Toy Belt Shuts Down Disembarkation of World's Largest Cruise Ship

Sep. 4--Thousands of passengers returning to the Port of Miami on board the world's largest cruise ship, the Freedom of the Seas, had their Sunday disembarkation delayed for hours after what was believed to be a grenade was found in a passenger's luggage.

But by 11:30 a.m., it was determined the grenade, spotted inside a suitcase being screened, was really a toy -- a child's belt buckle shaped like a grenade.

By then, some passengers on the Royal Caribbean cruise ship had sat onboard for four hours as Terminal G was evacuated. Frustrated, some called the local media.

Bonnie Knight, a passenger from Illinois, said she was waiting to pass through Customs when squad cars arrived and Miami-Dade police officers told everyone to go back onto the ship.

"It's entirely blocked off," Knight said. "Not a soul in. Not a soul out."

The fake grenade was spotted by Transportation Security Administration workers while screening luggage being unloaded from the Royal Caribbean's premier ship, said Lynn Martenstein, a company spokeswoman.

At the time, passengers were in the middle of disembarkation, which had begun at 7:30 a.m.

The Miami-Dade police bomb squad was called to the ship, Martenstein said.

The Freedom of the Seas, which holds 3,600 passengers and 1,300 crew members, was returning from an eastern Caribbean cruise, Knight said.