Azamara Quest
Azamara Quest started sailing towards Malaysian waters. Reuters

The stricken cruise liner Azamara Quest has started sailing from the seas off the Philippines into Malaysian waters after the fire-ravaged engine room was repaired by the crew.

The luxury vessel owned by the cruise firm Royal Caribbean was carrying 1,001 people aboard including the crew, when a fire broke out in one of its engine rooms.

Up to 60 Britons are reported to be on the ship and one of the passengers has confirmed to the BBC that the fire broke out when dinner was about to be served.

"One of the engineers ran up covered in oil, running through the dining room and smoke filled the dining room and everybody was evacuated and given life jackets," the BBC quoted Yorkshire resident Deborah Garnett as saying.

"The captain was dining and he ran after the engineer and went onto the bridge. Obviously, it was a bit of a panic and people were worried because they thought they were going to have to lower the lifeboats," she added.

Though none of the guests suffered any serious injuries, five of the crew members developed problems due to smoke inhalation.

The ship is expected to reach Sandakan, Malaysia, in two days.

"The damage caused by the fire will require us to cancel the rest of Azamara Quest's voyage once the ship arrives in Sandakan," read a statement from the cruise liner.

"A Philippine Navy ship would escort the ship until it crossed into Malaysian waters," the BBC quoted a spokesman for the Philippines coast guard as saying.