December 4, 2002
Lost amidst all of the recent hoopla over outbreaks of Norwalk virus and salmonella, and a burning ship, was another cruise mishap. Carnival’s Holiday ran aground last week off the cost of Playa del Rey. The ship, buffeted a bit by wind and seas became lodged on a sandbank after most passengers had been tendered to shore for the day’s port-of-call. Throughout the day, ship officers tried a variety of tactics to gently move the ship off the sandbank, including shifting ballast (which is where fresh water is stored). Alas, to no avail, and on Wednesday, still stuck, passengers were offered a free shore excursion and arrangements were made to charter a plane to return them to New Orleans on Thursday -- the day the cruise was slated to end in the first place. There was minor inconvenience to passengers during the time aground. When water service was interrupted, guests were given free Evian water and soft drinks were offered at bars free-of-charge. Ship activities proceeded as normal (save for the casino and gift shops, which by law can¹t be open while vessels are in port). The weekend’s cruise, scheduled to depart from New Orleans on Thursday, was canceled for obvious reasons and the ship was finally freed on Friday morning (with the help of a local tug). It returned to New Orleans on Sunday. Holiday’s following voyage sailed away as scheduled and Carnival reports that the ship's "excursion" into the sandbar resulted in no damage to the vessel.