Update: Mechanical Problem on Carnival Ship Delays Cruise

March 14, 2013
Update from Carnival: While personnel continue to work on the technical issue, we are making arrangements to fly all guests home via private charter flights and scheduled flights from St. Maarten. Guests on the current voyage will receive a refund equivalent to three days of the voyage and 50 percent off a future cruise.

We are also cancelling 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.

(Update: 10:45 a.m. EDT) -- Just weeks after a fire left Carnival Triumph adrift in the Gulf of Mexico without power or working toilets, reports of similar problems with power and plumbing have come in from passengers on Carnival Dream's current Caribbean sailing.

The ship remains docked in Phillipsburg in St. Maarten's Great Bay -- according to its own global positioning signal and the port's webcam -- despite having been scheduled to depart for Port Canaveral at 5 p.m. local time, last night.

Initial reports concerning the ship's delay have come directly from passengers onboard, according to the United States Coast Guard and other sources.

Petty Officer Jon-Paul Rios, USCG, told Cruise Critic: "The Coast Guard was notified at 3 a.m. from a passenger reporting overflowing sewage and power outages onboard the vessel Carnival Dream.

"We contacted the cruise ship captain directly and asked what the situation was. He told us there was no problem with power or sewage, and that the main generator is fully operational. The only casualty is the propulsion system … The ship is unable to leave port until they are able to fix the problem, and staff are keeping everyone onboard for accountability purposes."

Cruise Critic member mynupasttime, who is onboard, posted this message on our forums: "Hello from Dream. I am on roll call for march 9 cruise and on board now. We were to leave St Martin at 5 yesterday and now at 3 am, we are still here in port. At first, no toilets or elevators. Those back on but "mechanical " issues. No updates since 9 pm. We are supposed to be at sea today and Friday to make it back to Canaveral by Sat morning. As a fellow cruise critic member and know how excited I was this week last time, and have friends boarding this sat also, thought you guys may want to keep an eye out on carnival site and webcam to see if we are moving. We are more than 10 hrs behind schedule at this point."

Carnival's most comprehensive response to inquires, thus far, came in an update to its Facebook page this morning explaining the ship has a technical issue that engineers onboard are working to fix. However, the line has denied reports of power outages, saying "at no time did the ship lose power, but there were periodic interruptions to elevators and toilets for a few hours last night ... at this time all hotel systems are functioning normally and have been functional since approximately 12.30am."

With Dream's departure from St. Maarten delayed by more than half a day to this point -- and two sea days scheduled to bring the ship back to Port Canaveral -- it is becoming increasingly unlikely that the ship's next cruise will depart on time. Cruise Critic has contacted Carnival multiple times for information about the ship's status and timetable and is still awaiting a response. Carnival Dream is on a seven-night Caribbean cruise.

--by Jamey Bergman, U.K. Production Editor