Carnival Triumph Plagued By Prior Propulsion Problems

When the news broke that the Carnival Triumph's engines failed due to a fire while the cruise ship was 150 miles out in the Gulf of Mexico, passengers on prior cruises quickly began voicing their concerns about propulsion problems on prior cruises.

You can read the comments to our article on Sunday entitled Here We Go Again: Engine Room Fire Cripples Carnival Triumph Cruise Ship where Carnival passengers across the country stated that their cruises had been marred by missed ports and slow voyages due to propulsion issues.

Other websites, such as the popular Maritime Matters, posted numerous comments from concerned Carnival Triumph Cruise Ship Firecruisers about prior engine problems on the Triumph.  

There were also a number news stations which aired stories about persistent problems about this Carnival cruise ship. KLTV aired a program Texans Angry Over Cruise Experience (video) where one Carnival passenger complained about the cruise line's decision to "put money ahead of safety."

The problem in cases like this is that the cruise lines operate their ships virtually 24 hours a days, seven days a week, 52 weeks a year.  The ships have a tight itinerary, rushing from port to port, and then disembarking several thousand passengers and re-loading the ship to head out again. Down time for a few days for maintenance means many millions of dollars lost and lots of unhappy customers. So the ships (as well as the crew) are pushed to and sometimes past their limits.   

One of the readers of our Cruise Law News Facebook page made this insightful observation yesterday:

"Money Talks - It is sad to hear that the news is now surfacing that prior to this ill-fated cruise that there were issues on recent previous cruises, which will cause a lot of backlash against the company. If an enquiry is launched it could mean trouble for Carnival. I just want to mention that crew onboard are mostly tip driven and senior officers are incentivised on revenue, so the motivation to ensure the cruise happens is pretty high from a crew and officer point of view. If the ship could not leave port it would mean that not only does the company lose revenue, the crew would be put at a disadvantage financially as well."

Have a thought?  Please leave a comment.

Photo credit: U.S. Coast Guard / Reuters

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Comments (14) Read through and enter the discussion with the form at the end
Cynthia Garland - February 12, 2013 5:54 AM

This is a catch 22 situation, if they don't sail they loose money and the passengers complain. If they sail, they still loose money and more money for compensation and the passengers still complain. They need to make sure there ships are maintained by not booking these ships and taking them to dry dock to keep them in good running order. Instead of putting inocent passengers on a ship that may "fail to sail"

d90 - February 12, 2013 7:21 AM

I'm one of the Carnival crew members and I was on Triumph last year.In 2011,in september we have been on Dry Dock in Freeport,Bahamas,and we heard that engine is in really bad condition.I left the ship in april 2012,and there was few times that we heard about problems with engine.

Mel - February 12, 2013 8:37 AM

My son is onboard this ship and I am most upset at the conditions he is having to endure due to a lack of care or concern for passenger's safety. With so many posting comments on other articles about prior problems with this ship, it is obvious the cruise line was aware of the engine issues and decided to put money before passenger and crew safety.

Debbie - February 12, 2013 10:10 AM

My husband and I were on this ship two years ago and they had problems back then. I think Carnival should be held legally responsible for sailing a ship with engine issues and endangering passengers and crew. I think there should be a fleet wide inspection of all of their ships top to bottom. If there are problems found they should not be allowed to sail until the problems are fixed.

Dana - February 12, 2013 10:50 AM

You are so right!! What I don't understand is; doesn't Carnival have multiple ships in certain ports? For example; in the New Orleans port; aren't there two ships there? Carnival Conquest and the Elation? So why not take an extra ship from this port; put the Triumph in dry dock and just have one ship sailing from New Orleans instead of two? I understand the need to make money; but Carnival is losing money instead of making a profit because of raggedy ships!!

Barb S - February 12, 2013 11:07 AM

People were not endangered. They were inconvenienced. There is a big difference that people overlook.

u - February 12, 2013 1:09 PM

Was on the triumph last March and was highly disappointed. The boat was in very poor condition and I did make a complaint by writing a letter and speaking to several people in the complaint department which solved nothing. Have traveled with carnival twice before but after last year I will probably never travel with them again. When this story broke I was the least bit surprised.

