SEARCH

Entries in Carnival (14)

Monday
Mar182013

Carnival Legend Back to Work After Troublesome Trip

Education Images/UIG via Getty Images(TAMPA BAY, Fla.) -- The Carnival Legend is back on the move Monday 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, Fla., on 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 on 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.

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 on 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.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Mar142013

Carnival Dream Docked in St. Maarten with Mechanical Issues

Amy Sussman/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- After suffering a public relations nightmare that played out in the media over nearly a week when the Carnival Triumph lost power and thousands of passengers were stranded at sea, the largest cruise ship operator has another stalled ship to deal with.

Reports of power outages and overflowing toilets onboard the Carnival Dream emerged on Thursday.  The ship is currently docked in the Caribbean island of St. Maarten, where it was originally scheduled to leave on Wednesday.

The cruise line said in a statement to ABC News that the power and toilet issues have been addressed.  The cruise line also said the ship at no time fully lost power.

"The Carnival Dream has a technical issue which our engineering team is currently working on.  The ship is at dock in St. Maarten," said spokesman Vance Gulliksen.  "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.  The ship has full power but is still at dock while personnel continue to work on the technical issue."

A person claiming to be on the ship posted on the popular Cruise Critic message boards that at 3 a.m., the ship was 10 hours behind schedule.

"At first, no toilets or elevators.  Those back on but 'mechanical' issues," wrote member herbanrenewal.

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 is scheduled to leave for its next cruise on March 16.  The ship, launched in 2009, is among the largest in the Carnival fleet, and can accommodate 3,652 passengers and 1,369 crew.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Friday
Feb222013

Passengers of Crippled Carnival Triumph Planning Next Cruise

Melanie Jinkins (second from right) and her Carnival Triumph cruising companions. (Courtesy Melanie Jinkins)(NEW YORK) -- Despite being stranded at sea under extremely difficult conditions, and even as several lawsuits have been filed against Carnival Corp. in the days since the cruise, at least a few Carnival Triumph passengers say they are ready to set sail again.

Melanie Jinkins will take her next cruise less than three weeks after she got off the Triumph.  And what's more, her cruise will be on another Carnival ship.

Jinkins, of Spring, Texas, was on the Triumph with four co-workers.  Her next cruise, which she'll take with her husband David, two children and her older son's girlfriend on the Carnival Conquest, departs on March 3.  It's a seven-night, round-trip cruise from New Orleans and stopping and places such as Key West, Fla., and Nassau, Bahamas.  She booked the trip five months ago.  But she also plans to book the free cruise Carnival offered to Triumph passengers, too.  And she's not alone.

Cindy Wright of Union, Neb., said "of course" she planned to use her free cruise.  Wright was on the Triumph with her husband Phil.  She said she's looking at booking a February 2014 Carnival cruise out of New Orleans.

Wright said she and her husband were in a tent on a deck for several days with two younger couples -- about their kids' ages -- who would wait on line for their food and called them "mom" and "dad."

And despite reports of sewage running down walls, urine-soaked carpets and short food supply, some passengers said this was not the entire picture.  Wright said she saw no sewage running down the walls at all.

"It was kind of fun," she said.  She recalled that on Fat Tuesday, the crew put together a parade, the band played and t-shirts were thrown into the crowd.  

As for her next cruise, she said she's looking into a solar-powered charger for her phone and iPad, should the unthinkable ever happen again.

"I'll be a little leery," she said, "but I'll be prepared."

Brandie Slonacker was one of the friends in Jinkins' group.  She also had her husband and three kids along.  She said they will "absolutely" be using their free cruise on Carnival, probably for a family vacation this summer.

"My daughter said she hopes the same thing happens again because she had so much fun," Slonacker said.  "I don't, but we tried to make it as fun for them as we could."

Jinkins called her experience on the Triumph "a fantastic three-day cruise followed by a six-day camping trip on the ocean."  Jinkins, who has been on seven cruises so far, is looking forward to her next voyage.

