Another Carnival ship having power problems


 Gene Sloan

Another Carnival cruise ship — the Carnival Dream — is experiencing power problems, a month after the Carnival Triumph was left dead in the water in the Gulf of Mexico after a fire in a much-publicized incident.

Carnival said in a statement Thursday that the Carnival Dream was docked at the island of St. Maarten after suffering “a technical issue” that resulted in interruptions in the operation of toilets and elevators “for a few hours” Wednesday night. “At no time did the ship lose power,” the company said. “At this time, all hotel systems are functioning normally and have been functional since approximately 12.30 a.m. “The ship has full power but is still at dock while personnel continue to work on the technical issue.”

The cruise line moved fast to avert the kind of headlines about stranded and unhappy passengers that splashed around the globe last month. It said it was “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. ”

The cruise ship, which has a capacity of 3,646 passengers, was on a seven-day cruise and is based out of Port Canaveral, Fla.

PHOTO GALLERY: Tour the Carnival Dream

Some passengers complained that they weren’t allowed off the ship while toilets and elevators weren’t operating.

“We are not allowed off of the boat despite the fact that we have no way to use the restrooms on board,” Carnival Dream passenger Jonathan Evans of Reidsville, N.C., told CNN in an e-mail. “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.”

Another Carnival Dream passenger told CNN there is human waste on the floor in some bathrooms where toilets are overflowing.

Problems with the Carnival Dream comes two days after Carnival CEO Gerry Cahill told attendees of the annual Cruise Shipping Miami conference that the company had started a comprehensive review of its entire fleet to see what it can do to avert problems with power and fire aboard its vessels in the wake of the Carnival Triumph incident.

The 102,000-ton Carnival Triumph suffered an engine room fire on Feb. 10 while sailing in the Gulf of Mexico, leaving the vessel dead in the water.

Although quickly contained, the blaze resulted in the loss of power used to operate lights, air conditioning, elevators and toilets in passenger areas as well as kitchen equipment used to prepare hot meals. For a time, the vessel’s freshwater system also was down.

While ship technicians were able to restore limited toilet service and other functions over time, passengers described miserable conditions on the vessel over the four days it took to tow it to Mobile, Ala.

“We are now focused on the lessons that we can learn from the incident, and also what additional operational redundancies might be available,” Cahill told an audience of more than a thousand representatives from cruise lines, shipbuilders and ports on Tuesday.

He said the fleet-wide review was focused on four things, including how the line’s vessels handle the prevention, detection and suppression of fires, and the redundancies built into ship engine rooms.

A third area of inquiry is “what additional hotel facilities might be provided (to) run off the emergency generator” in the case of a main power loss, Cahill says. “Fourthly, basically, (is) the learnings and the potential changes we can make from the first three items. How do we implement those things.”

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