MMM - February 12, 2013 3:28 PM

What horrible drivel!!!!! All that is known at this point is that there was a fire on the ship. Was it a mechanical problem?....crew member error? It is unknown at this time. I think it is rather amazing that there was a fire and it was successfully extinguished without a single injury. Now that is a story! It is unfortunate that this incident occurred but it sounds like Carnival is doing all that it can. I suspect that the "reports" from onboard are grossly exaggerated as usually happens in these types of incidents.

Ken Burge - February 12, 2013 3:41 PM

A fire on board a vessel 150 miles out to sea is NOT an inconvenience. It is a life threatening incident that shows a lack of preparedness, lack of inspection and maintenance and a general disregard for safety. The number one concern when sailing is fire. Any professional maritime company should be embarresed that a fire even occured on board one of it's vessels. When your on land and OSHA finds out that you knew about a hazard and did nothing about it they call it a WILLFUL violation.

Jerry B - February 12, 2013 4:24 PM

When "Barbara S" said "people were not endangered" she might reconsider that statement if people start to demonstrate the symptoms of Water-borne diseases, such as typhoid fever, cholera, leptospirosis and hepatitis A
You can have crew members coming from all over the world on that ship.

Norovirus may look like a walk in the park.

Richard Lanni - February 12, 2013 6:06 PM

I was a full-time Cruise Consultant for 38 years, until the last company I worked for went out-of-business in November 2008 and I was forced to retire. During those 38 years I was convinced that the cruise industry was where it was because of Carnival and Ted Arison. But, since Bob Dickinon retired, the company seems to have fallen apart. Many personnel departures. Perhaps Mickey Arison is now spending too much time and MONEY on the Miami Heat and not enough time, money and attention on his cruise lines. If he no longer has the time, or money to spend on the cruise companies, perhaps he should sell them to somebody who does!

Brenda Mack - February 12, 2013 8:50 PM

I and 7 travelling companions were on the Triumph Jan. 28. 2013 thru Feb. 2, 2013. We received an email Feb. 27, 2013 stating there were engine problems and our departure would be delayed the next day. It seemed that they would need the extra time to correct the problem and then we would set sail. Quote: "Depending on the progress of the repairs, we will either visit Progreso or Cozumel. The good news is that we will remain docked overnight at either port". They did offer a total refund at this point or we would get a $50 onboard credit. So, we figured we had 50% chance of going to Cozumel and it seemed all would work out. The next day we were informed that the "parts" had arrived in Progreso and the repairs would be done there. Really? We thought that had been addressed before we left AND DID NOT REALIZE WE HAD SET SAIL IN A CRIPPLED SHIP. We booked a Carribean Cruise and never left the Gulf of Mexico. We hobbled into Progreso and then hobbled back to Galveston and of course was late returning. I share this story, only to show that Carnival is really not as concerned about their passengers as we would like us to think. Carnival sent the Triumph out to sea on THREE cruises, one after the other, knowing full well the ship was dealing with the original engine problems. Our hearts go out to those on the ship now as they are dealing with the poor judgement consequences made by Carnival.

E. Paselk - February 13, 2013 10:28 AM

wow, if that was a air plain it would not be flying, it would be grounded then insp. by the faa befor it would be allowed to fly agin. may be the coast guard should step in and insp. these cruise ship. your talking about 2000 thousand to 6000 thousand people + crew on these big ships... seems to me somthing needs to be done befor somthing really bad happens.

Sylvia - February 13, 2013 2:30 PM

The Carnival brand is owned by the same company as Princess Cruises and they have never had similar problems in the 20+ years I have cruised with them. This problem seems to be related to Arinson's desire for big profits over safety. There seems to be a disconnect between safety and profits. Carnival Cruise line needs to pay hefty fines and be inspected thoroughly between cruises and be made to pay for a cruise for each passenger on the other brands owned by the parent company. While I know that the cruise contract has serious limitations on damages, the bad press will hurt the bottom line of the company. If a passenger dies or is determined to be permanently disabled by the probable food poisoning/germs from lack of operating toilets etc., the bad publicity will really hurt. I also think that John Heald, the brand ambassador who was on the prior cruise from hell hasn't been on his Facebook or blog since this happened.

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