A number of news sources are reporting that the Carnival Fantasy is experiencing a mechanical "technical problem" affecting its propulsion system, which limits the ship's maximum. Carnival said that because of this problem, the Fantasy will not call on its scheduled port stop, Cozumel, Mexico, and will remain at sea for the duration of the cruise.
Instead, Carnival will take the ship on a three-night "Cruise to Nowhere."
Carnival offered its booked guests the option to cancel and receive a full refund, or stay on board and sailing on the "cruise to nowhere." Passengers who decided to stay on the cruise reportedly will receive a 50 percent refund of their cruise fare, a $50 onboard credit and a 50 percent toward a future cruise.
The Fantasy is 27 years old.
"Cruises to nowhere" are illegal under the Passenger Vessel Services Act (PVSA) of 1886 unless the cruise line obtains a special waiver.
Recently, several cruises on Carnival and other lines have been affected by what the companies characterize as "technical issues" with the ships' engines.
The Anthem of the Seas is experiencing propulsion problems, necessitating a slight alteration in its current itinerary according to the popular RCL Blog. The ship will remain in Nassau, for two days, where repairs will be attempted to correct the problem.
The propulsion problem issue is reportedly due to an electrical issue in one of the pod systems. The Anthem has been cruising at reduced speed on this voyage. AIS systems show it sailing between 15 and 17 knots.
Last February, the Anthem of the Seasencountered a large storm after leaving Bayonne, New Jersey. The Coast Guard announced that one of the vessel's two azipods malfunctioned during the storm and that the Anthem returned to port in New Jersey with only one propulsion unit operating. The Coast Guard stated that "during the storm the port azipod, which is one component of the vessel's propulsion system, burned out all four clutches." Royal Caribbean, which initially denied any damage or injury to the ship or the passengers and then claimed that the only damage to the ship was cosmetic, was forced to try and quickly replace the clutches on the storm damaged azipod before the ship's next cruise. The cruise line also decided the starboard azipod 's clutch also needed to be replaced "as a precaution," raising the possibility that it also sustained damage during the storm.
Celebrity Cruises announced that it is canceling the April 8, 2017 cruise aboard the Celebrity Summit and is shortening the April 17, 2017 cruise from seven to only four days, passengers are reporting. Celebrity is offering a 25% cruise credit and $200 per person to go toward re-booking airfare. We received this message advising of the changes this past weekend:
" . . . there are about 4000+ passengers who have just had their spring holiday ruined. Seems Celebrity Summit is having a problem achieving full cruising speed and is canceling cruises just two weeks out, with a horrible offer of compensation. The ship has had reduced ports & port times for a few weeks because it is hobbling along, all while Celebrity says "don't worry folks, no safety issues here." So now they have completely canceled the 7 days out of San Juan on 4/8/17 and reduced the 4/15/17 cruise for 7 days going out of San Juan to only 4 days. She looks to be going into dry dock for 10 days.
Imagine flying to San Juan for a 4 day cruise? The only air fare compensation is $200 per person which is ridiculous. You would think they would be working with each passenger to get them booked on another cruise for that week, but the passengers say that is not the case. They got an email saying you are canceled. Either completely or you are now on a mini cruise and we will refund you via on-board credit the prorated daily rate for your nice 7 day that is now a mini 4 day. Am not on this cruise personally but Cruise Critic has threads and each roll call does as well and it is apparent there are a lot of mad people. So if each person keeps their airfare and goes on this 4 day mini cruise they have to then get a hotel for 3 nights in San Juan for Easter week which is obscenely expensive. All these passengers are asking what to do....most do not seem to realize they have little to no rights..."
The Summit is apparently suffering from a reduction in its propulsion which has affected some of its prior cruises.
Passengers booked on these cruises are now expressing their natural frustration of having to try and find an alternative vacation at the last minute at high season when the hotel and airfare expenses are appreciably higher. Many people have asked us for advice whether this is "legal." Unfortunately, the legislation which the cruise passenger's advocacy group was successful in passing is quite limited in scope and provides no legal recourse under these circumstances. There is, of course, nothing that benefits anyone other than the cruise line in the ticket issued to the passengers.
As a practical matter, affected passengers probably will lose at least a minimum of $1,000 each in higher airfare and hotels expenses. Considering that there are several thousands of passengers affected, these new and unexpected expenses will probably total well over several millions of dollars.
It's fanciful to expect that the cruise industry, which is bent on maximizing profits, notwithstanding the tremendous profits that they are collecting, will offer more than the nominal cruise credit and the minimal $200-a-person airfare amount.
The cruise lines will remind passengers that they should always consider purchasing insurance which applies to this type of occurrence.
March 29, 2017 Update: Several readers brought to my attention that this is not the first time that the Summit has had to alter its itinerary because of propulsion problems. A seven day cruise to Alaska was canceled back in September of 2004 when Celebrity put the ship in dry-dock for repairs. Passengers booked on the canceled cruise received a full refund and a free future cruise. More recently, Celebrity delayed the start of its March 27th cruise on the Summit from San Juan due to problems with the ship's propulsion system, which forced the Summit to sail at reduced speeds. The ship had already been docked 3 days in Cozumel earlier in the month while repair efforts were attempted.
Propulsion problems are relatively common in the cruise industry. Last year, nineteen cruise ships experienced propulsion issues which interrupted and delayed cruises.
Today, the RCL Blog reported that the Anthem of the Seas is sailing at a reduced speed due to propulsion issues.
Photo credit: Wknight94 - CC BY-SA 3.0, commons / wikimedia.
Yesterday, Carnival notified its customers that it was modifting the itinerary of the Carnival Paradise for the following dates: 3/13/17, 3/27/2017, 4/10/2017, 4/24/2017, 5/8/2017, 5/22/2017, 6/5/2017.
Dear Carnival Paradise Guests:
We want to take a moment to provide you with some important information regarding your upcoming cruise. Carnival Paradise is experiencing a technical issue which is only affecting the ship's maximum cruising speed. While our technicians make the necessary repairs; we will need to operate a modified itinerary. We have replaced our visit to Grand Cayman with a call to Costa Maya and will be visiting Cozumel on Wednesday instead. We will also be extending our time in Cozumel for you to experience a little more of this exciting port of call. For your enjoyment; an on board credit of 25 USD; per person; will be applied to your Sail and Sign account.
