Carnival Cruise Lines cancelled 12 more voyages of the Carnival Triumph from Feb. 21 through April 13. The Feb. 11 and Feb. 16 departures were previously cancelled. Also on Feb. 13, Carnival said it is giving guests on the ship now an additional $500 per person in compensation. “We know it has been a longer journey back than we anticipated at the beginning of the week under very challenging circumstances,” Carnival President and CEO Gerry Cahill said. “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 ... and have mobilized our full resources to assist and support them as they travel home.”
Passengers booked on the cancelled sailings will get a full refund of their cruise fare, as well as non-refundable transportation costs, pre-paid shore excursions, gratuities, and government fees and taxes. They’ll also get 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.
The Carnival Triumph lost propulsion and much of its onboard power in the Feb. 10 engine room fire and then drifted in the Gulf of Mexico until tug boats arrived to tow it to Mobile, Ala., where it expects to arrive Feb. 14. On Feb. 13, Carnival dispatched a third tugboat to help tow the ship. The tugboat was expected to arrive at the ship in the evening from Port Fourchon, La. The U.S. Coast Guard continues to escort the vessels. Parent company Carnival Corp. estimated the impact from the incident, including voyage disruptions and repair costs, will reduce earnings per share by 8 to 10 cents in the first half of 2013.
Cahill said the company has reserved more than 1,500 hotel rooms in New Orleans for guests to “rest and relax” in before taking chartered flights to Houston on Feb. 15. Carnival also has arranged transportation to take guests from Houston back to Galveston, where the cruise started on Feb. 7 and where many guests parked their cars at the port. Alternatively, Cahill said in a Feb. 12 press conference, “guests who feel they need to get home right away” will be able to take motorcoach transportation the evening of Feb. 14 to Houston or Galveston. Carnival will cover all travel-related and incidental expenses.
Since Mobile is no longer a Carnival homeport, the company is mobilizing embarkation, guest logistics, operations and care teams to Mobile from Miami and New Orleans to help with the disembarkation. More than 200 people are expected to be on-site.
The Triumph is currently operating with emergency generator power, but reports from passengers say there is no air-conditioning, few working toilets and long waits for food. Some reportedly are sleeping outside to escape heat and stuffiness in their staterooms. The fire is under investigation by the U.S. Coast Guard and National Transportation Safety Board.
Cahill said the company’s focus since learning of the fire has been to ensure safety of the guests and get them home as quickly as possible. He said there were initial hopes the ship could restart the diesel generators, but that the company immediately contracted with two tug boats from Mobile and Pregreso, Mexico, in case they were needed. “That enabled us to deploy the tugs very quickly once we realized we needed their assistance,” he said. Cahill also said the Carnival Legend, Carnival Conquest and Carnival Elation all delivered food and supplies to the stricken vessel.