MV CARNIVAL TRIUMPH at Freeport. Photo and copyright Peter Knego 2010.
Latest Update from Carnival: 5:30 PM EST, Wednesday:
Carnival Cruise Lines has announced further compensation for the passengers aboard the CARNIVAL TRIUMPH, currently being towed via tug boats to Mobile, Alabama after an engine room fire early Sunday caused a loss of propulsion.
All guests on the current voyage will receive further compensation of $500.00 per person.
Gerry Cahill, President & CEO of Carnival Cruise Lines said: “We know it has been a longer journey back than we anticipated at the beginning of the week under very challenging circumstances. We are very sorry for what our guests have had to endure. Therefore, in addition to the full refund and future cruise credit already offered, we have decided to provide this additional compensation. I look forward to welcoming everyone to Mobile tomorrow and have mobilized our full resources to assist and support them as they travel home.”
As previously announced, all 3,143 guests on board will receive a full refund of the cruise along with transportation expenses and reimbursement of all shipboard purchases during the voyage, with the exception of gift shop, art purchases and casino charges. All passengers will also receive a future cruise credit equal to the amount paid for this voyage.
Update from Carnival, 2:30 PM, EST Wednesday: “Carnival has dispatched a third tugboat to assist in towing CARNIVAL TRIUMPH to port. The tugboat is currently en route from Port Fourchon, Louisiana, and is expected to arrive at the ship this evening to further support the vessel’s return to Mobile, Alabama, on Thursday. The U.S. Coast Guard continues to be on the scene as the ship is in tow.
We are mobilizing approximately 200 people to be on the ground in Mobile to support the CARNIVAL TRIUMPH’s arrival and guests’ travel home.
We are currently finalizing travel arrangements for guests from Mobile. CARNIVAL TRIUMPH guests were given the option of boarding buses directly to Galveston or Houston, Texas, or to spend the night in a hotel in New Orleans, where they could rest before flying out on private charters the next day. Carnival will cover all travel related and incidental expenses.
Carnival has reserved and arranged the following: approximately 100 motor coaches; more than 1,500 New Orleans hotel rooms; multiple charter flights from New Orleans to Houston on Friday; and transportation from Houston to the Port of Galveston so that guests may retrieve their cars if they drove to the port.
There are 3,143 guests and 1,086 crew on board. We continue to update the designated emergency contacts for all guests presently on board CARNIVAL TRIUMPH. Concerned family and loved ones of guests and crew may call 888.290.5095 or 305.406.5534.
Carnival Cruise Lines has also announced the cancellations of 12 additional voyages of the CARNIVAL TRIUMPH. The 12 cancelled cruises, which encompass sailings from Feb. 21 through April 13, 2013, are in addition to two previously cancelled voyages scheduled to depart Feb. 11 and Feb. 16.
Guests on the affected sailings will receive a full refund of their cruise fare, as well as non-refundable transportation costs, pre-paid shore excursions, gratuities, and government fees and taxes. Guests will also receive a 25 percent discount on a future three- to five-day Carnival cruise or a 15 percent discount on a six- to seven-day cruise. Travel agent commissions will be protected.
Carnival sincerely apologizes for this disruption in our guests’ vacation plans.
Carnival Triumph operates four- and five-day cruises from Galveston, Texas. The current CARNIVAL TRIUMPH voyage departed Galveston, Texas, on Thursday, February 7 and was scheduled to return on Monday, Feb. 11.”
Youtube video of Carnival CEO Gerry Cahill’s media press conference at 6:00 PM EST Tuesday:
To view, please click here.
In the interim since yesterday’s official update, there are many media reports from CARNIVAL TRIUMPH passengers who have made cell phone calls and sent e-mails to friends and relatives detailing the trying conditions on board. Although some electrical power has been restored to a number of elevators and a portion of the ship’s lido, there are complaints of backed up toilets, waste and odorous conditions on board. A four degree list has been corrected to a two degree list as the ship continues under tow to Mobile, where she is due to arrive on Thursday.
Statement from Carnival CEO Gerry Cahill: Monday, 8:30 PM EST:
“Earlier this evening, the first of two tugboats arrived and is tied up to the ship with the second expected in the early hours of Tuesday morning. We had originally planned to tow the ship to Progreso, Mexico, the closest port to the ship’s location early Sunday. Since that time, the ship has drifted about 90 miles north due to strong currents. This now puts the ship nearly equidistant to Mobile, Alabama and given the strength of the currents, it is preferable to head north to Mobile, rather than attempt to tow against them. We now expect to arrive in Mobile sometime on Thursday, roughly the same time the ship would have arrived in Progreso given the distance the ship has traveled. From there, we will provide the necessary transportation to get our guests home. Mobile also provides simpler re-entry, particularly for the 900 guests on board traveling without passports.
We have maintained constant contact with the ship’s officers. All of our guests are safe, and we’re doing everything we can to make them as comfortable as possible. The ship has maintained emergency generator power since the fire occurred and the technical team on board has been successful in gradually restoring auxiliary power to operate some basic hotel functions. Currently, public and cabin toilets are operational in certain sections of the ship, power has been restored to a limited number of elevators, and some power in the Lido dining area is providing for hot coffee and limited hot food service.
