OCEANSIDE, N.Y. (CBSNewYork/AP) — A Long Island couple who were aboard the cruise ship that caught fire in the Caribbean last week are recounting the harrowing experience.

The fire began Thursday in the engine room of the Oceania Insignia, which was docked in St. Lucia during a 10-day cruise through the Caribbean that had been scheduled to end in Miami on Dec. 17.

Jerome and Jerilyn Goldchain of Oceanside were among the 656 passengers who were aboard the Insignia.

“We were sitting down for breakfast and all of a sudden the lights went out,” Jerome Goldchain told 1010 WINS’ Mona Rivera. “Then all the chefs came running out of the kitchen and ran off the ship. The crew left the ship before the passengers.”

All of the passengers were evacuated safely and the remainder of the cruise was canceled. Passengers were flown back to Miami late Thursday and on Friday.

The Goldchains said they feel lucky the ship was in port in St. Lucia and not at sea when the fire broke out.

“I’m happy I’m alive and I’m here,” Jerilyn Goldchain said.

“It’s nice to be home,” Jerome Goldchain said. “It was a very harrowing experience and I hope we never have to go through with it again.”

Oceania Cruises have offered passengers full refunds and 50 percent off their next cruise.

A technical team is investigating to determine what went wrong in the engine room, said Victor Gonzalez, Oceania executive vice president for passenger services.

The U.S. Coast Guard and U.S. National Transportation Safety Board are assisting with the investigation, which is being led by the Marshall Islands, where the ship is registered.

The ship was built in 1998 and underwent a multimillion-dollar refurbishing earlier this year. The Insignia has 400 crew members, and its officers and staff are European.

One crew member and two contractors were killed in the fire.

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