Sewage Overflow or Trumped Up Charge? Carnival Dream Passengers Weigh In

March 14, 2013 | By | 19 Comments

Cruise Critic contributor Andrea Bennett was in St. Maarten Thursday when she learned about the grounding of Carnival Dream — stuck in port after mechanical issues cut short its Caribbean cruise — from tweets and Facebook posts. Passengers are being flown home by Carnival, and the next sailing, scheduled to leave Saturday from Port Canaveral, has been canceled. Some initial media reports painted a picture of overflowing toilets and power outages akin to what happened last month in the Gulf of Mexico on the fire-disabled Carnival Triumph.
When Bennett realized that her own ship — Royal Caribbean‘s Freedom of the Seas — was docked so close to Dream she could see into its cabins, she hustled down the gangway to talk to as many Dream passengers as she could to find out what really is going on onboard the disabled ship.

Passenger Cheryl Cruise from Glen Allen, Va., found out this morning from a CNN newscast on her cabin TV that Dream was grounded in port in St. Maarten due to a malfunction of the ship’s emergency diesel generator. Her daughter, Rio Cruise-Ross, said that despite two short electrical outages — when the ship’s crew was testing the generator and cut power — and an hour without running toilets last night, conditions on the ship haven’t been the nightmare reported on outlets such as CNN.
Alex Lacamu and his family of eight, from Houston, said that hysterical passengers had been tweeting from aboard the ship about overflowing toilets, but that they hadn’t seen any evidence of the problem. “It most likely happened after people had the bad judgment to keep using the public toilets after they told us they wouldn’t be working for about an hour,” he said. Other families said they had heard — but not seen — that a few public toilets were backed up, but had quickly been cleaned.
When asked about the toilet situation, Carnival spokesman Vance Gulliksen had this to say to Cruise Critic: “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 12:30 a.m. Thursday.”
The prevailing mood, said Elif Fitts, traveling with her family of four from Tampa, is “great.” The cruise line is providing free water taxi transport to and from port in St. Maarten, and passengers can stay out as late as they like. Most passengers were happy with the perks that came with being stuck. One family produced a letter from Carnival stating that all passengers will get a refund of what they paid for three days of the trip and a 50 percent discount on a two- to seven-night Carnival cruise in the future.
According to the passengers, Carnival has asked for all their flight information, since the staff has told them they are coordinating charter flights to take them directly back to Orlando, possibly as soon as Friday, to connect with their flights back home. Cruise-Ross said that her friend onboard had specifically chosen a cruise departing from Orlando because she was afraid of flying, and Port Canaveral — Carnival Dream’s departure and arrival port — was within driving distance of her home. “Some people don’t have passports on the cruise, so they have to take charters,” Cruise-Ross said, “and that’s really what is aggravating some people — not the conditions onboard.” So far, passengers still don’t know when they’ll be flying out, but most said they’re just trying to take advantage of what may be their last full vacation day.
Ronald Williams and Donald Walker, traveling from Tampa with their wives on a church couples’ retreat, said that the news reports have been exaggerated. “Things happen that are beyond your control,” Williams said. “And hey, it’s better than being stuck in the middle of the ocean with no plumbing [like last month’s incident aboard Carnival Triumph].”
All the ship’s activities and shows are going on as scheduled, the casino is open, and the Fitts family said that the ship is providing free Wi-Fi and telephone for travelers who need to call folks back home.
“You’re always going to get complainers,” Fitts said. “But the worst thing we’ve encountered so far is that they ran out of chocolate milk at breakfast this morning.”
Read more about Carnival Dream and other cruise industry happenings on our Cruise News page.
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    19 Responses to “Sewage Overflow or Trumped Up Charge? Carnival Dream Passengers Weigh In”

    1. RMa
      March 15th, 2013 @ 9:48 am

      I’ve heard enough of all these ‘reports’, with the modern technology, why don’t I see any pictures???

    2. Beverly Giewat
      March 15th, 2013 @ 9:51 am

      I don’t understand why people don’t have passports, I’ve always been asked to bring mine when travelling to foreign ports. For seasoned travelers, it just makes sense to bring one.

    3. Sherry Barbee
      March 15th, 2013 @ 10:21 am

      Thank you for this as a travel consultant I appreciated being able to post this on twitter and facebook for potential clients and sailing clients, don’t believe the media people they are so dramatic

    4. CavalierX
      March 15th, 2013 @ 10:37 am

      “they ran out of chocolate milk at breakfast this morning.”


    5. Sarah
      March 15th, 2013 @ 10:42 am

      I can’t wait to go in August. People are just taking advantage of the situation now. What about the two ships that hit rocks?

    6. Carlene Stephens
      March 15th, 2013 @ 10:47 am

      RCL and Celebrity will not allow you aboard ship without a passport. I cannot understand not having the same requirements on all cruise lines if you are sailing outside the continental USA.