Below is our revised itinerary:
Day Port of Call Arrive Depart
Mon Tampa, FL 4:00 PM
Tue Fun Day @ Sea
Wed Cozumel; Mexico 8:00 AM 8:00 PM
Thu Costa Maya. Mexico 7:00 AM 3:00 PM
Fri Fun Day @> Sea
Sat Tampa, FL 8:00 AM
Pre-purchased Carnival shore excursions for Grand Cayman will be automatically refunded to your onboard Sail & Sign account. Pre-purchased Carnival shore excursions for Cozumel will be automatically adjusted to the new day. For information on fun tours in Costa Maya, please visit www.carnival.com. We sincerely apologize for this change and thank you for your understanding. Most importantly; we look forward to welcoming you aboard for a fun and memorable vacation.
This comes just a day after Carnival had to mofify the itinerary of the Carnival Splendor after it developed what Carnival calls a "technical issue" with one of its engines at sea.
Update: We received the following statement from Carnival:
CARNIVAL SPLENDOR STATEMENT
March 2, 2017 - 11 a.m.
"Carnival Splendor is currently experiencing a technical issue that is affecting the vessel's maximum cruising speed. The ship's technical team is currently working on assessing the repairs.
Due to current speed limitations, the remaining calls at St. Thomas and Amber Cove in the Dominican Republic have been cancelled so that the ship can return to its homeport of Miami on Sunday on schedule.
All guests on the current voyage will receive a $100 per person shipboard credit and a 25 percent credit toward a future Carnival cruise.
Carnival Splendor is on fourth day of a seven-day cruise that departed Miami on Sunday and returns this Sunday."
March 3, 2017 Update: Shortly after 6:00 P.M. today, Carnival modofied its offer of compensation to its guests: "50 percent refund, 50 percent future cruise discount, and a $100 shipboard credit."
Last month, I wrote about an azipod failure on the Norwegian Star which resulted in the NCL ship limping around on an altered Asian itinerary, much to the frustration of cruise vacationers. It seems that instead of sending the ship to dry dock, NCL arranged to send the azipod contractors aboard to repair the ship while it was sailing. They apparently fixed the problem but the other azipod has now apparently failed:
According to a message which from a crew member on the Norwegian Star today:
"I'm writing to you again from the unlucky Norwegian Star! I wrote to you sometime in December when we broke down in Singapore at the beginning of our Asian season . . . yesterday 25th of January, while at sea we experienced problems again, this timer with other engine, "the old one!" So now that one is offline... Today, 26th, in Bali, Indonesia, captain made announcement that we are changing the itinerary AGAIN this cruise, skipping 3 ports and adding sea days in order to reach Sydney in time. At the beginning of the cruise (before 23rd, Singapore) we already skipped places and for that everybody received 200$ for onboard account, today, that was changed to 500$. But of course, guests are NOT happy and poor guys at the reception and the security are getting pounded heavily by raging crowd . . . I feel sorry for them because it is not their fault or any other crew member for a broken engine and Miami office made a decision about refunds and amounts, not onboard management . . . So the stricken Norwegian Star is going AGAIN through some very hard times . . ."
I also received this message from a passenger's family:
"I have been contacted by relatives on Norwegian Cruiseline NCL Star. They left Singapore earlier this week and are on the way to Australia. Azipod failure again and they have been told their day in Brisbane is canceled, and their trip to the barrier reef is off. This was the reason my relative took the cruise in the first place, so he is very annoyed - it was his 70th birthday present and he has waited over a year to take this cruise. This cruise already can celled part of the itinerary before leaving due to the delays on the previous cruise. So far, they have been offered no refund of this cruise - have been bunged some on-ship credit to spend and 50% off the next cruise. They are not happy bunnies!! There is nothing on the internet about this yet, so please can you inform everyone. I don't see how NCL keep getting away with this - there is an obvious issue with this ship and they just keep taking people's money and canceling the planned trips."
January 27, 2017 Update:
I received photographs (right and below) of what is happening on the Norwegian Star and comments from a passenger which say in part:
"This is what is happening here on the Norwegian Star at noon on Friday 27th January 2017!
We are on board NCL Star and it is desperate to say the least. To say that things have virtually descended to mob rule would not be an understatement.
As I write this there are more than 500 people demonstrating in the main atrium, shouting in unison ‘Shame on Norwegian’, ‘Where’s the Captain?’, ‘Boo, Boo, Boo’!
This has been going on for over two hours today and the same yesterday evening. I attach three photographs that I have taken within the last hour.
The ship has engine propulsion problems again and the itinerary has been changed once again with another three ports having been cancelled meaning that we are now only stopping at half of the planned ports on this three week cruise.
The main thing that seems to be causing mass unrest is not the fact that the ship has engine problems but the fact that this is the same fault as the ship has had many times previously and that people have been miss sold this long cruise when Norwegian Cruise Line clearly knew there were ongoing problems with the ship.
Documents have been circulated by some guests showing that this problem has been ongoing for months, and a ships log that has been produced on board which shows that the same propulsion faults also occurred on 17 October 2015 and again on 11 December 2016, there are other dates for similar issues in the report also.
During the peak of the demonstrations no officers were to be seen, the Captain has not been seen for the whole cruise and the reception desk are merely handing out comments cards to whose who want to complain. People are absolutely furious about how we are being treated here - there is just no leadership! We have been told by staff that there is nothing that staff on board can do because they need to wait to hear from Miami - but we have been waiting for nearly two days now! This lack of action seems to be infuriating people more and more . . . ."
January 28. 2017 Update:
". . . There were more demos today and captain eventually made an appearance after more chanting 'where's the captain'. NCL flying some execs in from Miami to speak to us at sometime tomorrow . . ."
January 30, 2017 Update: NCL offers passengers aboard the Norwegian Star 100% of cruise fare towards a future cruise in addition to onboard credit of $500 per first and second guest ($1,000 per stateroom). See letter here.
February 9, 2017 Update: The Star is dead in the water. I received dozens of emails today from passengers on the NCL cruise ship saying that the remaining azapood failed shortly after leaving Melbourne, Australia (although A/C, electricity and water remain on). Here's one: "We are on the Norwegian Star and our complete propulsion system has failed. We are unable to maneuver and wait for help. Thank goodness before the coast of Australia and not in the middle of the Tasmanian Sea! The plan is to return to Melbourne for repair. For all friends and relatives: we are not in danger! Everything except the drive works and help is on the move. All stops in New Zealand are canceled...."
