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Entries in Carnival Cruise (11)

Saturday
Mar162013

Carnival Cruise Woes: Technical Issues Cut Vacations Short

Amy Sussman/Getty Images(TAMPA BAY, Fla.) -- Passengers are making their return home from sea this weekend 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," ABC News' Travel Editor Genevieve Shaw Brown told Good Morning America.

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."  

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 often 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.

Yet, 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."

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

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

Sunday
Feb172013

Carnival Cruise Passenger Sues over Bodily Injury

Paul McConnell/U.S. Coast Guard via Getty Images(MIAMI) -- Carnival Cruise Lines was hit with a second lawsuit relating to the ill-fated trip of the Triumph, filed in Miami federal court on Sunday by a Houston woman who according to her attorney suffered severe dehydration and bruising from aggressive food lines.

Lisa Williams, 42, was so ill from the five days the ship was powerless at sea that she had to be given intravenous fluids in the emergency room when she returned home to Houston, her attorney, Spencer Aronfeld, told ABC News.

"She was deprived of the basic fundamental necessities of life, and certainly not what one would expect on a luxury cruise ship," Aronfeld said. "People were struggling to get water and food."

The lawsuit alleges Carnival failed to "inspect for and to observe and resolve the hazard present within the vessel that ultimately affected all passengers aboard, including the Plaintiff."

"Plaintiff had been exposed to extremely toxic and debilitating conditions resulting in severe and permanent injuries," the lawsuit said.

Williams, whose voyage on the luxury liner was a gift from a friend, has called the five days of squalor at sea a "life altering experience," Aronfeld said.

"She had very little sleep and she described this as a life altering experience," he said. "She felt abandoned and fearful [of whether] she would see the next day."

Since being back on dry land, Aronfeld said Williams has seemed "incoherent" and "disoriented and exhausted" when he has called to check on her.

Williams' had been excited for the voyage, which had been a gift from her travel companion, Aronfeld said.

"Now, I'm sure she'd like to return this gift," he said.

Carnival did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Williams' lawsuit.

On Friday, the first lawsuit relating to the Carnival Triumph incident was filed against the cruise line.

Cassie Terry, 25, of Brazoria County, Texas, called the disabled Triumph cruise ship "a floating hell," according to court documents.

The filing also said that during the "horrifying and excruciating tow back to the United States," the ship tilted several times "causing human waste to spill out of non-functioning toilets, flood across the vessel's floors and halls, and drip down the vessel's walls."

Carnival's original plan was to tow the damaged ship to Progreso, Mexico, because it was the closest port, but by the time tugboats arrived, the ship had drifted about 90 miles north due to strong currents, putting it nearly equidistant to Mobile, Ala.

The ship arrived in the port late Thursday night. Some passengers, weary from their experience at sea, were so happy to see dry ground that they kissed it.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Friday
Feb152013

Carnival Cruise Ship Passengers 'Blessed' to Finally Be Home

Jeff Gammons/Getty Images(MOBILE, Ala.) -- After five days without power in the Gulf of Mexico, the Carnival Triumph cruise ship carrying more than 4,000 people arrived in Mobile, Ala., on Thursday to a cheering crowd of friends and family members waiting to embrace their loved ones.

Passengers began to disembark the damaged ship around 10:15 p.m. CT.  The last passenger disembarked the ship at 1 a.m. local time, according to Carnival's Twitter handle.

As the ship docked, passengers lined the decks of the ship, waving and whistling to those on shore.

"Happy V-Day," read a homemade sign made for the Valentine's Day arrival.  Another, more starkly, read, "The ship's afloat, so is the sewage."

Some still aboard chanted, "Let me off, let me off!" and "Sweet Home Alabama."

The Triumph departed Galveston, Texas, last Thursday and lost power on Sunday after a fire in the engine room disabled the vessel's propulsion system.

After the 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.

Passengers said many of the cabins became intolerable with the smell of raw sewage.  They were forced to create makeshift beds out of lounge chairs on the ship's deck.

"We kind of camped out by our lifeboat.  We would have nightmares about Titanic basically happening," passenger Kendall Jenkins told ABC News Radio after disembarking from the ship.

"I am just so blessed to be back home," she added.

Jenkins was one of many passengers that were photographed kissing the ground when they exited the ship.

Approximately 100 buses were waiting to take passengers on the next stage of their journey.  Passengers have the option to take a bus ride to New Orleans or Galveston, Texas, where the ill-fated ship's voyage began.  From there, passengers will take flights home, which Carnival said they would pay for.

Inside the buses, Carnival handed out bags of food that included French fries, chicken nuggets, honey mustard, barbecue sauce and apples.

Carnival president and CEO Gerry Cahill praised the ship's crew and told reporters that he was headed on board to apologize directly to its passengers shortly before the Carnival Triumph arrived in Mobile.

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

Passengers are being given a full refund for the cruise, transportation expenses and vouchers for another cruise.  Carnival Cruise Lines is also giving each person $500.  Cahill announced the additional compensation on Wednesday.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Feb142013

As Ship Nears Land, Carnival Cruise Ship's Passengers 'Upbeat'

Chris Shivock/U.S. Coast Guard via Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- The 4,000 passengers and crew aboard the stricken Carnival Triumph cruise ship will disembark after dark Thursday night from the fetid cruiser dubbed "the poop deck" on social media, according to officials.

"It will come in. It will not stop," Alabama State Port Authority Director Jimmy Lyons said at a news conference Thursday. "We're going to do everything we can from our standpoint to ensure that this is as smooth as possible."

He estimated the ship would arrive between 7 p.m. and 10 p.m. Thursday.

Delighted passengers waved at media helicopters that flew out to film the ship. 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 on Saturday 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."

