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.