|Carnival Legend Heads Back to Work|
|By GIO BENITEZ (@GioBenitez)||Mar 18, 2013, 3:31 AM|
The Carnival Legend is back on the move this morning with a new crop of passengers after it experienced technical issues with its propulsion system and cut guests' vacations short.
The Legend departed Tampa Bay Sunday less than nine hours after unloading more than 2,000 angry travelers who missed the last leg of their seven-day Caribbean cruise.
The ship is already back at work even though its problems with the propulsion system have not been solved. Carnival says the issues are still being worked on by technicians during its latest voyage. A technical problem caused the ship to sputter in the Yucatan last week as it failed to reach optimal speed.
"I really don't want to get stranded out in the middle of the ocean," Molly Sandberg told ABC News before departing on the Legend Sunday.
Carnival stressed in a statement that the Legend's safety systems, steering and services onboard are functioning normally. The Legend will be making normal itinerary stops with the exception of one port, Grand Cayman, which is being replaced by Costa Maya, Mexico.
Upset vacationers on the Legend's previous excursion vented their frustration at Carnival.
"Last cruise I am taking for sure," Thomas Grutter said after stepping off the Legend.
The Legend departed Tampa March 10, but missed its last stop at the Grand Cayman islands and, instead, headed back to the United States. All guests on the Legend will receive a $100 per person credit and a full refund on pre-purchased shore excursions for Grand Cayman, according to the Carnival.
"Terrible trip, canceled early, three days at sea, missed two stops and they only gave us $100," passenger Jeff Cairo said.
Passenger Faye New was most upset about having to improvise her travel plans.
"Well we went from planning to go to Belize to ending up at Costa Maya. And then planning to go to the Caymans to maybe going to Belize to ending up in Tampa," New said.
Carnival's mishaps have prompted one U.S. lawmaker to call for the cruise ship industry to make changes and improve communication with passengers.
Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., has called on the industry to adopt a "passenger bill of rights." He says passengers should be entitled to a full refund if there's a serious problem.
"Passengers have the right to real-time information updates. When something is wrong on the ship almost nothing is worse than not knowing when it's going to be fixed and what's going to happen next," Schumer said Sunday.
"Every ship should have a back-up generator in case the power fails as it has done on a number of ships before," Schumer added.
The Carnival Dream was stranded Wednesday at a port in St. Maarten, forcing the company to fly that ship's passengers back to the United States after an emergency generator failed. As of Saturday evening, Carnival had nearly completed the process of flying all guests from St. Maarten to either Orlando or their final destination.
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 Legend and Dream bear an eerie resemblance to 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.
While Carnival calls the problems on the Legend and Dream minor, some industry experts are now questioning whether the company can maintain its ships effectively.
"Clearly, there is a larger problem going on at Carnival, specifically," ABC News travel and lifestyle editor Genevieve Shaw Brown said.
ABC News' Alexis Shaw and ABC News Radio contributed to this report.