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."

Carnival Cruise Senior Vice President of Marketing Terri Thornton, however, insisted during a news conference at the port of Mobile Thursday, "Our understanding is it will be alongside this evening."

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 the 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. Customs officials will board the ship while it is being piloted to port to accelerate the disembarkation, 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 a 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.

"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.

Passengers have been texting ABC News that sewage is seeping down the walls from burst plumbing pipes and the carpets are wet with urine. Food is in short supply and reports have surfaced of elderly passengers running out of critical heart medicine and others on board the ship squabbling over scarce food.

With the ship expected to arrive at the passenger terminal Thursday evening, a phalanx of EMT's are set to triage disembarking passengers.

ABC News flew over the ship providing the first aerial views of the ship which showed curious passengers gathering at the rails, looking up at the ABC News plane. It also seemed from the air that deck chairs had been turned into beds.

"[There are] no showers. The smell's terrible. We are camping on deck," passenger Ann Barlow told ABC News.

Mary Poray, whose 12-year-old daughter Rebekah is traveling on the Triumph, teared up when shown images of the ship's deck.

"I just need to know that she's ok," Poray said. "The worst part was when she said, 'Mommy, I'm afraid I won't ever get to see you again."

Families of those on board say that Carnival is adding insult to the injury they already feel as photos of Carnival's owner Micky Arison are now ricocheting across the web. Arison, who also owns the Miami Heat, was seen sitting courtside at a basketball game on Tuesday as the Triumph crisis unraveled and Cahill was trying to apologize.

"At Carnival, our promise to our guests is to deliver a great vacation experience," Cahill said. "In this case, we did not deliver on that promise."

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Feb142013

Nightmare Aboard Crippled Carnival Cruise Ship Continues

Paul McConnell/U.S. Coast Guard via Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- A Texas couple's fantasy wedding quickly turned into a nightmare honeymoon when the fire-damaged Carnival cruise ship carrying them became stranded in the Gulf of Mexico.

Rob Mowlam, 37, and Stephanie Stevenson, 27, of Nederland, Texas, got married on the Carnival Triumph on Saturday.  The four-day cruise was meant to be back to shore on Monday, but was left disabled by an engine fire on Sunday.

The ship is being slowly towed to shore and is expected to dock in Mobile, Ala., on Thursday if weather permits.  The vessel is without air conditioning, many working toilets and some restaurant service.  Passengers, many who are sleeping in tents on deck, have told ABC News the smell on the ship is foul.

That is the honeymoon setting for Mowlam and Stevenson.

"It is an atrocious scene to be subjected to," Mowlam's brother, James Mowlam III, told ABC News.

James said he has not been able to communicate with his brother, but that his father has had sporadic communication with him.

The bride's brother, Justin Davis, told ABC News that his sister works for a doctor's office and the cruise was a gift from the doctor to the staff.

Davis has not been able to speak to Stevenson but said that her two young sons are being cared for by her mother.  He said his sister is tough and he guesses she's probably not scared.

"She might be a little aggravated at the situation, but I'd say she's [probably] handling it really well," he said.

Others on the ship do not seem to be handling the situation so well.

Elderly and disabled passengers aboard the ship are struggling to cope with the worsening conditions, according to at least one passenger.

"Elderly and handicap are struggling, the smell is gross," passenger Ann Barlow text-messaged ABC News.  "Our room is leaking sewage."

The head of Carnival Cruise Lines said the British-U.S.-owned company was working hard to ensure the thousands of passengers stranded on the disabled ship were as comfortable as possible while the vessel was being towed to a port in Alabama.

"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 Tuesday evening.

It was the first time since a fire erupted in Triumph's engine room Sunday, knocking out its four engines, that a company representative had spoken publicly.  The cruise ship, with roughly 4,200 people on board, was left bobbing like a 100,000-ton cork for more than 24 hours.  Giant sea-faring tugboats then hooked up to the ship and began towing the nearly 900-foot-long ship to land.

On Wednesday evening, Carnival announced that in addition to giving all passengers on board a full refund and a credit to use on a future cruise, each person would be receiving $500.

"We know it has been a longer journey back than we anticipated at the beginning of the week under very challenging circumstances.  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," Cahill said in a statement.

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

Carnival Apologizes for Stranded Cruise Ship

KRTK/ABC News(MOBILE, Ala.) -- Carnival Cruise officials apologized Tuesday for the crisis on the Carnival Triumph, the fire-damaged ship that has been stranded in the Gulf of Mexico. There are 4,200 people on board, living with limited power and sanitation. 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 Tuesday evening.

Carnival said original plans to haul the crippled ship to Progreso, Mexico, have been scrapped because the ship drifted about 90 miles north in strong currents. Instead, the Triumph is being towed to Mobile, Ala., and should arrive Thursday afternoon.

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

"Let me assure you that no one here at Carnival is happy about the conditions aboard the ship and we are obviously very sorry," Cahill said.

He said that most of the bathrooms are working, there is running water and that there has not been an abnormal number of people reporting to the infirmary.

On Thursday, the ship will be met by a medical triage center and extra security in case they need it, according to Alabama Cruise Terminal General Manager Sheila Gurganus.

The cruise line said it has been busily making arrangements for the ship's passengers when they reach the shore.

More than 1,500 hotel rooms have been reserved in Mobile and New Orleans and more than 20 chartered flights have been booked to fly passengers back to Houston on Friday after they have had a chance to rest, Cahill said. For those wishing to get home sooner, the company is organizing charter buses to Houston and Galveston.

"Every decision we've made since Sunday morning is to ensure the safety of our guests and to get them home as quickly as possible," Cahill said.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio







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