Another comment: "100% refund on this cruise and 50% on future cruise good for 5 years.. Also not the commotion of last cruise and no protests. Very orderly. Tugs are on way, should be here by 5pm and then we should be back in Melbourne by early evening on Saturday. Also giving 300 for airline changes or 350 if you decide to fly to Auckland."
Today, I received a message that the Viking Sea was in Barcelona, Spain waiting for repairs to fix an unidentified engine problem.
I received this message: "Don't know have you been informed about Viking Sea being stuck in Barcelona for more than 10 days, while all guests were disembark, almost same thing like Star last year in Talin . . . "
Online AIS shows the Viking ship at the port in Barcelona today after leaving the port of Barcelona last night heading (apparently toward its next port of call, Toulon) but then turning around and sailing back to Barcelona.
Viking has informed its guests that they are free to stay on the cruise ship until January 8, 2017. The company is apparently assisting the passengers with excursions. The guests can leave the ship and catch earlier flights home although many seem inclined to enjoy their unexpected time in Barcelona.
In August of this year, the Viking Sea lost power in Malta.
In August of 2015, the Viking Star lost power in an engine after leaving Tallinn and resulted in the cancellation of the cruise.
There is no indication whether future cruises will be affected nor is there any word regarding compensation to guests for the canceled cruise.
Lindblad Expeditions' National Geographic Orion suffered power failure as the expedition ship was leaving Antarctica. It suffered engine failure while returning to the port of Ushuaia in Argentina.
The ship has now returned via the Drake Passage to port in Ushuaia after sailing at reduced speed.
Lindblad Expeditions canceled its December 27th sailing as well as cruises in January.
"A team of engineers has been dispatched and is on their way to Ushuaia to assess the full impact of the technical issues. Once the evaluation is completed, we will release additional information," Lindblad Expeditions told Cruise Critic.
Online AIS shows a bizarre tracking pattern as the Orion is back at port in Ushuaia.
Lindblad Expeditions was last mentioned here in March 2013 when the National Geographical Sea Lion struck a submerged rock causing damage to the hull of the vessel and a propeller. The 62 passenger vessel was departing the Las Perlas Islands, 70 miles from Panama City, when it struck a rock, causing it to undergo repairs in dry dock.
The Costa neoRiviera suffered a loss of all electricity during a port call in Abu Dhabi earlier this week, according to the Cruise Arabia & Africa website.
The website states that the Costa cruise ship switched to emergency power for several hours after the ship's power was lost.
"According to staff aboard the ship, who asked to remain anonymous, a fault with one of the ship’s aft generators caused the loss of power."
Photo credit: Piergiuliano Chesi, CC BY 3.0, commons / wikimedia.
December 26, 2016 Update: A reader states (below) that the Costa neoRiviera is experiencing propulsion issues. The ship is scheduled to cruise to Sir Bani Yas (in the Persian Gulf), southwest of Abu Dhabi, the capital of the United Arab Emirates.
I received this message from a crew member of the Norwegian Star:
"At the moment I am on NCL Star and we are in Singapore, still in Singapore!
We were scheduled to leave on 11th at 6 pm for 11 days to Hong Kong. We got delayed because it took forever for immigration to process the guests! Some guests were held for 5 hours in the terminal. So finally at 8 pm after we finished all that captain made an announcement that can't actually leave due to the engine problems. Half an hour after half an hour announcement we stayed over night. And we are staying at the moment in Singapore until 3 pm on 13th of December. One engine is down and some electrical issues with azipods.
This is not the first time, after a dry dock few years back ship broke down right away and the first cruise was canceled and ship returned to the dry dock for repairs. And few months ago we could not sail out of Stockholm at 4 pm to have a sea day the next day to reach Copenhagen for embarkation. We reached Copenhagen at 4pm with absolute nightmare caused to the guest booking flights on their own.
This cruise is already fully refunded to the guests and they will get 50% off the next cruise they choose."
Photo credit: Pjotr Mahhonin - CC BY-SA 3.0, commons / wikimedia.
December 12, 2016 Update: Speed to be restricted; new itinerary below (via a travel agent).
December 20, 2016 Update: NCL has notofied its travel agents and future passengers that the intinerary of the Norwegian Star starting on January 16, 2017 has changed. This is the email received:
"Norwegian Cruise Line has important information for you regarding Norwegian Star's 21-Day Southeast Asia sailing of January 16 to February 6, 2017 from Hong Kong, China. All guests booked on this sailing need to be aware of this change.
On the evening of December 10, while departing the port of Singapore, Norwegian Star experienced a technical issue with one of the ship's Azipods. As a result of this technical issue, Norwegian Star will have to sail a revised itinerary for the January 16 to February 6, 2017 sailing from Hong Kong, China.
Please review the revised itinerary information below:
As a gesture of our thanks for our guests' understanding of this unforeseen delay and change in itinerary, we will provide a $200 shipboard credit per stateroom. If you pre purchased shore excursions for Thailand, those will be refunded and posted to your onboard account."
January 3, 2017 Update: A local ABC news station in Jacksobville aired a video of an unhappy NCL customer who took her first cruise on the Norwegian Star.
Carnival stated on its Facebook page that the Carnival Vista is experiencing what it calls a "technical" problem with its propulsion system which is "affecting only its maximum cruising speed."
On November 19th, the Carnival Vista is scheduled to sail a repositioning cruise from New York to Miami, Florida. Grand Turk was originally scheduled for November 19th. Carnival announced that it is replacing Grand Turk with the nearby port of Nassau due to the propulsion issues.
The reader commented:
"New ships are like new cars and they all can have mechanical issues but it is really sad to see a ship less than 6 month old having propulsion issues. I'll be interested to hear what is causing this as it seems to happen far too often. And substituting Nassau, the armpit of the Caribbean, is rather like a slap in the face to unsuspecting cruisers who thought they were going to be in the relatively safe Port area of Grand Turk."
These comments are spot on.
Another Carnival cruise ship, the Carnival Liberty has been in the news recently for these same reasons.
November 19, 2016 Update: The Vista sailed to Grand Turk after all. Today the Carnival ship called on Grand Turk and was assisted into port via tugs. Some passengers say that the cruise ship needed tugs becuase of high winds while others say that the ship is experiencing propulsion issues and difficulties with its azimuth pods and/or bow thrusters.
