Passengers from the Carnival Dream were heading 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 they 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 on Wednesday. A company statement said the ship did not lose power but that there were periodic interruptions to elevators and restrooms.
LINK: Full statement: http://www.carnival.com/Core/FAQ.aspx?faq=update
Carnival said all systems were functioning normally Thursday but the company had decided to make flight arrangements for the passengers to return home by air.
Carolyn Spencer Brown, editor-in-chief of Cruise Critic.com, says this type of incident would normally go unnoticed, except for the recent accidents on Carnival. Last month, there was a fire on Triumph, leaving 4,200 stranded for five days without working toilets or power. There was also a fire two years ago on Carnival Splendor.
"On the heels of two other incidents, I think it's going to get a lot of attention, and I think that's understandable," Spencer Brown said.
In Tampa, the Carnival Paradise got ready to leave Thursday. Most passengers were left without a second thought about the less-than-ideal cruise that's now stuck.
"It doesn't matter, we're going to get away, have a good time," said Nancy Cardinale.
Carnival Dream's first voyage was in 2009, but many other carnival ships are much older by 15 years or so. But Spencer Brown says Carnival does spend money to upgrade their ships. She says there's a bigger concern here for the company:
"There is a perception out there that Carnival is maybe not in control as it should be, when it comes to operating the ships, and that is something Carnival is going to have to clean up," she said.
The Dream is on a seven-day cruise of the Caribbean with 3,646 passengers. The ship's March 16 voyage from Port Canaveral has been canceled.
Information from the Associated Press was used in this report.