Traverse City Record-Eagle

Business

March 20, 2013

Carnival ship out of service longer

MIAMI (AP) — The Carnival Triumph, which was crippled by an engine fire in the Gulf of Mexico last month leaving 4,200 people stranded, will be out of service longer than expected, Carnival Cruise Lines announced Tuesday.

The ship is now set to return to service June 3, meaning an additional 10 cruises will be canceled. Guests on the affected voyages will receive a full refund, reimbursement for non-refundable transportation costs and a 25 percent discount on a future cruise.

Also, the Carnival Sunshine, which is undergoing a scheduled full-ship makeover, will return to service May 5, following the cancellation of two European cruises.

The cruise line is making significant investments to enhance its backup systems and the scope of hotel services that can run on emergency power, and further improve each ship’s fire systems.

“We sincerely regret canceling these cruises and disrupting our guests’ vacation plans,” Carnival president and CEO Gerry Cahill said in a release. “We are fully committed to applying the recommendations stemming from our fleet-wide review and to make whatever investments are needed despite the difficult decision to impact people’s vacations.”

Mike Driscoll, editor of Cruise Week, said Carnival is smart to take the extra time and make the necessary improvements, because it shows the company is taking the recent shipboard problems seriously.

“The cancellations are painful in the short-term, both to Carnival customers and Carnival Corp.’s bottom line, but a very shrewd maneuver in the long-term,” Driscoll said. “Carnival is facing increasing scrutiny, not just from media, but from Congress, so they’re acting quickly to forestall legislative maneuvers that might require them to make such moves anyway down the line. The view is that it’s better to do it on your own, as opposed to having politicians require you to make changes.”

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