Photo credit: Top - Antonio from Trieste, Italy - TRIESTE NAVI, CC BY 2.0, commons / wikimedia; bottom - Marine Traffic AIS.
The Carnival Liberty cruise ship experienced unspecified "technical problems" which affected its propulsion and delayed its return to and departure from Galveston yesterday. The problem is substantially slowing the cruise ship.
The Liberty should have arrived early yesterday morning to Galveston, however Carnival stated that there was a technical problem that slowed the ship and needed to be fixed. The repairs were expected to delay the ship's departure.
Carnival is still sailing to Cozumel but has canceled the cruise to Progeso, Mexico.
Local newspapers reported that passengers will get a $50 credit on their shipboard account, a 25 percent discount on a future five-day cruise, and a $25 per person credit to help pay for meals on Monday given the late departure time.
This problems come after a weekend where two two Carnival owned cruise ship operated by Princess Cruises, the Grand Princess and the Emerald Princess, experienced temporary power outages.
November 1, 2016 Update: AIS shows the Carnival Liberty still in port in Galveston. Carnival reportedly canceled the cruise as of this morning.
Carnival sent this statement this morning:
LIBERTY TECH ISSUE
NOVEMBER 1 – 9:40 am EDT
"The cruise ship Carnival Liberty, which is homeported in Galveston, Texas, is experiencing a technical issue which is affecting the ship’s maximum cruising speed. The issue is only affecting the ship’s speed and all other systems are operating normally. The ship arrived in Galveston yesterday and since then we have been working with outside technical experts which we brought on to help us confirm our repair plan.
Guests had boarded the vessel yesterday in anticipation of sailing, however, outside technical experts, together with the ship’s technical team, conducted a deeper inspection of one of the diesel generators overnight and uncovered an additional problem not previously known. It has now been determined that one of the alternators cannot be readily fixed. This means the ship will not be able to maintain the sufficient speed needed to operate the itinerary as planned and unfortunately we must cancel today’s cruise.
Guests scheduled to sail on this voyage will receive a full refund of their cruise, along with a 100 percent future cruise credit and $90 per person reimbursement representing a previously promised onboard credit and stipend for meals in Galveston yesterday.
While repairs are ongoing, the itinerary for the ship’s next two voyages will be modified, as well. The Nov. 5 five-day cruise will include a full day call in Cozumel, however, the call in Progreso will be cancelled. The Nov. 10 four-day cruise will include a call in Progreso instead of Cozumel. Guests sailing on these voyages will receive a $50 per person credit to their shipboard accounts and a 25 percent discount on a future Carnival cruise. Guests also have the option of cancelling and receiving a full refund. Voyages departing Nov. 14 and beyond are scheduled to operate their normal itinerary.
We sincerely apologize to our guests for this disruption in their vacation plans."
This afternoon, a passenger on the Emerald Princess informed us that the cruise ship was experiencing power issues similar to the Grand Princess which suffered similar power failures en route to San Fransisco returning from a cruise to Mexico (which we mentioned yesterday).
AIS, like Marine Traffic showed the vessel speed as the cruise ship headed to the port of Laem Chabang in Thailand at around 19-21 knots hr and then down to 2 knots on several occasions yesterday evening.
The Emerald Princess was built in Fincantieri, Italy and was launched in June, 2006.
The Emerald Princess lost power during an Eastern Caribbean sailing after leaving Fort Lauderdale in JUly 2010.
Have a thought? Please leave a comment below or join the discussion on our Facebook page.
Last night, I mentioned on our Facebook page that a cruise passenger aboard the Grand Princess informed us that the Princess ship temporarily lost power. The passenger, who wishes to remain anonymous, stated:
"I am on the Grand Princess and we have a power issue and the Captain just made an announcement that they are working on it. We are not moving in the water. Yikes."
The Grand Princess was sailing off the Coast of California, heading to San Fransisco. The passenger went on to state that:
" . . . the power went out and the emergency lights went on. It was then that the ship stopped moving. They got the power back on and we began to continue but they were clearly having power problems all night. The power would flicker and change color like in a brown out. Then everything went back to normal by bed time. I think that we are arriving in SF on time . . "
"I was on this ship a month ago for 10 days (Mexican Riviera trip from SF). That was my first and LAST cruise. The ship is old and run down (Buckets collecting water in hallways, intermittent plumbing issues, etc.) so I'm not surprised this has happened . . . It's going into dry dock in December. If you ask me it should have been refurbished about 5 years ago . . ."
The Grand Princess is a relatively old ship, launched in 1998.
AIS tracking systems like Marine Traffic showed the cruise ship, which had been proceeding around 11-12 knots, losing power briefly last night.
Power outages like this are not uncommon, even on newer ships. The last Princess Cruises ship to lose power involved the Caribbean Princess which drifted in the Irish Sea for several hours last August.
This particular ship, the Grand Princess, lost power in November of last year, after a fire in an engine room switchboard.
The ship was reportedly 20 miles off the coast of Hilo, Hawaii at the time of the incident, which forced the cruise ship to temporarily switch to emergency lighting and operate with limited air conditioning, according to USA TODAY.
Between these two incidents, there have been around twenty significant power and propulsion failures involving all of the major brands as well as lesser known cruise lines in the last two years. Carnival, Royal Caribbean, Norwegian, Holland America Line, Costa, Thomson, Viking, Paul Gauguin, Fathom, Oceanwide Expeditions and Phoenix Reisen have all suffered instances involving power and/or propulsion failures.
October 30, 2016 Update: Princess Cruises released the following statements: "At 1800 local time on October 28, Grand Princess was en route to San Francisco when the ship experienced a temporary loss of propulsion. It was determined the loss of power was caused by a small water leak which entered the propulsion electrical transformers in the engine room. Repairs were made and operation of both propulsion motors was quickly established so that the ship could proceed to San Francisco as scheduled. Departure today from San Francisco for the next voyage should not be affected. Grand Princess was on day six of a seven-day voyage."
I received the following information early this morning (Miami time): " My parents are on Thomson Majesty. Last night on the way from Livorno to Corsica, the cruise ship lost all power . . . It was drifting in the Med, with passengers in pitch black, without the use of toilets, without any great communication from staff."
The cruise ship regained power but returned to the port in Livorno. AIS websites like Marine Traffic show that the ship drifted for several hours late last night before returning to Livorno.
Power failures in the cruise industry have been relatively common lately. The Thomson Celebration suffered an engine failure in July as the cruise ship was departing the port in Valletta, Malta.
