Damage to Marco Polo, caused when the ship hit the seabed in northern Norway last weekend, is more serious than first thought and it will be out of action until Easter.
It had been hoped that a brief spell in dry dock would be sufficient to repair the vessel, which has an ice-strengthened hull. Operator Cruise & Maritime Voyages initially delayed the start of its next cruise from Thursday until tomorrow (Sunday).
Passengers have now been informed their holidays are cancelled. The ship will remain at a yard in Antwerp while repairs are carried out. CMV will also be looking for an explanation from Norwegian authorities as to why an unexpected obstruction was present in the dredged channel leading from Sortland. The port is only occasionally visited by cruise ships, but is used daily by vessels from the Hurtigruten fleet.
Meanwhile, Discovery, the ship operated by CMV in association with Voyages of Discovery left Avonmouth yesterday (Friday) for a cruise to Norway and the Northern Lights. Its previous cruise was cancelled when a Maritime and Coastguard Agency inspection found deficiencies in the lifeboat drill procedure.
Elsewhere, the number of cruise ships in the casualty ward continues to grow. Latest to suffer is Carnival Legend, which is being slowed by problems with one of its Azipod propeller motors.
The ship, on a seven-day cruise of the western Caribbean, skipped a visit to Grand Cayman yesterday in order to return to Tampa, Florida tomorrow on schedule. The itinerary for the next cruise has been amended to allow for its reduced speed.
P&O’s Ventura continues to make its way across the Atlantic at reduced speed thanks to a fault with the power to its starboard propeller, is expected to reach Southampton on schedule on Friday, after missing a visit to Madeira planned for Tuesday.
Carnival Dream, which should have been back at Port Canaveral today, remains alongside at Phillipsburg, St Maarten, following the fault which developed in an emergency generator in mid-week.
Almost 50 aircraft have been chartered to fly the 4,363 passengers home – either to Orlando or to their home cities in the U.S. The first guests left yesterday and repatriation will continue throughout the weekend. Carnival said: “We are working to try to accommodate special requests from guests, including those who asked to remain on board longer.”
A spokesman added: “Activities have continued aboard the ship similar to our regular, full Sea Day itineraries including children’s programs and full dining options. Entertainment includes live music on deck, as well as a variety of bars and lounges.
It’s a shame that Carnival could not prevail on chief executive Micky Arison to prevent him Tweeting this poster (below) advertising the concerts. While it may indeed have been a fun evening, it would have been more gracious of Mr Arison to have made at least a passing reference to the fact that it was taking place only because the ship was unexpectedly remaining in port rather than sailing home.