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 cruisers 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."
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Photo credit: U.S. Coast Guard / Reuters