October 22, 2016 Update: Receiving word that there was a fire in the engine room. The cruise ship will head straight to Barcelona, skipping Corsica and Marseille. I am aware of no official statement from the cruise line.
October 23, 2016 Update: After undergoing unspecified repairs, the cruise ship finally left Livorno today heading for Barcelona. ,
A couple of passengers have commented that there appears to be a gastrointestinal outbreak on the cruise?
October 24, 2016 Update: In the article Majesty back on course after engine room fire, Thomson Cruises trots out the "it-was-a-small-and-immediately-extinguished-fire-with-quick-minor-repairs" explanation. Written by cruise fan John Honeywell, the article minimizes the considerable delay and inconvenience to the passengers. It even denies that the sister ship, Thomson Spirit, ran aground in the harbor of Portimão which we reported a day earlier.
October 30. 2016 Update: A Facebook group has been "created for and on behalf of passengers of the Thomson Majesty who were on the cruise on Western Mediterranean from 18th to 25th October 2016 and others who were affected by the incidents experienced." The group is member-only so you have to ask for permission to be added to the group.
A number of German newspapers are reporting that the cruise ship M/S Albatros, marketed by the German travel company Phoenix Reisen, broke down this week. The ship suffered mechanical problems which delayed her departure to Dover from the Columbus Cruise Center in Bremerhaven (CCCB).
The cruise ship was originally scheduled to cruise from Bremerhaven with 800 passengers on Tuesday evening, but problems with the the hydraulic system of the rudder delayed her departure. The problem was reportedly repaired and the Albatros departed 11 hours late on Wednesday morning.
The same problem quickly reappeared when the cruise ship was approximately 25 kilometers from the port of Bremerhaven. Two tugs towed the ship back to port for additional repairs.
The Albatros was built in 1973 in Finland for Royal Viking Line as the Royal Viking Sea. She has also sailed under the names Royal Odyssey, Norwegian Star, and Crown over her 43 year history.
She is the second Albatros for Phoenix Reisen as she was the replacement of the original SS Albatros.
A cruise passenger aboard the Carnival Legend notified me yesterday that the Carnival cruise ship experienced a brief power loss causing a blackout on at least her deck.
The incident occurred yesterday when the cruise ship was leaving the port of Seattle.
The passenger said:
"Very strange thing happened been 4:05 pm on carnival legend just as the safety briefing is over everybody goes back to their rooms . . . And the power goes off its been like 4 minutes already no announcement has been made about it / Pitch dark in the room. I'm in deck X fwd port side / Its back but nothing was said about it. (deck number omitted to maintain passenger's confidentiality).
The passenger sent a short video of the blackout which I posted on my YouTube page.
I'm told that power outages are relatively common. But this comes just a week after this ship suffered what many say was either a propulsion issue or a steering problem leading to the Carnival Legend listing heavily.
Last Monday I received messages from a crew member friend on the Carnival Legend who said: "im on carnival legend / just as we are almost arriving in victoria canada 6:30 pm, local time, the ship experience a heavy swing towards the side / lots of things fell of in my cabin and for a second got scared then they made an announcement that there was a problem with an azipod on the stb side that caused that and nobody should be concerned and we will be on our way but the speed went down a lot was a bit scary but they say everything is fine . . . / going very slow arriving late in victoria canada, all shore excursions are canceled."
A few days later, I received an email from a passenger who described the listing incident as follows:
"I recently finished a one-week Alaska cruise out of Seattle from Tuesday, August 23 to Tuesday, August 30. All went well until the last evening. In accordance with the itinerary, the ship was headed to a final port of call evening at Victoria, BC.
At about 6:00 pm on Monday (August 29, 2016), I was sitting with a friend in a lounge when we felt the shop tilt and stay tilted. A few cups & napkins began sliding off tables. Looking out the windows near
to where we were seated, we could see only the upper sky. When I looked across the lounge to the windows on the other of the ship, all I could see was water, the sea, as though it were a wall facing us!
This tilt occurred while the ship was still traveling at speed, which made the sensation worse.
After about a moment the captain, one Captain Gazzano, addressed the passengers by the public address system. His command of English was so poor that I could only understand 2 or 3 words of what he said: propeller, engine, disengaged.
Immediately after the captain's address, the cruise director, Jaimie Dee, spoke over the public address system. She was superb, essentially re-saying in comprehensible English what the captain had tried to say.
After about 3 or 4 minutes, the ship was righted and slowed its speed.
As I was leaving the lounge to go to the second seating dinner, passengers was leaving the restaurant from the first seating. Some were chatting about the incident, saying that the plates sliding off the table was what made them frightened. I myself saw four or five cakes slide right out of the refrigerated display case in the lounge where I was seated during the incident.
After the ship was righted, the captain addressed the passengers once more as I recollect, perhaps twice. And again, immediately after the captain spoke, the cruise director spoke to re-state clearly what the captain had tried to say.
Apart from the frightening aspects of the mechanical failure, the inability of the captain to address the passengers in basic English was deplorable."
A reader sent also me a jink to a YouTube video taken by a passenger on the Carnival Legend at the time of the incident. He writes on YouTube:
"Watch the water flow from the pools aboard the Carnival Legend. There was a failure in the ships propulsion system about an hour and a half away from Victoria, British Columbia on Sunday, August 28th, 2016 at around 6:00 pm PST. The ship started to list heavily to the port side. I just happened to be in the area when it happened. Instead if panicking, I decided to film it!"
Wikipedia, strangely enough, already has this description of the incident:
"On August 29, 2016 at approximately 6:15 pm PT while sailing to Victoria, British Columbia, the turning valve in one of the ship's four engines failed, causing the ship to make a hard starboard turn and listed 30 degrees to the port side, only 10 degrees away from capsizing the vessel. This caused hundreds of dishes to fall over and break and caused both pools to drain out and items to be thrown off the deck. Passengers were directed by crew members to all stand on the left side of the ship to even out the listing. Captain Giuseppe Gazzano had to manually control the ship towards Victoria. There were no reported serious injuries but the ship arrived at Victoria two hours behind schedule."
September 4 2016 Update: Other videos of the listing were posted by passengers on YouTube; credit Randy Gibbs YouTube page and Nate Kosch YouTube pages.