"It [her Triumph experience] really didn't change my feelings.  It reinstated them.  It validated what I like and enjoy doing on a cruise.  On the trip, I kept saying 'as long as they get us back for the next cruise, I'm happy,'" she said.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Feb202013

First Class-Action Lawsuit Filed Against Carnival over Triumph Disaster Cruise

Paul McConnell/U.S. Coast Guard via Getty Images(MIAMI) -- The first class-action lawsuit has been filed against Carnival Cruise Lines for the way it handled last week's voyage aboard the Triumph. The ship lost power at sea after a fire, leaving more than 4,000 passengers and crew stranded at sea for several days. Now more than 100 incensed passengers are taking legal action against Carnival in Miami.

The suit, filed by Miami-based law firm Lipcon, Margulies, Alsina & Winkleman, alleges that from Feb. 10 to 15, passengers "were forced to sleep on deck and/or in other communal areas on the vessel, relieve themselves into buckets, bags, showers, sinks, were given spoiled or rotting food that was unfit for reasonable safe human consumption, and were generally forced to live in squalid conditions that created a severe risk of injury, illness and/or disease."
 
At issue, says attorney Michael Winkleman, is the “intentionality” of towing the ship to Mobile, Ala., instead of Mexico, which possibly added another 36 hours of misery to the already wretched trip. The lawsuit claims that Carnival put dollars over human suffering when it decided to pull the ship to Mobile and put passengers on buses from there, instead of docking sooner in Mexico and flying passengers on chartered jets to the U.S.

"In the race for the bottom line, I think they put profits over passenger safety and over passenger happiness," said Winkleman, whose firm is also representing passengers from Carnival's deadly Concordia shipwreck off the coast of Italy last year.

Carnival, however, claims it's being generous, reimbursing passengers for the trip, plus offering them a voucher for a future cruise. The cruise line also added a $500 check for each passenger's travel expenses. But passengers say that's not enough for what they had to live through.  

Interestingly, none of the upper-level passengers from the disaster cruise are taking part in the suit yet. But Winkleman says it's still early.

"It was the lower two floors where all the sewage was really all backed up, and all the floors were laden with sewage and coming down the walls and things of that nature," Winkleman said. "I haven't heard a single account of anyone from an upper level room having a problem at this point -- yet. Keep in mind, it may be early."

He added, "It's my guess that by the end of the week, we'll probably have somewhere between 500 and a thousand passengers that want to be onboard with the class action."

In order for the class action to be certified, a federal judge in Miami will have to decide that the welfare of the passengers supersedes the waiver they signed when they purchased their tickets, according to Winkleman.

For now, Carnival has declined to comment on the suit.

Whatever happens, Winkleman says he’s confident he can get his clients more than the $500 offered by the cruise line.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Feb192013

Coast Guard Uncovers Reason for Engine Fire on Carnival Triumph

Paul McConnell/U.S. Coast Guard via Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- At least one of the big questions surrounding last week's disastrous Carnival Triumph cruise excursion appears to have been answered.

Much of the power was lost aboard the vessel a week ago Sunday in the Gulf of the Mexico after an engine fire.  It took five days for the crippled ship to be towed to Mobile, Ala.

On Monday, the U.S. Coast Guard said a leak in a fuel return line sprayed diesel fuel onto a hot surface, thus causing the engine fire, which was quickly extinguished.

However, the damage was done as the crippled cruise ship with 4,200 passengers and crew members floated helplessly 150 miles from the Yucatan Peninsula, awaiting tug boats to rescue the Triumph.

In the meantime, the stranded passengers tweeted about backed-up toilets, short food supplies and even shorter tempers.

A complete Coast Guard investigation of the incident could take six months to complete.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Feb142013

Disabled Carnival Cruise Ship Arrives at Mobile, Ala., Port

Chris Shivock/U.S. Coast Guard via Getty Images(MOBILE, Ala.) -- The ordeal of the disabled Carnival Triumph cruise ship carrying 4,000 passengers and crew appeared to be almost over, with people starting to disembark in Mobile, Ala., after days at sea without power in often squalid conditions.

