Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Caribbean Princess Cuts Cruise Short

Propulsion Problems
Cause Cancellation

More Troubles for Carnival Corporation

Princess Cruises, who's parent company, Carnival Corporation, has been in the news all year, has issued a statement that Caribbean Princess has experienced a problem with her port propulsion motor during its current sailing.  It has been determined that the ship's current sailing must be canceled to allow for repairs.

The ship has returned to San Juan where the repairs will take place. All passengers will be able to stay onboard through Sunday, to enjoy an extended visit to San Juan, until their previously scheduled flights home.

Caribbean Princess was sailing on a seven-day Southern Caribbean voyage from San Juan, which departed March 11. The ship was scheduled to call in St. Maarten,  St. Lucia, Grenada, Bonaire, and Aruba before returning to San Juan on Sunday, March 18.

More Lost Revenue / Refunds

Passengers will receive a full refund of the cruise fare plus a future cruise credit equal to 25% of the cruise fare paid on this voyage. Further information will be communicated to passengers onboard.

If you read the cruise contract, you'll notice that skipping a port doesn't entitle passengers to any compensation, but Princess Cruises has announced the compensation plan above.   An extended stay in San Juan isn't what the passengers had signed up for, so the refunds seem to be the right thing to do.

What About Next Sailing

At this time it is unknown how the repair process may impact the ship's next sailing, departing March 18. Princess Cruises will communicate any impact to the next voyage as soon as information is available and impacted passengers and their agents will be notified.

UPDATE:  After further review by technical experts, Princess Cruises has confirmed the full extent of the damage to the motor. They now know the time and work required to make the repairs and have had to cancel the next two voyages, departing March 18 and March 25. 

Passengers booked on these sailings will receive a full refund as well as a 25% credit towards a future cruise. Those who booked their flights through Princess will receive a full refund or a future air credit based on the type of air purchased. Passengers who booked their air independently can submit their air change fees to Princess for a refund.  Princess  will also refund any transfers, pre- and post-hotel packages and government fees and taxes.


Bad Timing

There never is a good time to have mechanical problems, but this is probably one of the worst times for this to occur.   This is Spring Break time, where the ships are full of passengers who have longed for the time off from school to take to the oceans and other warm destinations.

It will be interesting to see how the non-cruise media spins this story.   Reality is that ships are full of all kinds of mechanical parts, and everyone knows that they can break, and usually they break at the wrong time.   Just ask a "road warrior" how many times they were delayed due to mechanical problems with an airplane.   The difference is, odds are there's a spare plane or spare parts not far away, and usually you can be on your way after a short delay.  That's not the case with a cruise ship - there aren't any spare ships waiting around to come to the rescue of their sister-ship.

Let's hope that the repairs can be done quickly so that there isn't any further impact on the cruise schedule for Caribbean Princess.

Ship Profile | Itineraries & Pricing | Deck Plans | Dining Menus 
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Maiden Voyage 2004 (Refurbished: 2009)
Passengers (dbl) 3,100
Tonnage 113,000 Tons
Normal Crew Size 1200
Length 950 feet
Crew Nationality N/A
Beam 193 feet
Nationality of Officers British/Italian
Draft 27 feet
Nationality of Dining Staff N/A
Speed 24 knots
Registration Country Bermudan

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