We recently received a longer explanation of what happened from another passenger on the cruise ship, who said, in part:
"Towards the end of dinner we heard a ve loud mechanical noise and the ship began to shake violently. The ship then went into a sharp turn. The ship then began to list. I had figured since the seas were so calm it was likely an evasive maneuver to avoid hitting something. I had told my wife to brace for a possible impact. However, the ship continued to turn and continued to list at a greater degree and you could see the water line come up to the window. The entire ship made a creaking sound. We were seated at the aft port side of the dining room and had a good view. Glasses and plates began to fall and shatter. Then a Carnival crew member yelled out for everyone at dinner to get to the starboard side of the ship. My wife and I had already started to do so. The direction was the correct one so no criticism there, but the alarm in the crew member's voice was disconcerting. My wife then said we had to find the kids that she did not want them to be alone. We knew that both were with their kids clubs and where they were. We, and hundreds of others, left the Truffles dining room, there was some panic and shoving but overall not too bad under the circumstances. I had advised my wife to exit bygoing through the waiters serving area on the starboard side of the dining room. I did so for two reasons, one it was as far starboard as we could go, but if the ship tipped to its side, it would give us a barrier so we wouldn't slide across the width of the ship. Right before we stabilized into a stable port side list, it did feel as
though the ship may tip over. In fact, one woman yelled out, "my god we are going to tip over." We made our way out of the dining room somewhat consistently stepping on broken dishware and food. We went
up the stairs. On the third deck, many people had already began assembling at their muster stations, one crew member was directing people to do so. However, the general alarm had not sounded and we
were not going to the muster station without our kids
We made our way to the lido deck (deck nine) where my son was. He stated that they were all advised to go to the starboard side of the ship and did so, but that his counselor had left. He said he was not scared, but hugged us so we know he was. He said he was on his way to get his sister and then the muster station. We were most concerned about her since she was playing mini golf on an open deck
with her group. It was at this time, the captain got on the PA system and announced that, "nothing has happened," to which several passengers responded with expletives.
We were able to get to deck ten and find my daughter, she was visibly very upset. My daughter's counselor was about to take the children to their muster station and had prepared them for what to
expect. We were able to speak with my daughter and her friends afterwards. She had directed all on the deck to the starboard side. She originally advised the kids it was only a sharp turn, but at some point yelled out, "oh s--t." I can't blame her for her choice of words but again it underscored that the crew was alarmed. Two of the kids had stumbled while on the way to the starboard side. One fell into the net roping off the basketball court, one slide part way down the deck. The basketball and several golf balls went over the side of the deck. Shortly thereafter, the ship had been stabilized and was now slightly listing to the starboard side, likely a slight overcompensation. We spoke to one of our daughter's friend's parents
later. They were on the first floor, their room was completely underwater. (There is at least one deck below deck one where there are crew quarters). They had put on their life vests and headed to their
muster station. I have travelled extensively by sea and air and have never seen anything like this before.
Before we got underway later that evening, we went to guest services for an explanation. By the time we were done we had gotten four different ones, that it was the stabilizers, it was the propulsion system, it was the steering system, and finally that nothing had really happened. They advised nothing like this had ever happened before, but we later found out that this has happened at least once prior on the Carnival Legend. They were unapologetic and unmoved. They denied that any crew members directed people to their muster stations. This was simply not true. We called Carnival again today. We received a similar response. The representative said they really can't do anything about it because everyone on the ship was affected. We received no explanation, no apology, and were informed we would not receive a follow-up phone call from anyone. There would simply be too many people to call. It is as though they want to cover it up. Perhaps the situation was not as bad as believed at the time. In reading, apparently this happens from time to time. However, generally it is a weather event which this was not. Rarely it is
significant mechanical failure which this appeared to be. A listing of only 14% can cause dishes and plates to fall and shatter and apparently a cruise ship can sustain up to a 40% before it capsizes. Nonetheless it was pretty scary at the time and we were shaken . . .
. . . Only Carnival can manage to have an incident in near perfect weather and seas. It would have been more understandably if it was the weather . . ."
The popular online cruise community publication says that "Paul Gauguin has been stuck in Bora Bora for the past several days because of a propulsion issue, which interrupted its Society Island itinerary but didn't affect ship services for passengers."
A technician from France is supposedly meeting the cruise ship and the ship may sail as early as today.
In the last three months, there have been as many as seven occasions, including this one, where a cruise ship lost power and/or propulsion. The Thomson Celebration, Carnival-owned Fathom's Adonia, Carnival Elation, the expedition cruise ship Ortelius, Viking Sea and Caribbean Princess all lost power and/or propulsion.
This evening, I received word from a passenger on board the Viking Seathat the ship had lost power in Malta.
The passenger stated:
"Viking Sea broken down in Malta today August 11th. We were due to sail at 6pm but we are now waiting on a technician who will not arrive until 0200hrs. We are due to sail to Athens and fly back from there this is causing major issues already as flights to the US will be missed and we don't know when we will leave and when we are due to arrive. The problem is the Starboard propulsion sounds similar to the Star issue."
This is the sixth time a cruise ship lost power and the seventh time a cruise ship experienced engine troubles in just the last two and one-half months. In addition to the Thomson Celebration, the Carnival-owned Fathom's Adonia temporarily lost all power leaving the port of Miami two and one-half months ago. The Carnival Elation drifted for an hour in the dark after the cruise ship lost power as it was heading back to port in Jacksonville. The expedition cruise ship Ortelius lost power in June and had to be towed to port. Later in June, Royal Caribbean's Empress of the Seas experienced engine problems. As mentioned, the Thomson Celebration suffered engine failure in Malta while leaving the port of Valletta and had to drop anchor to avoid hitting the breakwater. Last week, the Caribbean Princess lost power off the Irish coast for 12 hours.
Princess Cruises confirmed the lower loss, again via Twitter, stating that The "Caribbean Princess lost propulsion approximately 25 nautical miles southeast of Dublin in the Irish Sea. The ship has electrical power and is operating full ship/hotel services, inc. air conditioning, galleys, lighting & toilets."
Princess later said: Our Fleet Technical experts, working in collaboration w/ the Captain and Chief Engineer aboard the ship, have successfully . . . restored propulsion."
August 4 2016 Update: The Irish Times writes that It is understood the incident was initially treated as a potential security alert,due to fears of a terrorist incident at sea. However, Princess Cruises, the US company that runs the vessel, said it was 'never considered to be anything other than a technical glitch.'
