|Second Carnival Ship in Trouble|
|By GENEVIEVE SHAW BROWN (@gsbrownabc) and GIO BENITEZ (@GioBenitez)||Mar 15, 2013, 2:19 AM|
Another day, another Carnival cruise ship is having issues.
The company announced late Thursday night that the Carnival Legend, currently off the coast of Honduras, is unable to sail at its optimal speed because of a technical problem, forcing the ship to cut short passengers' vacation.
The Carnival Legend has canceled its visit to Grand Cayman today so it can immediately return to its homeport in Tampa Bay, Fla., according to a news release. The Legend is on the last leg of a seven-day Caribbean cruise that departed Tampa March 10.
Carnival did not know the exact number of people on board the Legend but, according to its website, it can hold 2,124 passengers and 930 crew members.
About 1,500 miles away, passengers onboard the Carnival Dream will be flown home rather than completing the remainder of their cruise back to Florida after their ship stalled at a dock in St. Maarten with a mechanical problem Wednesday.
"Since it is unclear when the Carnival Dream will be departing St. Maarten," Carnival spokesperson Vance Gulliksen said in an email to ABC News Thursday, "it only makes sense that we fly guests home and we are in the process of arranging both charter and commercial flights for guests to be flown to Orlando or their final destinations."
The cruise line said today it arranged for a combination of approximately 50 commercial and private chartered flights departing St. Maarten.
"Guests have the option to return to Orlando -- the closest air gateway to Port Canaveral, where the voyage began -- or their originating city," the company said. "Guests began disembarking the ship this morning to board flights scheduled for today, and will continue to do so throughout the weekend. We are working to try to accommodate special requests from guests, including those who asked to remain on board longer."
The ship suffered from a malfunction to its backup generator, but Carnival says the Dream hasn't lost power and admits there where interruptions to elevators and toilets for a few hours Wednesday night.
Gulliksen said only one public restroom was taken offline for 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."
The Carnival Elation also ran into weekend problems that prompted the line to give the ship a tugboat escort as it began its voyage from New Orleans March 9. The cruise line said the ship had a minor issue with one of the two units used to propel and steer the ship.
The ship's speed, hotel services and all other systems remained in normal working condition, Carnival said in a statement. "In the interest of extreme caution, we requested that a tugboat remain alongside the ship as it maneuvered away from the dock and into the river in New Orleans at the start of the voyage on Saturday, March 9. The tugboat trailed the ship down the Mississippi for good measure, although it was not needed. The ship's full itinerary is expected to operate normally."
The cruise line, the world's largest ship operator, suffered a public relations nightmare that played out in the media for nearly a week when the Carnival Triumph lost power a month ago. An engine fire crippled the Triumph, leaving more than 4,200 people stranded for five days with overflowing toilets, no power and a scarce food supply.
"You know what, I thought everyone gave me a hard time when I was booking this cruise saying I can't believe you are going on a Carnival cruise after what happened with the Triumph," Kris Anderson, who is on the Carnival Dream with his family, told ABC News Thursday.
"What are the odds it's going to happen again, right? And then look at us now," he added
Despite the mishap on the Dream, people are dealing with the headache in a good manner.
"People obviously are upset, disappointed but it seems like, in general, most folks are going with the flow," Anderson said.
This is the peak season for cruising with students on spring break and chilly weather across most of the United States and Canada.
Carnival insists that potential vacation goers should still choose the company, saying, "We provide enjoyable vacations to 4.5 million people each year. It is important to remember that in neither instance was guest and crew safety compromised."
As a consolation of sorts, Carnival flew Grammy-winning singer Jon Secada onto the Dream Thursday to perform for stranded passengers.
"Thank God that I was not too far away to be here tonight for everybody on board," Secada said.
Passengers on the Dream voyage will receive a refund equivalent to three days of the voyage and 50 percent off a future cruise.
The Carnival Dream was on a seven-day cruise and is based in Port Canaveral, Fla. The ship was scheduled to call on Nassau, Bahamas; St. Thomas, US Virgin Islands and Phillipsburg, St. Maarten before returning to Port Canaveral.
The 130,000-ton Carnival Dream, launched in 2009, is among the largest ships in the Carnival fleet, and can accommodate 3,652 passengers and 1,369 crew.
Guests on the Legend will receive also $100 per person credit and a full refund on pre-purchased shore excursions for Grand Cayman. In addition, guests will receive 50 percent off a future Carnival cruise, according to the release.