UPDATE, FRIDAY MARCH 15: Carnival Legend is experiencing propulsion problems with one of its azipod propeller motors. The ship, on the last leg of a seven-day Caribbean cruise, has abandoned a planned call at Grand Cayman and is returning to Tampa, Florida, at reduced speed.
Yet more problems for Carnival Cruises. Barely a month after passengers on Carnival Triumph spent an uncomfortable five days being towed back to the mainland, Carnival Dream has cut short a cruise because of power failures.
At least this time the ship was in port – at Phillipsburg on the Caribbean island of St Maarten – when the faults were detected, and passengers will be flown straight home. The next cruise, due to depart from Port Canaveral, Florida, on Saturday, has been cancelled.
The issue came to light on Wednesday evening during routine testing of an emergency diesel generator. A malfunction occurred and the lack of power caused interruptions to the ship’s lifts and toilets, which require electricity to power the vacuum system.
The captain informed U.S. Coast Guard officials as a precaution, although the ship is not in American waters. A number of the Dream’s 4,000 passengers contacted CNN with stories of power outages and overflowing toilets.
One said: “We are not allowed off of the boat despite the fact that we have no way to use the restrooms on board. The cruise director is giving passengers very limited information and tons of empty promises. What was supposed to take a hour has turned into seven-plus hours,” said Jonathan Evans of Reidsville, North Carolina.
In a statement issued later, Carnival said: “The Carnival Dream has a technical issue with the ship’s backup emergency diesel generator which our engineering team is currently working on. Yesterday, during regularly scheduled testing of the ship’s emergency diesel generator, a malfunction occurred. At no time did the ship lose power and the ship’s propulsion systems and primary power source was not impacted.
“The ship is at dock in St. Maarten. All guests are safe and comfortable. There were periodic interruptions to elevators and restroom services for a few hours last night. However, all hotel systems are functioning normally and have been functional since approximately 12.30am.
“While personnel continue to work on the technical issue we are making arrangements to fly all guests home via private charter flights and scheduled flights from St. Maarten. Guests on the current voyage will receive a refund equivalent to three days of the voyage and 50 per cent off a future cruise.
” We are also cancelling the ship’s next voyage which is scheduled to depart on Saturday, March 16. Guests scheduled to sail on this cruise will receive a full refund and 25 percent off a future seven-day cruise.
“We are very sorry for this disruption to our guests’ vacation plans and extend our sincere apologies. We look forward to welcoming them back on another Carnival cruise.”
The company took to Facebook to add: “Only one public restroom was taken offline for cleaning based on toilet overflow and there was a total of one request for cleaning of a guest cabin bathroom. Aside from that there have been no reports of issues on board with overflowing toilets or sewage.”
Like Carnival Triumph, which is still out of action after last month’s engine room fire and power failure, Carnival Dream was built by Fincantieri in Italy. The ship was christened in New York in November 2009.
►P&O’s Ventura, returning from the Caribbean to the UK, is experiencing problems with its starboard propulsion motor and has had to replace a scheduled visit to Madeira next week with a brief stop at Ponta Delgada in the Azores.
Ventura left Barbados on March 8 and called at Grenada, St Lucia, Antigua and Tortola before setting out across the Atlantic. It is due to arrive in Southampton on Friday March 22 and will then proceed to dry-dock in Bremerhaven, Germany, for a scheduled two-week refit.
A P&O spokeswoman said that although the ship’s speed was restricted by the propulsion problem, power and all other services are unaffected. “We are working with the manufacturers and shore support to rectify the issue,” she added.