The Thomson Celebration suffered an engine failure as the cruise ship was leaving Grand Harbor in Valletta, Malta on Saturday, according to the Times of Malta.
The Maltese newspaper states that the cruise ship "drifted for around 100 metres before the captain was forced to drop anchor in order to avoid hitting the breakwater." This is a rather concerning scenario. I last saw the Thomson Celebration in Venice in May (photo above) while it was proceeding along the Canale della Giudecca. Without the assistance of tugs, power loss of this type could easily cause substantial damage to adjacent shore-side structures and/or the ship itself.
The Thomson Celebration reportedly blocked the Valletta harbor's entrance for about an hour, according to the newspaper (photo below). "Two tug boats helped secure the ship in order to stop it moving around with the currents." Assisted by tugs, the Thomson Celebration left the harbor once power was restored and sailed on its planned itinerary.
The Thomson Celebration is a 32 year-old ship built by Chantiers de l'Atlantique in 1984 for Holland America Line (HAL) as the MS Noordam. The cruise ship is still owned by HAL, under long-term charter to the United Kingdom-based Thomson Cruises.
A number of cruise sites are reporting that Royal Caribbean Empress of the Seas is experiencing problems with one of its engines, causing the cruise line to alter the cruise ship's current itinerary.
The popular Cruise Critic site says that the ship called on Nassau yesterday and visited CocoCay today but did not call on Grand Cayman as originally planned. The ship will call on Key West on Wednesday as planned. Cruise Critic quoted Royal Caribbean saying that the cruise line "will work on the issue, (while) the ship is sailing at a reduced rate of speed."
There is no indication from Royal Caribbean when the problem will be fixed or whether future sailings will be altered as well.
Royal Caribbean is offering an onboard credit in the amount of 10 percent of the cruise fare paid, per cabin.
This gesture will not sit well with some cruise passengers currently on the Empress of the Seas, I suspect. Bahamas is not a particularly popular port in contrast to the Cayman Islands. The ship was transferred to Royal Caribbean from Pullmantur Cruises after a 50 million dollar cosmetic renovation first in a shipyard in Spain and later in Freeport, Bahamas. The delay resulted in at least a dozen cruises to be missed, much to the aggravation of families booked on the canceled cruises. Its a shame if there are passengers aboard who were on previous canceled cruises.
Last weekend, the Artic expedition cruise ship Ortelius experienced an engine failure in Hinlopenstretet, near Vaigattøyane, and had to be towed' back to Longyearbyen, according to a newspaper in Norway.
Svalbardposten.reports that the Oceanwide Expeditions ship was sailing south through Hinlopenstretet, with 39 crew members and 105 passengers aboard, when it sustained an engine failure.
Engineers from the Netherlands were helicoptered out to the Ortelius on Saturday night in order to work on the ship's engine, and reportedly were working on the engine while it was under tow to prepare the ship for the next trip scheduled this week.
According to the Maritime Executive, the ship was built in Poland in 1989 and originally named Marina Svetaeva and served as a special purpose vessel for the Russian Academy of Science.
Photo credit: Gatorsaver911 - (taken by passenger Allen Powell of the Marina Svetaeva in Antartica. CC BY-SA 3.0,, commons / wikimedia).
Three years ago this month, the Carnival Elation suffered a problem issue with one of the two units used to propel and steer the cruise ship and had to resort to the use of a tug to make it back to port in New Orleans. That was at a bad time for Carnival. The cruise line was at a low ebb in terms of public relations when four of Carnival's ships, the Triumph, Elation, Dream and Legend, all faltered in the course of a couple of weeks, experiencing propulsion, electrical or mechanical problems at sea.
Last night around 1:45 A.M., the Elation lost power. According to passengers tweeting about the incident, the Elation drifted for an hour in the dark as the ship was heading back to port in Jacksonville.
News4Jax reports that notwithstanding the captain's announcements, "panicked passengers grabbed life vests and ran to the deck." WJXT news reporter Heather Leigh posted photos on Twitter showing cruise passengers descending stairs on the cruise ship with life jackets in their hands.
News4Jax reported that "passengers said that were very concerned and that they never really got an explanation as to what was happening and why."
The news station said that according to the U.S. Coast Guard, "an air compressor went out on one of the air conditioning units. When the crew tried to reset the system, it shorted out the power to the propulsion system. It didn't last longer than an hour and they ended up using power from the emergency generators to get back into port."
Some passengers commented that they smelled something burning on the ship, as mentioned in the video below. Once the power was established back on the ship, it turned on and off repeatedly.
Late yesterday afternoon, Fathom's Adonia experienced a power loss, causing its elevators, bathrooms and air conditioners to stop working for around 30 minutes. "Following orders from the U.S. Coast Guard," the Adonia returned to Miami yesterday.
Fathom downplayed the incident saying that it was only a "short-term electrical difficulty.”
Prior to being the flagship for Carnival's so-called "voluntourism" brand, Fathom, the Adonia was in the fleet of the Carnival brand P&O Cruises. After drydock, it was brought to Miami but quickly failed an initial Coast Guard inspection leading to Fathom canceling its first cruise. The Coast Guard said the most serious remaining problem were with "numerous sliding fire screen doors that are inoperable."
Once cleared to sail, the Adonia experienced a relatively small norovirus outbreak during the ship's first cruise to Cuba.
Social media, including Twitter, has not given the Adonia's latest trouble much attention. One of the few tweets about the Adonia yesterday was posted by Carnival chairman Micky Arison before the power failure, saying: "I'm preparing #Adonia to sail to Havana with Capt Sarah Breton." It's a confusing tweet because Fathom subsequently released a statement saying that the Adonia was cruising to the Dominican Republic.
There is some discrepancy in reports about the incident whether the cruise ship was heading to Cuba or the Dominican Republic. News 7 quoted a Fathom statements saying that the power failure occurred "on the initial leg of its journey from Miami to the Dominican Republic." But another local news station, Local 10, quoted a second statement by Fathom: "Fathom will now arrive into Havana for the two-day call at 7:30 a.m. May 31, and will depart at 18:00 (6:00 p.m.) on June 1. Unfortunately it has been necessary to cancel the call to Cienfuegos and the ship will proceed to Santiago de Cuba as scheduled."
The news account also said that the Adonia apparently left PortMiami at 3 A.M. this morning.
