A barge hit Carnival Cruise Lines' 70,367-ton, 2,056-passenger Fantasy yesterday morning on the Mississippi River near New Orleans, according to the Times-Picayune.
Fantasy was on its way back to New Orleans from a Western Caribbean cruise when a rice barge, one of six being pushed by a towing vessel, struck the cruise ship's hull leaving a 30-ft. gash. Nobody was hurt in the accident, and after the collision Fantasy was able to continue on safely to the Erato Street Cruise Terminal in New Orleans.
The accident prompted Carnival to cancel the next five-night Western Caribbean cruise scheduled to depart yesterday evening. According to the Times-Picayune, officials had hoped to get the cruise underway and passengers had embarked -- but it was eventually determined that repairs would be too lengthy as the collision penetrated the ship's steel plating.
Passengers expecting to set sail were allowed to stay onboard for the evening, and all services from dining to entertainment were operational.
All passengers booked on the canceled voyage will receive a full refund as well as a discount of 25 percent on a future cruise of three, four or five nights. Passengers who booked air independently will be reimbursed $200 per person for flight-related expenses.
Fantasy's next cruise -- scheduled to depart on Thursday, February 15 -- is expected to sail as planned. We'll keep you posted.