Carnival of errors: second cruise this week hits snafu

Passengers aboard the Carnival Legend missed a stop at Grand Cayman Island Friday because of a mechanical problem. That followed challenges the day before with the Carnival Dream.

Andy Newman/Carnival Cruise Lines/AP/File
The Carnival Legend, a 2,100-passenger, 960-foot-long cruise ship arrives at Port Everglades in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., in this 2002 photo.

For the second time this week, a cruise ship operated by Carnival Corp. had technical problems that caused passengers to be rerouted.

Passengers aboard the Carnival Legend missed a one-day stop at Grand Cayman Island Friday, because of a mechanical problem that reduced the ship’s speed. The challenge, with one of the ship’s propulsion units, prompted the Legend to head straight toward its home port of Tampa, Fla.

“It is expected to arrive on Sunday as scheduled,” minus the Grand Cayman stop, the company said Friday.

This comes a day after news that the Carnival Dream had suffered a failure of an emergency generator while at port in St. Maarten, prompting Carnival to book passengers on airplane flights home as the problem is fixed.

The incidents add to bad publicity for the world’s largest cruise company, symbolized most prominently this year by the high-profile saga of a ship that lost power and plumbing for five days in the Gulf of Mexico. That ship, the Carnival Triumph, had to be towed to port after the February outage, which was brought on by an engine fire.

The equipment problems are having an impact on profits, Carnival says. In an earnings report Friday, the firm lowered its revenue forecast for the year, even as it reported a profitable quarter that ended Feb. 28.

One issue is luring travelers. Another is maintenance costs and downtime for ships. The Triumph had to cancel planned sailings through April, and the Dream’s next scheduled trip was canceled after the Thursday incident in St. Maarten.

Teams in four locations are assessing the safety and redundancy issues related to the Triumph debacle, Carnival Cruise Lines CEO Gerry Cahill said in a blog post this week. “We will come up with solutions that we can implement across our fleet,” he wrote. He said that “we have a very good safety record overall" and that the task ahead is to learn and improve.

For passengers on the Dream and Legend this week, Carnival is reimbursing passengers for missed portions of the trip and offering half price on a future Carnival cruise.

Carnival’s share price fell about 2 percent Friday, and it's down a little more than 5 percent so far in 2013. In a sign the whole industry faces a challenge meeting revenue hopes, top rival Royal Caribbean has seen its stock decline almost as much so far this year.

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