of Wheeling from attempting, for a third time, to take a cruise.

The Javersaks were among the 2,200 passengers and crew members aboard the Royal Caribbean ship, the Grandeur of the Seas, when a fire broke out in the stern at 2:50 a.m. Monday, May 27.

“It was an interesting experience,” Dr. David Javersak said from the safety of their Woodsdale home Friday, May 31. Praising the ship’s crew for their actions during and after the emergency, he said, “You do realize there are people who do their job and do it well.”

The ship had left Baltimore on Friday, May 24, for what was intended as a seven-night cruise. It was headed originally to CocoCay, Bahamas, but instead sailed to Freeport, Bahamas, on Monday afternoon. The Javersaks were able to fly back to Baltimore on Wednesday, May 29, and then drove home. “It (the experience) wouldn’t stop us from going again,” he said.

Javersak, a retired West Liberty dean, said he and his wife were asleep in their stateroom when the captain’s voice came over the intercom, saying, “There is a fire on board. Would you please proceed as quickly as possible to your muster station.”

After dressing and grabbing passports and wallets, “we got there within five minutes. There we stood until the sun was up,” he said.

When the lifeboats were lowered on cranes into the loading station, “people got real quiet for a while,” he recalled. However, the lifeboats were not used and the ship never lost electricity.

“We stood there for a long time. There were two ladies, age 90 and 92, in their little housecoats. Talk about troupers – they did better than some of the younger people,” he said.

Some of the littlest passengers also were unfazed by the experience. “There were kids who laid down on a towel on the deck and fell asleep for four hours,” he said.

“A lot of the people at the muster station were the entertainers. The next night they had a wonderful show,” he added.

“People were very nice. We thought the staff was just really, really good, from the captain down to the room attendant who knocked on the door and said, ‘Please hurry,'” he remarked.