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Another Carnival cruise ends poorly: Passengers to be flown home.

Carnival said all the cruise passengers were 'safe and comfortable' after the ship experienced mechanical problems in port in St. Maarten. This is not what the company needed right now.

By Staff writer / March 14, 2013

A view of the Carnival Dream cruise ship moored at the A.C. Wathey Cruise Facilities, in Philipsburg, St. Maarten, Thursday. Caribbean journey came to an unexpected halt Thursday, as mechanical problems prompted the cruise line to give customers plane tickets home.

John Halley/Reuters

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Passengers on a Carnival cruise ship saw their Caribbean journey come to an unexpected halt Thursday, as mechanical problems prompted the cruise line to give customers plane tickets home.

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The incident ordinarily might not make much news, because the ship was at port in St. Maarten and all guests were reported “safe and comfortable” by the company.

But a “technical issue” wasn’t what Carnival needed right now. This problem aboard the Carnival Dream, which also resulted in the cancellation of the ship’s next scheduled voyage, comes after the company has endured two high-profile setbacks.

In February, an engine fire left the Carnival Triumph adrift in the Gulf of Mexico, stranding some 4,000 people (one-third of them passengers) for five days without working toilets or power. And last year, a Carnival subsidiary had a ship, the Costa Concordia, run aground off the coast of Italy, with 32 people killed.

The latest incident represents more bad news for the world's largest cruise provider. Still, the Dream's problem pales in comparison to the other events, according to early accounts by passengers and the company.

“At no time did the ship lose power,” Carnival said in a Thursday news release. “All guests are safe and comfortable. There were periodic interruptions to elevators and restroom services for a few hours last night.”

The company said more work is needed to resolve what it called a “technical issue” related to a malfunctioning emergency diesel generator. Instead of a seaborne journey home from the port of St. Maarten, passengers are being booked on private chartered flights or scheduled flights home.

“Guests on the current voyage will receive a refund equivalent to three days of the voyage and 50 percent off a future cruise,” the company said.

The Dream’s next trip, now canceled, had been scheduled to depart on March 16. The ship is based in Port Canaveral, Fla.

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