After the ship arrived at port around 9:30 p.m. local time, Carnival president and CEO Gerry Cahill praised the ship's crew and told reporters that he was headed on board to apologize directly to the passengers.

Passengers appeared to begin disembarking around 10:15 p.m. CT.

The Carnival Triumph departed Galveston, Texas, last Thursday and lost power Sunday after a fire in the engine room disabled the vessel's propulsion system and knocked out most of its power.

After power went out, passengers texted ABC News that sewage was seeping down the walls from burst plumbing pipes, carpets were wet with urine, and food was in short supply. Reports surfaced of elderly passengers running out of critical heart medicine and others on board squabbling over scarce food.

"I know the conditions on board were very poor," Cahill said. "I know it was very difficult, and I want to apologize again for subjecting our guests [to] that. ... Clearly, we failed in this particular case."

It could take up to five hours to get everybody off the huge ship.

"Inside the terminal, there's also warm food available," said Terry Thornton, Carnival's senior vice president of marketing. "There are blankets, there are cell phones and refreshments available for the guests that need that or want that assistance."

Passengers will have the options of boarding buses to Houston or Galveston, Texas, about seven hours away, or New Orleans, about two hours away, officials said.

"We have gotten our guests back to land," Cahill said. "Now, we need to get them home. ... The full resources of Carnival are working from here to get them home as quickly as we possibly can."

The passengers were achingly close to port about noon Thursday as the ship began to enter the channel and proceed to the cruise terminal. At 1 p.m., the lead tow boat had a tow gear break, so a spare tug boat that was on standby had to be sent in to replace it.

But once the second tug was in position and the lines were reset, the towing resumed only briefly before the tow line snapped.

"We had to replace that tow line so the ship did not begin progressing back into the cruise terminal until 2 p.m.," Thornton said.

Alabama State Port Authority Director Jimmy Lyons said that with powerless "dead ships" like the Triumph, it is usually safer to bring them in during daylight hours, but "once they make the initial effort to come into the channel, there's no turning back."

"There are issues regarding coming into the ship channel and docking at night because the ship has no power and there's safety issues there," Richard Tillman of the Mobile Bay Convention and Visitors Bureau told ABC News.

When asked if the ship could be disembarked in the dark of night, Tillman said, "It is not advised. It would be very unusual."

Thornton denied the rumors that there was a fatality on the ship. He said that there was one illness early on, a dialysis patient, but that passenger was removed from the vessel and transferred to a medical facility.

After eight miserable days at sea, the ship's owners have increased the compensation for what some on board are calling the vacation from hell.

All 3,143 passengers aboard the 900-foot colossus, were already being given a full refund for the cruise, transportation expenses and vouchers for a another cruise. Carnival Cruise Lines is now boosting that offer to include another $500 per person. Cahill announced the additional compensation Wednesday.

"We know it has been a longer journey back than we anticipated at the beginning of the week under very challenging circumstances," he said in a statement. "We are very sorry for what our guests have had to endure. Therefore, in addition to the full refund and future cruise credit already offered, we have decided to provide this additional compensation."

Carnival also said that it has canceled a dozen planned voyages for the Triumph and acknowledged that the crippled ship had been plagued by other mechanical problems in the weeks before an engine-room fire left it powerless in the Gulf of Mexico.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Feb142013

Carnival Cruise Ship Overcomes Towing Breakdowns, Inches Closer to Port

Paul McConnell/U.S. Coast Guard via Getty Images(MOBILE, Ala.) -- The agonizingly slow progress of the stricken Carnival Triumph cruise ship carrying 4,000 passengers and crew was further delayed Thursday by problems with the tug boats towing it in, meaning exhausted passengers may not get off the ship until nearly dawn.

The ship is now expected in port between 9:30 p.m. and 12:30 a.m. CT, according to Carnival. It could take up to five more hours to get everybody off the huge ship.

"There are some limitations. We know that up front," Carnival Cruise Senior Vice President of Marketing Terry Thornton said at a news conference Thursday afternoon. "The ship still does not have power. We only have one functioning elevator aboard."