Passengers aboard NCL's Norwegian Star are telling me that the ship's azipod system has failed. The cruise ship is skipping Miami today and is heading for Tampa one day early. One passenger said that the next cruise is reportedly canceled. (The cancellation of the next cruise is not confirmed information. Please double check this information with your travel agents or the cruise line).
Another passenger said that he did not know whether the next cruise on Monday is canceled. He told me that the captain made the announcement about the azipod problems and said that "all communication with us has been absolutely clear, giving us free internet and phone calls and helping us to change hotel, and transportation bookings. Although it not an ideal situation the crew has behaved amazingly in this transatlantic and they have always provided us with transparent information."
This ship experienced propulsion problems earlier this year which were supposedly fixed while in dry dock.
Anyone have additional info?
Photo Credit: Pjotr Mahhonin Creative Commons Via Wikipedia
The Carnival Spirit has developed a problem with its propulsion system, forcing it to reduce its cruising speed. As a result, the Spirit will be delayed arriving in Sydney on Wednesday, and will arrive at approximately 3:00 PM.
According to Carnival, the cruise ship obviously needs to disembark its current passengers.So check-in for the next cruise is delayed and will not begin until 6:30 P.M. The ship will not sail until midnight.
Carnival plans to send "technicians" to meet the ship when it returns to port "to make the necessary repairs." Carnival plans to operate its current scheduled itinerary.
Carnival is giving the boarding guests a 100.00 AUD per person credit to their Sail & Sign accounts.
The Grand Celebration suffered an electrical blackout yesterday which delayed its departure from the Port of Palm Beach to the Bahamas for over 6 hours.
WTPV-5 says that passengers complained that there was no electricity, water or air conditioning on the cruise ship and the toilets would not flush The television station interviewed one person on the ship who said:
"It's a hundred degrees on that ship. Everyone is just kind of standing there. They don't tell you anything. Then they have a little attitude because we're asking questions. But we want to know. It took us a lot of time to get from home to here."
The cruise ship, which was supposed to leave at 6:00 PM, finally departed after midnight. Some passengers refused to cruise on the ship and stayed in local hotels.
The Viking Star cruise ship operated by Viking Ocean Cruises is stuck in port in Tallinn, Estonia.
A person contacted us and wishes to keep her name anonymous.
The cruise ship lost power in an engine three days ago. Passengers are reportedly getting restless. Some of them are complaining that their 14 day cruise has been delayed and they have missed ports of call in Germany and Poland.
The crew and guests have not been told anything specific about what the problem is, only that the ship is "waiting for a part to arrive." The ship will remain in Tallinn until at least August 4th, although the passengers have reportedly been told that they can get off of the cruise ship and end their cruise vacation. I have not been told what type of financial restitution has been offered, if any, by the cruise line.
The Viking Star is a new ship which has been in service since April of this year. It is an embarassment to sustain a major engine problem so soon. It was built at the Fincantieri shipyard. It has a capacity of 930 passengers and 600 crew.
We received a photo of the Viking Star in port in Tallinn, photographed in front of a Celebrity ship.
August 2, 2015 Update: Cruise cancelled. Read the comments from passengers on the cruise ship.
Cruise ships losing power or propulsion have been a dime a dozen in recent years.
But two major cruise ships losing propulsion and being stranded in an U.S. port seems just a tad unusual. That seems to be the situation with the Holland America Line's Maasdam and the Celebrity Summit cruise ships this weekend.
The HAL Maasdam lost propulsion for in Boston Harbor on Saturday July 4th and got an extended view of the fireworks display, But the ship was still stuck in port as of Sunday morning with engineers working on the engines.
The Celebrity Summit petered out yesterday in New York with reports being that there was either an unspecified motor breaking down or there was some type of problem with the ship's Azipod propulsion system, according to the popular Cruise Hive publication.
There was a lot of discussion on social media about the incidents, but fortunately no fires or rough weather reported that could have turned these minor incidents into real trouble.
A newspaper in the Caribbean reports that Carnival's Costa Fortuna cruise ship with over four thousand passengers and crew members was stuck the Road Harbour on the main Island of Tortola in the Virgin Islands after it arrived on the early morning of Sunday 22, 2015.
The ship was scheduled to last Sunday at around 6:00 PM. However, the port authority says that it developed an unspecified "technical problem" while anchored in the harbor.
A "technical problem" seems to be code for a mechanical issue with the ship's engines and propulsion systems. Engineers flew to the port to assess the ship for repairs.
Passengers have to be ferried into port.
Carnival has not issued an official statement.
AIS systems seem to show the cruise ship has sailed and is in St. John's Antigua today. It looks like the ship sailed earlier this week to Philipsburg and St. Kitts.
Anyone have information to explain what happened with this ship in Tortola?
Cruise passengers are saying that the Royal Caribbean Serenade of the Seas, in New Orleans, suffered a major power loss today.
A passenger says that the cruise ship was partially flooded during a heavy rain storm. The Coast Guard says a broken water pipe caused the problem. This reportedly caused a large part of the cruise ship to experience electrical problems.
Royal Caribbean sent this message to the passengers scheduled to board the ship today:
"Hello, this is Royal Caribbean International. We would like to provide you an update regarding your sailing today onboard Serenade of the Seas out of New Orleans. The U.S. Coast Guard is currently onboard inspecting the ship. We are waiting for authorization from the Coast Guard to begin boarding. Because the cruise terminal in New Orleans is very limited in space, we ask that guest explore the local area until we can begin boarding. We will contact you again once we have received permission to begin the boarding process. We appreciate your patience and understanding, and we look forward to welcoming you onboard."
A few hours later, it sent this message:
"Hello, this is Royal Caribbean International with an update your sailing today onboard Serenade of the Seas. The U.S. Coast Guard has given us permission to begin the boarding process. Please return to the terminal so that we may check you in for your cruise. Our entire onboard team look forward to welcoming you onboard, and will do their very best to make your sailing as enjoyable as possible."
One passenger who was apparently on the Serenade when it returned to port in New Orleans said that power was lost to around 175 cabins.
Apparently, according to this passenger, 400 passengers will not been to cruise because their cabins have no power.
Nonetheless, the Coast Guard cleared the Serenade to be boarded. The ship is staying in New Orleans until it is cleared to sail.
Royal Caribbean has not commented on the condition of the vessel or whether some of the passengers will remain in New Orleans.
Update: Media reports say 417 cabins affecting some some 800 passengers have been affected.
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