March 15, 2013 Updated March 15, 2013
According to Cruise Industry News, those flights began departing St. Maarten 9 a.m. today and will continue through Sunday. A total of 10 Delta Airlines flights are expected to carry more than 2,000 passengers today, while another six Delta flights will take some 1,300 passengers Saturday. The last group of passengers will be flown out on four flights Sunday.
Passengers with cars at the Port Canaveral dock will be bused from Orlando to the pier.
(March 14, 2:45 p.m. EDT) -- Weeks after a fire left Carnival Triumph adrift in the Gulf of Mexico, mechanical issues cut short another Carnival cruise amid reports of non-working toilets and elevators.
The 3,646-passenger Carnival Dream suffered a technical issue with the ship's backup emergency diesel generator Wednesday while docked in St. Maarten. "During regularly scheduled testing of the ship's emergency diesel generator, a malfunction occurred," the line said in a statement. The ship was scheduled to depart St. Maarten Wednesday at 5 p.m. local time and conclude its week-long Eastern Caribbean cruise Saturday in Port Canaveral.
Dream remains docked in St. Maarten's Great Bay while personnel continue to work on the issue. The line said it is making arrangements to fly passengers home via private charter flights and scheduled flights from St. Maarten. Carnival spokesman Vance Gulliksen said it doesn't anticipate issues repatriating passengers sailing without passports. "We are currently interfacing with St. Maarten and U.S. authorities to work through that."
"While the ship's propulsion systems and primary power source were not impacted," Gulliksen said in an e-mail, "in an abundance of caution, we prefer not to sail with guests on board without an operational back up emergency generator."
Carnival also announced compensation for affected passengers.
Passengers on the current voyage will receive a refund equal to three days' cost of the canceled voyage and 50 percent off a future cruise. Carnival has also canceled Dream's next cruise, scheduled to depart from Port Canaveral Saturday, March 16. Impacted passengers will receive a full refund and 25 percent off a future seven-day cruise. Those who re-book will have their current rate protected on the future sailing. Additionally, any non-refundable transportation related expenses will be reimbursed, the line said.
Cruise Critic member mynupasttime and other passengers onboard said some toilets and elevators were temporarily out of order Wednesday night. CNN also cited passenger reports of overflowing sewage, reminiscent of the scenes from Carnival Triumph's February cruise. Triumph, which suffered a power failure in the Gulf of Mexico, spent five days at sea and was tugged to Mobile, Alabama for repairs.
"At no time did [Carnival Dream] lose power, and the ship's propulsion systems and primary power source was not impacted," Carnival said in a statement. "All guests are safe and comfortable. There were periodic interruptions to elevators and restroom services for a few hours last night. However, all hotel systems are functioning normally and have been functional since approximately 12.30 a.m ... Yesterday was a scheduled call St. Maarten. Guests were able to spend the full day in port and have the option of continuing to do so until their scheduled return home. All of the ship's activities and facilities are fully operational."
Gulliksen had this to add: "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."
Carnival Dream launched in fall 2009; the ship underwent a scheduled two-week dry-dock in October 2012.
We have reached out to several other Cruise Critic members who were signed up for the March 9 Carnival Dream Roll Call for eyewitness accounts.
Cruise Critic member Zen88, who's onboard, weighed in via an e-mail sent from her iPad. "All is great. Having the best vacation ever. Enjoying ALL of the free beverages and fun. News is a total lie. Flying back to Orlando tomorrow or Sat. Really awesome place to be stranded! People are great. Carnival has been great and ship is fully functional...."
Reporter Andrea Bennett, who's in St. Maarten covering the story for Cruise Critic, added that debarked passengers said Carnival is offering free Wi-Fi and phone, and free water taxi tickets. Gulliksen confirmed this information.
According to the United States Coast Guard, the initial report concerning the ship's mechanical issues came directly from a passenger onboard. 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. Rios also told CNN Carnival has not requested assistance from the Coast Guard, which has no jurisdiction in the ship's current location.
"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."
We've asked Carnival for clarification.
This latest incident occurred just days after Carnival President and CEO, Gerry Cahill, outlined a fleetwide safety review being undertaken in the wake of the Triumph fire.
--by Dan Askin, Senior Editor and Jamey Bergman, U.K. Production Editor