Thornton said that anyone with special needs and children will be the first to get off the boat. He said the company's number-one priority is to make the process as "quick, efficient and comfortable" for guests as possible.

"We're not anticipating any additional difficulties," he said.

The passengers were achingly close to port about noon Thursday as the ship began to enter the channel and proceed to the cruise terminal. At 1 p.m., the lead tow boat had a tow gear break, so a spare tug boat that was on standby had to be sent in to replace it.

But once the second tug was in position and the lines were reset, the towing resumed only briefly before the tow line snapped.

"We had to replace that tow line so the ship did not begin progressing back into the cruise terminal until 2 p.m.," Thornton said.

Passengers desperate to get off the vessel waved at media helicopters that flew out to film the ship, and passenger Rob Mowlam told ABC News by phone Thursday that most of the passengers on board were "really upbeat and positive."

Nevertheless, when he gets off, Mowlam said, "I will probably flush the toilet 10 times just because I can."

Mowlam, 37, got married on board the Triumph Friday and said he and his wife, Stephanie Stevenson, 27, haven't yet thought of redoing the honeymoon other than to say, "It won't be a cruise."

Alabama State Port Authority Director Jimmy Lyons said that with powerless "dead ships" like the Triumph, it is usually safer to bring them in during daylight hours, but, "once they make the initial effort to come into the channel, there's no turning back."

"There are issues regarding coming into the ship channel and docking at night because the ship has no power and there's safety issues there," Richard Tillman of the Mobile Bay Convention and Visitors Bureau told ABC News.

When asked if the ship could be disembarked in the dark of night, Tillman said, "It is not advised. It would be very unusual."

Thornton denied the rumors that there was a fatality on the ship. He said that there was one illness early on, a dialysis patient, but that passenger was removed from the vessel and transferred to a medical facility.

The U.S. Coast Guard is assisting now and there are multiple generators on board. And customs officials will board the ship while it is being piloted to port to accelerate the embarkation, officials said.

After eight miserable days at sea, the ship's owners have increased the compensation for what some on board are calling the vacation from hell.

All 3,143 passengers aboard the 900-foot colossus, which stalled in the Gulf of Mexico after an engine room fire early Sunday, were already being given a full refund for the cruise, transportation expenses and vouchers for another cruise. Carnival Cruise Lines is now boosting that offer to include another $500 per person. Gerry Cahill, president and CEO of Carnival Cruise Lines, announced the additional compensation Wednesday.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Feb132013

Damaged Carnival Cruise Ship Being Towed to Port

KRTK/ABC News(NEW YORK) -- The U.S. Coast Guard and the National Transportation Safety Board have launched an investigation into the cause of an engine room fire aboard the Carnival Triumph over the weekend that left the 100,000-ton cruise ship stranded in the Gulf of Mexico with limited power and sanitation for the 4,200 people on board.

Sunday's fire was extinguished by an automated system, but not before it hobbled the ship, according to the Coast Guard.

Because the Triumph is a Bahamian flagged vessel, the Bahamas Maritime Authority is the lead investigative agency, but the U.S. will participate in the inquiry in accordance with international guidelines.

The Triumph is being towed to Mobile, Ala., and should arrive Thursday afternoon.

The ship has been without propulsion in the Gulf of Mexico since Sunday’s fire.  There have been no reported injuries to crew members or guests.

Carnival Cruise officials apologized on Tuesday for the crisis.  The cruise line said it would get passengers home as quickly as possible when the ship is pulled ashore in the next few days.

"I need to apologize to our guests and to our families that have been affected by a very difficult situation," Carnival Cruise Lines President and CEO Gerry Cahill said at a news conference.

Passengers on the ship have reported worsening conditions, including scarce running water, no air conditioning and long lines for food.

The Triumph departed Galveston, Texas, last Thursday with 3,143 guests and 1,086 crew on board for a Mexican cruise, which was due to return to the port on Monday.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Feb122013

Passengers on Crippled Carnival Cruise Ship Describe Dire Conditions

KRTK/ABC News(NEW YORK) -- Passengers on the fire-damaged Carnival cruise ship stranded in the Gulf of Mexico have reported worsening conditions, including scarce running water, no air conditioning and long lines for food.

