Carnival to fly passengers home after another cruise ship stranded

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by CNN and KVUE.com

wwltv.com

Posted on March 14, 2013 at 11:23 AM

Updated Thursday, Mar 14 at 11:23 AM

UPDATE from AP: Carnival Cruise Lines is making arrangements for passengers aboard the stranded ship Dream to fly home.
 
   The cruise line made the announcement Thursday morning.
 
   The ship encountered a technical issue with its backup emergency diesel generator during a scheduled port of call Wednesday in St. Maarten. There were brief interruptions to the elevators and toilets Wednesday night.
 
   The company says engineers are working on the problem, but they are making arrangements to fly passengers home. They did not indicate when the flights would leave St. Maarten. The ship, with a capacity of 3,646 passengers, is docked at Phillipsburg.
 
   The Dream's March 16 voyage from Port Canaveral has been canceled.

 
A month after a fire crippled a Carnival ship in the Gulf of Mexico, another one of the cruise line's vessels may be experiencing its own problems.

Multiple passengers aboard the Carnival Dream have contacted CNN, telling stories of power outages and overflowing toilets, all while docked in port at Philipsburg, St. Maarten, in the eastern Caribbean.

"We are not allowed off of the boat despite the fact that we have no way to use the restrooms on board," Jonathan Evans of Reidsville, North Carolina, said in an e-mail early Thursday. "The cruise director is giving passengers very limited information and tons of empty promises. What was supposed to take a hour has turned into 7+ hours."

The Dream was scheduled to leave port around 5 p.m. ET on Wednesday.

Gregg Stark, who is traveling with his wife and two young children, told a similar story.

"There's human waste all over the floor in some of the bathrooms and they're overflowing -- and in the state rooms," he said. "The elevators have not been working. They've been turning them on and off, on and off."

An announcement over the ship's public address system said they were trying to fix the problem and were working on the generators, according to Stark. A few hours later, another announcement was made, saying the problem was worse than expected.

When told of the complaints, Carnival representative Vance Gulliksen said late Wednesday night he wasn't aware of a problem. Several subsequent calls to the cruise line went unanswered.

The U.S. Coast Guard said there were no reports of an incident, adding cruise lines typically give a courtesy call even when they're experiencing minor problems.

Carnival, said Petty Officer Jon-Paul Rios, had not requested assistance -- and there's little the Coast Guard can do. Because the ship is at port in St. Maarten, it's outside the Coast Guard's jurisdiction.

The Dream, which can carry more than 5,000 passengers and crew, sailed from Port Canaveral in Florida on Saturday.

The reports are similar to those that came from the Carnival Triumph last month.

An engine room fire left that cruise ship crippled and adrift in the Gulf of Mexico with more than 4,200 people aboard.

The scheduled four-day cruise stretched into eight days as tugs pulled the vessel into port. Food was scarce and passengers sweltered in the heat with no air conditioning.

A class action lawsuit has been filed against Carnival Corporation in the aftermath.

On Thursday Carnival released the following statement on the company's Facebook page:

"The Carnival Dream has a technical issue which our engineering team is currently working on. The ship is at dock in St. Maarten. At no time did the ship lose power but there were periodic interruptions to elevators and toilets for a few hours last night. However at this time all hotel systems are functioning normally and have been functional since approximately 12.30am. The ship has full power but is still at dock while personnel continue to work on the technical issue. The Carnival Dream was on a seven-day cruise and is based in Port Canaveral, Fla."

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