|Carnival Cruise Woes: Technical Issues Cut Vacations Short|
|By GIO BENITEZ (@GioBenitez) and ALEXIS SHAW (@ashaw109)||Mar 16, 2013, 9:59 AM|
Passengers are making their return home from sea as mechanical problems crippled two different Carnival Cruise liners, cutting guests' vacations short.
Two thousand passengers aboard the Carnival Legend are on their way back to Tampa Bay, Fla., after a technical problem caused the ship to sputter in the Yucatan as it failed to reach optimal speed.
Meanwhile, those aboard the Carnival Dream are flying back from St. Maarten after the emergency generator onboard caused the ship to stall at a dock on the island.
"Clearly, there is a larger problem going on at Carnival specifically," ABCNews.com's Travel Editor Genevieve Shaw Brown told "Good Morning America."
Even the Carnival Elation suffered similar technical problems. While passengers did not have to jump ship, the cruise was given a towboat escort as it embarked from New Orleans March 9.
The issues plaguing the cruise line's two ships bear an eerie resemblance to the deplorable conditions on the Carnival Triumph, which lost power at sea 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.
But despite these issues, Carnival told "GMA" that "each of these situations was different."
"Technical issues will occur from time to time. We take each one seriously."
Carnival is not the only cruise line facing public relations woes. More than 100 passengers aboard a Royal Carribean Cruise fell ill to norovirous March 8, forcing the ship to return to its Florida port.
Shaw Brown said the problems on the seas may be as a result of companies trying to outdo each other by building larger and more extravagant ships each year. But in the process, they could miss the maintenance problems on board.
"You maximize the revenue, and you try to keep them, the boats, the ships moving as fast as possible back out to sea," Christopher Mullen, a professor at Boston University told "GMA."
The Legend was supposed to dock in Grand Cayman on Thursday, but the mechanical problems that hit the ship off the coast of Honduras forced the cruise's seven-day to be cut trip short. The cruise embarked from Tampa on March 10.
The Carnival Dream's mechanical problems hit the ship on Wednesday, forcing the cruise line to take swift action to accommodate its guests.
"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."
Carnival said the Dream hadn't lost power and admitted there were interruptions to elevators and toilets for a few hours Wednesday night.
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," Gulliksen said.
The 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.
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."