Carnival said original plans to haul the crippled ship to Progreso, Mexico, have been scrapped because the ship has drifted about 90 miles north because of strong currents.  Instead, the Triumph will be towed to Mobile, Ala., and should arrive on Thursday.

For the more than 4,200 people on board, Thursday could not come soon enough.

"Conditions are getting worse by the hour," passenger Debra Rightmire told ABC News in a text message.  "Cabin carpets are wet with urine and water.  Toilets are overflowing inside cabins.  We are having to sleep in the hallways."

Another passenger, Shelly Crosby, told ABC News in a text message that many people are sleeping in tents set up on the ship's deck.

Passengers had limited access to bathrooms, food and hot coffee on Monday.  With lack of power, there's no refrigeration so the stink on board is apparently intense, which is one of the reasons many people are choosing to sleep on the deck.

"We stood in line for four hours to get a hamburger," Crosby texted.

Cellphone reception is just as scarce, coming only when another Carnival ship pulls alongside to drop off supplies.

Carnival has acknowledged the problems, but said there's plenty of food and water aboard and that it is working on the sanitation issue.

"All of our guests are safe, and we're doing everything we can to make them as comfortable as possible," Gerry Cahill, president and CEO of Carnival Cruise Lines, said in a statement Monday night.

A tug boat reached the Triumph Monday night.  The tug has tied up with the cruise ship, but will wait until Tuesday for the expected arrival of a second tug before towing the cruise ship to port.

The ship, which is 2.5 football fields long and bigger than the Titanic, will then be towed back to shore at the rate of a few miles per hour.

The Triumph has been bobbing in the Gulf of Mexico without propulsion since the fire broke out Sunday morning.  No one was hurt in the fire, but the ship lost power and is relying on a back-up generator.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Monday
Feb112013

Stranded Carnival Cruise Ship Passengers Without Running Water, Power

KRTK/ABC News(NEW YORK) -- The 4,229 passengers aboard a Carnival cruise ship stranded in the Gulf of Mexico after an engine room fire this weekend have only limited running water and power as they await the arrival of a tug boat that will take them to Mexico.

The Carnival Triumph is now a little more than a 100,000-ton cork, bobbing in the Gulf of Mexico without propulsion for the past 24 hours after the fire broke out Sunday morning.  No one was hurt in the fire, but the ship lost power and is relying on a back-up generator as it drifts 477 miles southeast of Galveston, Texas, Carnival said in a statement.

Brent Nutt said that his wife, Bethany, who is on board, called him to say the plumbing wasn't working on the ship.

"She said there's no running water.  They just really got food there to them tonight, and there's no power whatsoever, other than the emergency flasher lights that are on," he said.  "She was crying and hysterical."

At one point Sunday, passengers were reportedly using buckets to relieve themselves.

Carnival told ABC News that many of the toilets are being brought back online, and that there is plenty of food since a sister ship arrived.  The company said that the passengers are not in danger.

Sunday's fire was extinguished by an automated system, but not before it hobbled the ship, according to the Coast Guard.

"All the passengers are staying in the public areas of the vessel on the open decks, because there is no air conditioning," a U.S. Coast Guard representative said.

The Carnival Triumph departed Galveston on Thursday with 3,143 guests and 1,086 crew on board for a Mexican cruise, which was due to return to the port on Monday.

The tugboat will tow the vessel to Progreso, Mexico, which is the closest port to the ship.  The ship is expected to arrive in Progreso Wednesday afternoon and guests will be flown from there back to the United States, Carnival said.

Emergency generators are providing some power and the ship --- which is 2.5 football fields long -- is at the mercy of the sea.  The forecast is for 6-foot seas.  It will take a tugboat three full days to haul it back to land.

Passengers aboard the wayward ship will receive a full refund, Carnival said, and a voucher for a future cruise with Carnival.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio







ABC News Radio