Carnival announced Thursday morning on its Facebook page that it will be flying all of its guests home via private charter and scheduled flights out of St. Maarten. The passengers, who have been stuck on the boat in port with toilets and elevators that were not always working, will get a refund for three days of the seven-day cruise and a 50 percent discount on their next cruise, the company said.
"We are also cancelling the ship's next voyage which is scheduled to depart on Saturday. Guests scheduled to sail on this cruise will receive a full refund and 25 percent off a future seven-day cruise. Guests who re-book will have their current rate protected on the future sailing.
"Additionally, any non-refundable transportation related expenses will be reimbursed," according to the post.
Another Carnival cruise ship full of vacationers appears in crisis just a month after fire crippled one of the line's ships in the Gulf of Mexico.
Due to what company officials called "a technical issue," passengers aboard the Carnival Dream docked in port at Philipsburg, St. Maarten in the eastern Caribbean were subject to intermittent interruptions in elevator service and working toilets for a few hours last night, according to
a statement released just before 10 a.m. Thursday. The statement also says repairs have been made so that "hotel systems are functioning normally" this morning.
The statement comes hours after vacationers aboard the ship contacted CNN to complain of conditions on the ship and report that authorities on board would not let passengers go ashore.
The U.S. Coast Guard confirmed this morning to the Palm Beach Post that the ship, which has about 5,000 passengers and crew, is stuck in port with a generator problem.
But the report to those authorities painted a less dire picture than that depicted in emails from passengers:
"They did notify the Coast Guard last night to let us know they're having generator problems. They still have power and they still have sewage. They're working on repairs," said Petty Officer Sabrina Laberdesque in Miami.
"The only thing they can't do is operate propulsion so they can't back up out of port," Laberdesque said just after 7 a.m. Thursday. The Coast Guard has not been called to intervene because the ship is already moored in port.
The Carnival statement reads in part:
"The Carnival Dream has a technical issue which our engineering team is currently working on. The ship is at dock in St. Maarten. At no time did the ship lose power but there were periodic interruptions to elevators and toilets for a few hours last night. However at this time all hotel systems are functioning normally and have been functional since approximately 12.30am. The ship has full power but is still at dock while personnel continue to work on the technical issue."
But passengers were clearly frustrated when they contacted CNN earlier in the morning.
Jonathan Evans of Reidsville, N.C., emailed CNN early Thursday and reported, "We are not allowed off of the boat despite the fact that we have no way to use the restrooms on board. ... The cruise director is giving passengers very limited information and tons of empty promises. What was supposed to take a hour has turned into 7+ hours."
The cruise ship was on a seven-day cruise. It boasts a capacity for about 3,600 travelers and 1,400 crew members. Its home port is Port Canaveral on Florida's east coast.
On Feb. 10, an engine fire crippled the Carnival Triumph, leaving 4,200 without working toilets or power until the ship was towed into an Alabama port four days later.