    7. Wm H
      March 15th, 2013 @ 10:50 am

      @ Bev, Our state has enhanced drivers licenses that allow us to travel without a passport to the Caribbean. That’s why we do not have them

    8. Jeffrey Gardner
      March 15th, 2013 @ 11:13 am

      • TALK • TALK • TALK • TALK • TALK •
      That is ALL I have seen. But not any actual photos.
      People enjoy TALKING because they feel the thrill of power having what said is being “heard”.
      But the real TRUTH is in the eyes of the holder.
      It’s basically the same as my home toilet overflowing so I blame it on the sewage company.

    9. Tom
      March 15th, 2013 @ 11:16 am

      Closed loop cruises….cruises that begin and end in the same US port (ie: Miami to Miami or LA to LA) that visit the Caribbean, Bermuda, Canada, & Mexico….do not NOT require a passport. A driver’s license or state issued picture ID card along with an original or certified copy of your birth certificate are perfectly acceptable for US citizens. It is highly recommended just in case an incident like this occurs, but not required. Cruise lines urge the use of passports, but are not required to board for exempted cruises.

    10. Jeffrey Gardner
      March 15th, 2013 @ 11:22 am

      Em H you say your state has enhanced Drivers License?
      What is that! I never have heard of Enhanced Licenses.
      I have driven PROFESSIONALLY for over 20+ years but as saying goes… You learn something new every day.

    11. Dennis Cox
      March 15th, 2013 @ 11:24 am

      Isn’t Dream just providing hotel services until the passengers are all accommodated on flights back to the U.S.? As I understand it, Dream can sail at anytime but that Carnival, in the interest of safety, will not allow it to sail with guests on-board without a functioning emergency generator. Kudos to Carnival.

    12. Bunti
      March 15th, 2013 @ 11:30 am

      I am surprised at the word “grounded” in this story. Here in Alaska, when a ship is grounded it isn’t floating- it is stuck. It sounds like the Dream is stuck in port for repairs, not grounded, thank goodness. I am sorry for those next week who will miss their cruise, though.

    13. @Wm H
      March 15th, 2013 @ 11:48 am

      State enhanced drivers licenses really have nothing to do with it. State drivers licenses aren’t federally issued, hence they are not technically not recognized as a proper form of identification for entering or exiting any countries. The primary reason we were able to do it was that local countries were primarily lax border security, and the just the closeness between countries in North America.

    14. bg mcqueen
      March 15th, 2013 @ 1:20 pm

      i never believe the poop in the hall lies, i know better than that…and i know that people are nasty and just won’t follow directions…would rather be stuck in St. Maarteens on the Dream than at work!

      aghhh the toilet overflowed at work, guess i won’t come back to work here…just sayin’!

    15. Mary S
      March 15th, 2013 @ 4:22 pm

      Back in the day, when I was in Journalism school, you had to substantiate any story you composed. Guess all you need now is some Tweets from some disgruntled people.

    16. John Brumley
      March 15th, 2013 @ 6:34 pm

      Jerry Gardner,I am from Michigan and we have an Enhanced Drivers License available. When you apply for it you have to bring more I.D. and they ask you a bunch of questions before they will issue one. And of course it costs more. There is a lot more info about you electronically embedded in these.

    17. Susie Y
      March 17th, 2013 @ 10:15 am

      @ Carlene… RCL and Celebrity *do* allow U.S. passengers on closed loop sailings to board without a passport. All cruise lines do, the rule is set by the US Dept of state. I always sail with mine but they are not required if you are starting and ending your cruise from a US port.

      Directly from RCL’s requirements posted on their website: Exceptions:

      •United States citizens on cruises that begin and end at the same port in the United States can use a government-issued picture ID (i.e. driver’s license) AND a government-issued birth certificate or original Naturalization Certificate.

      It is not a Carnival only rule that you can travel without a passport. It’s the law of the United States, and it applies to every cruise line.

    18. Dan McNaughton
      March 19th, 2013 @ 12:39 pm

      Just returned home from this unfortunate blip on an otherwise fantastic vacation on the Carnival Dream. Carnival staff an the ships crew exceeded my expectations during the extended stay in St. Maarten. All ship functions (including toilets) worked fine except for a couple of very short interruptions for testing which were announced in advance of the services being turned off. I never saw any evidence of sewage overflow and to be honest, if you overflowed a toilet after being told it would not work, perhaps this was your first experience with “flush” plumbing. Can’t wait to take advantage of my refund and discount for my next Carnival Cruise!

    19. Dianna C.
      March 20th, 2013 @ 10:34 am

      I was on the Dream last week. There was no overflowing toilets – other than the disgruntled guest who plugged up his toilet by flushing a towel down it and took pics!! (so I heard) – the only interruptions were brief for testing purposes. Carnival treated their guests likes kings and queens! Food was fantastic and we loved being stranded in St. Maarten!

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