We’re terribly sorry for the inconvenience, discomfort, and frustration our guests are feeling. We know they expected a fantastic vacation, and clearly that is not what they received. Our shipboard and shoreside teams are working around the clock to care for our guests and get them home safely.”
Monday, 11:30 AM EST: “The vessel is currently without propulsion in the Gulf of Mexico and awaiting the arrival of two tugboats which will tow the ship to Progreso, Mexico, which is the closest port to the ship’s current location. The ship is expected to arrive in Progreso late Wednesday and guests will be flown from Mexico back to the U.S. on chartered aircraft which the company is currently working to arrange.
Currently, a team consisting of additional technical crew and guest service personnel is en route to the vessel and is expected to arrive via boat later today. All appropriate authorities including U.S. Coast Guard have been notified and a U.S. Coast Guard cutter is presently on site next to the Carnival Triumph and in communication with the ship.
The ship has maintained emergency generator power since the fire occurred and the technical team on board has been successful in gradually restoring auxiliary power to operate some basic hotel functions. Currently, public and cabin toilets are operational in certain sections of the ship, power has been restored to a limited number of elevators, and some power in the Lido dining area is providing for hot coffee and limited hot food service. Guests have been supplied with food and refreshments throughout yesterday and this morning and the ship has supplies on board to last until the vessel returns to port.
Yesterday afternoon, the CARNIVAL ELATION rendezvoused with the CARNIVAL TRIUMPH and supplied dinners for the guests on Carnival Triumph, along with additional provisions. Early this afternoon, the CARNIVAL LEGEND will also be on site to do the same.
We (Carnival) continue to update the designated emergency contacts for all guests presently on board CARNIVAL TRIUMPH. Concerned family and loved ones of guests and crew may call 888.290.5095 or 305.406.5534.”
Carnival’s press update (Sun. 7:30 PM EST): “The ship’s technical crew has determined the vessel will need to be towed to port. A tugboat is en route to the ship’s location and will tow the vessel to Progreso, Mexico, which is the closest port to the ship’s current location. This will enable us to disembark guests and get them home as quickly as possible. The ship is expected to arrive in Progreso Wednesday afternoon and guests will be flown from there back to the U.S.
Another Carnival ship, the CARNIVAL ELATION, is currently on scene and transferring additional food and beverage provisions to the CARNIVAL TRIUMPH.
We (Carnival) have contacted the designated emergency contacts for all guests presently on board CARNIVAL TRIUMPH. Concerned family and loved ones of guests and crew may call 888.290.5095 or 305.406.5534.
All guests on the current CARNIVAL TRIUMPH voyage will receive a full refund of the cruise, along with transportation expenses. In addition, they will receive a future cruise credit equal to the amount paid for this voyage, as well as reimbursement of all shipboard purchases during the voyage, with the exception of gift shop and casino charges.
The next two voyages of CARNIVAL TRIUMPH, scheduled to depart Monday, February 11 and Saturday, February 16 are being cancelled. Guests scheduled to sail on either of those voyages will receive a full refund, reimbursement for non-refundable travel expenses and a 25 percent discount on a future three to five-day cruise. Carnival is in contact with impacted guests to advise them of the situation.”
A Carnival press update from Sunday morning: “Guests are being provided with food and refreshments. All guests on the current voyage will receive a full refund inclusive of gratuities and any transportation expenses.
CARNIVAL TRIUMPH is currently on a four-day cruise that departed Galveston, Texas on Thursday. Carnival has contacted guests booked on the next voyage which was scheduled to depart tomorrow to make them aware of the situation and advise that tomorrow’s voyage will not depart as scheduled. Guests have the option of cancelling now and receiving a full refund or waiting for further information to determine if a shortened, partial voyage may be possible. Further updates will be provided as information becomes available.
We (Carnival) have contacted the designated emergency contacts for all guests on board. Concerned family and loved ones of guests and crew may call 888.290.5095 or305.406.5534.”
Initial Post: Carnival Cruise Line’s 101,509 gt, 1999-built CARNIVAL TRIUMPH suffered a fire early Sunday morning in the ship’s aft engine room. The blaze was snuffed by automatic fire extinguishing systems and the ship is currently without propulsion approximately 150 miles off the coast of Yucatan. An emergency generator is supplying electrical power, the ship is carrying 3,143 guests and 1,086 crew and there are no reports of casualties or injuries.
The crew are working on restoring engine power but in the interim, a tug has been dispatched in case it is ultimately needed. Guests have been asked to remain in public areas and on deck for the time being.
As of now, the ship’s scheduled cruise departure from Galveston on Monday will either be canceled or shortened due to the event. A final outcome will be announced once the situation has been fully assessed.
More, as story develops…
Having documented over 400 passenger ships and taken more than 200 cruises, MaritimeMatters’ co-editor Peter Knego is a leading freelance cruise writer, a respected ocean liner historian and frequent maritime lecturer both on land and at sea. With his work regularly featured in cruise industry trades and consumer publications. Knego also runs the www.midshipcentury.com website which offers MidCentury cruise ship furniture, artwork and fittings rescued from the shipbreaking yards of Alang, India. He has produced several videos on the subject, including his latest, The Sands Of Alang and the best-selling On The Road To Alang."
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