Monday, March 18, 2013

Carnival Cruise Lines Fleet Update

It seems that whenever I travel, something happens that I cannot keep readers of my blog updated about. Last week while I was in Europe to attend the christening of Vantage Deluxe Travel’s River Splendor (more about that starting tomorrow when I recover from jet lag), the Carnival Dream experienced a problem that is outlined in the March 14th Q&A below. Following the Q&A is a statement from Carnival Cruise Lines regarding that and other occurrences during the week.

Facts on Carnival Dream

Q: What is going on with Carnival Dream? What happened?
A: While at dock in St. Maarten yesterday, the ship’s engineering team conducted a regularly scheduled test of the ship’s emergency diesel generator. A malfunction occurred which has rendered the emergency generator inoperable. At no time did the ship lose power and the ship’s propulsion systems and primary power sources were not impacted. However, for a period of time last night, there were interruptions to the elevators and restroom services. Toilets and elevators are currently working, and have been since about 12:30am.

Q: Where was the ship when the problem occurred?
A: The Carnival Dream was at dock in St. Maarten during a regularly scheduled port of call visit and remains there currently. All passengers are safe and comfortable.

Q: Did the ship lose power?
A: At no time did the ship lose power and the ship’s propulsion systems and primary power sources were not impacted.

Q: Why is the ship not able to sail back to Port Canaveral?
A: While the ship’s propulsion systems and primary power source were not impacted, in an abundance of caution, we prefer not to sail with guests on board without an operational back up emergency generator.

Q: Are the toilets and elevators working?
A: Toilets and elevators are currently working, and have been since about 12:30am.

Q: Is it true that toilets were overflowing and sewage on floors, in hallways, etc.?
A: We have had multiple conversations with the ship’s management team. Based on the ship’s service logs and extensive physical monitoring of all public areas, including restrooms, throughout the night, we can confirm that only one public restroom was taken offline for cleaning based on toilet overflow and there was a total of one request for cleaning of a guest cabin bathroom. Aside from that there have been no reports of issues on board with overflowing toilets or sewage. The toilet system had periodic interruptions yesterday evening and was fully restored at approximately 12.30am this morning.

Q: Are guests allowed to get off the ship?
A: Guests have the option to get off the ship to visit the port of St. Maarten until their scheduled return home. We have also arranged complimentary water taxi service for guests who wish to explore other areas of the island.

Q: What is going to happen with the guests from here?
A: All guests are being flown via a combination of commercial and private chartered air to either Orlando, which is the closest air gateway to Port Canaveral, or to their final destination depending on their individual needs.

Q: Is it true that Carnival is flying everyone to Miami and putting them on buses?
A: No.

Q: What kind of compensation will they receive?
A: Guests on the current voyage will receive a refund equivalent to three days of the voyage and 50 percent off a future cruise.

Q: Are you cancelling future cruises?
A: We have cancelled the ship’s next voyage which is scheduled to depart on Saturday, March, 16. Guests scheduled to sail on this cruise will receive a full refund and 25 percent off a future seven-day cruise. Guests who re-book will have their current rate protected on the future sailing. Additionally, any non-refundable transportation related expenses will be reimbursed.

Q: How many passengers and crew are onboard?
A: There are 4,363 guests and 1,370 crew on Carnival Dream.

Q: What are you doing to help passengers without passports?
A: We have already addressed this issue with the relevant authorities and the guests will not have an issue traveling without passports.

Carnival Cruise Lines Update - March 16, 2013

We would like to share an update with you regarding the status of Carnival Dream, Legend and Elation and to answer your questions and clarify many misperceptions that are being driven by confusing and, in many cases, inaccurate media coverage. We would also like to update you on the status of our ongoing internal review in the wake of the Carnival Triumph incident.

Carnival Dream

As of this evening, we will have nearly completed the process of flying all guests from St. Maarten to either Orlando or their final destination via a combination of 21 charter flights and multiple commercial air flights. Additionally, we are providing some 600 hotel rooms in Orlando as needed based on travel plans, along with all motor coach transportation needs. Once all guests have left the ship, Carnival Dream will make preparations to sail back to Port Canaveral with the crew on board and we expect to sail on Sunday.

The ship’s power plant, propulsion and hotel systems are fully operational. Aside from some periodic interruptions to restroom and elevator service for a few hours Tuesday night, at no time have any of the ship’s systems and services not been functional. One public restroom was taken offline for cleaning Tuesday evening, but otherwise there were no issues with sanitation functionality or cleanliness on the vessel. Reports to the contrary are completely false.

We have had permission from all necessary regulatory authorities to depart from St. Maarten and sail to Port Canaveral since earlier this week. However, it was our decision not to sail with guests on board without a functioning back-up emergency generator. Upon arrival in Port Canaveral early next week, we will install a replacement emergency generator, followed by the appropriate inspections and approvals to operate our next scheduled voyage on Saturday, March 23rd.

Carnival Legend

Carnival Legend is experiencing a technical issue with the ship’s propulsion system which is having a minor effect on the ship’s maximum speed which is being reduced by a few nautical miles per hour versus normal capacity. The ship’s safety systems, steering and all hotel services are functioning normally and the ship, which has been achieving speeds of 19 knots, is scheduled to arrive in Tampa on time tomorrow morning.

On Sunday afternoon, Carnival Legend is expected to depart on schedule while technicians continue to make progress on the repairs. The ship is expected to operate its normal itinerary with the exception of one port – Grand Cayman – which is being replaced by Costa Maya. Any guests wishing not to proceed based on the change to one port of call have been given the option of cancelling and receiving a full refund.

Carnival Elation

At no time has the Carnival Elation been under tow or required the assistance of a tug boat. The ship continues to operate its normally scheduled itineraries. The ship is experiencing a minor technical issue with the steering function of one of its two redundant Azipod propulsion units and the tug that is trailing the ship while it travels on the Mississippi River is purely a precautionary measure. The ship is scheduled to return on time from its current voyage on Monday. Repairs are expected to be fully completed prior to the ship’s departure for its next cruise on Monday afternoon.

Our Commitment to Safety and Security

We would like to sincerely apologize to our guests for the disruption to their vacation plans as a result of these occurrences. The cause of each one is unrelated although we take each of them very seriously. As always, the safety of our guests and crew is our foremost priority. Carnival Cruise Lines carries some 4.5 million passengers a year and operates thousands of cruises without incident. Our historical safety record is outstanding. We have comprehensive maintenance programs in place that meet or exceed all regulatory standards and requirements.

We are committed to learning from any incident that may occur on one of our vessels to apply lessons learned and prevent future occurrences. We are presently conducting a comprehensive fleet-wide review that encompasses multiple operational areas, systems and training. We have assembled an expert team from across the company, as well as a variety of outside experts to complete the assessment. We expect to make an announcement early next week on the initial steps of our implementation program based on the results of our review. In the meantime, we are confident that we will continue to provide our guests with a safe, fun and memorable vacation experience and look forward to welcoming them on board.

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