Carnival flying stranded Dream passengers home
MIAMI, FL -- Passengers from the cruise ship Carnival Dream headed to the airport Thursday instead of sailing home after an on-board generator problem halted their trip in the latest maintenance headache for the world's largest cruise line.
The Dream was in St. Maarten on the final stop of a Caribbean cruise when the crew announced it would not be sailing home to Port Canaveral, Florida, because of a mechanical issue with a diesel generator, passengers said.
Carnival Cruise Lines said the Dream had a "technical issue" with its backup emergency diesel generator that was discovered during a test Wednesday. A company statement said that the ship did not lose power but that there were periodic interruptions to elevators and restrooms.
Carnival said all systems were functioning normally Thursday but the company decided to get the passengers home by air.
Passengers strolling about the Dutch Caribbean town of Philipsburg told The Associated Press that the power and water were out for 10-20 minutes, contradicting media reports of longer outages and unsanitary conditions.
"We have toilets. We have water. It's no different than a regular day at sea," Tasha Larson, 31, from Winston-Salem, North Carolina, said after disembarking with her boyfriend to spend the day in St. Maarten.
An engine fire last month crippled another Carnival ship, the Carnival Triumph, leaving 4,200 people stranded for five days without working toilets or power.
Passengers Mary and Terry Washington of Tampa, Florida, said they were grateful because the malfunction gave them an additional day to spend in St. Maarten. "The plumbing is fine. The food is fine. Everything is fine," Mary Washington said.
Another passenger, Tammie Knapper of Hedgesville, West Virginia, said she also preferred another day in St. Maarten to the risk that the ship could encounter problems as sea. "It's better that we are here than in the middle of the ocean," she said.
St. Maarten offered to assist with police escorts for moving passengers to the airport.
"We would not want them to encounter any delay, discomfort or setback," said Deputy Prime Minister William Marlin, who visited the ship Thursday.
The Dream was on a seven-day cruise of the Caribbean with 3,646 passengers. The ship's March 16 voyage from Port Canaveral has been canceled.
Carvinal Dream issued a statement this morning:
- 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 percent 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. Guests who re-book will have their current rate protected on the future sailing. Additionally, any non-refundable transportation related expenses will be reimbursed.
Yesterday was a scheduled port of call visit to St. Maarten. Guests were able to spend the full day in port and have the option of continuing to do so until their scheduled return home. All of the ship's activities and facilities are fully operational.
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 Carnival Dream was on the last leg of a seven-day cruise and was docked in St. Maarten when the technical problem arose. The ship is based in Port Canaveral, Fla.
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