Carnival cruise ship burns off Miami Beach

MIAMI BEACH, Fla. (AP) — Black smoke billowed Monday from a blaze at the stern of a Carnival cruise ship 2 miles offshore as passengers in life vests assembled calmly to watch from the bow.
Long plumes of water spewed from hoses aboard tug boats as flames blackened the sides and rear of the ship Ecstasy, which had just set out on a four-day trip to Key West.
“We are fortunate the Ecstasy is close to shore,” said U.S. Coast Guard Lt. Cmdr. Marcus Woodring. “It also assists us in getting tugboats and Coast Guard cutters out there and should they have to evacuate the ship they’re in sight of land.”
Hundreds of passengers gathered on the upper decks at the front of the ship, but there were no signs of lifeboats being lowered into the water. Many of the more than 2,000 passengers on board appeared to be moving about calmly.
“At first there was a little bit of panic, but now it’s OK,” passenger Roger Sevalski told WSVN-TV.
The fire broke out in the crew laundry on a lower deck of the ship, which is owned by Miami-based Carnival Corp., the Coast Guard said.