Grand Princess via Marine TrafficLast 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 . . " 

One person left a message on Facebook, stating:

"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. 

Have a thought? Please leave a comment below or join the discussion on our Facebook page.

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." 

Thomson MajestyI 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.

Paul GauguinThe Paul Gauguin cruise ship reportedly lost propulsion and has been stuck in Bora Bora for the last several days, according to an article in Cruise Critic.

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.

Photo credit: By DonFilipo at English Wikipedia – Transferred from en.wikipedia to Commons., Public Domain.

Caribbean PrincessToday. the Caribbean Princess lost power off the Irish coast, according to several passengers on Twitter. One passenger tweeted: “what an exciting day stuck off the Irish coast with engine troubles and missing port of Dublin but quiet and sunny.

The editor of Lloyd’s casualty services tweeted “#CaribbeanPrincess with 4464 POB heading WNW towards #Irish coast at 3 knots after #fuel pump issues.

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.”

One of the passengers, who initially tweeted about the problem, added: “#CaribbeanPrincess -Helicopters circling and tug from Anglesey and 9 hours later we’re off again!

The Caribbean Princess is the fifth cruise ship to experience power loss and the sixth cruise ship to experience engine problems in the last nine weeks. Carnival-owned Fathom’s Adonia temporarily lost all power leaving the port of Miami two 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. Last week, the Thomson Celebration suffered engine failure in Malta while leaving the port of Valletta and had to drop anchor to avoid hitting the breakwater.

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.’

August 15 2016 Update: The Irish Times reports today in an article titled Inquiry into why cruise ship lost power with almost 4,500 on board in Irish Sea that Bermuda will be investigating why the Caribbean Princess lost power earlier this month.

Photo credit: By Yankeesman312 – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0.

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 iCarnival Elationncident, 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.  

This is the second Carnival owned cruise ship to develop power problems in less than 24 hours. Yesterday evening, the Carnival owned Adonia, operated by Carnival brand Fathom, lost power to its elevator, air conditioning and bathroom systems for 30 minutes. The U.S. Coast Guard ordered it to return to Miami for an inspection. 

Photo credit: P. Alejandro Diaz – CC BY 2.5, commons / wikimedia.

 

MaasdamCruise 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. 

Photo Credit: Caught in Southie / . 

neoRomanticaSeveral passengers on the Costa neoRomantica have mentioned to me that the cruise ship experienced a power loss during last week’s cruise. Here’s one comment:

" . . .  i was on the Costa Neoromantica on her last cruise between Savona and Marseille. At the entrance of the Marselle port, the ship was in total blackout during 1h10. And she leave again 2 hours after the beginning of the technical problem. During the blackout, the ship restart 2 times but with no success. The 3 time was the good.

Passengers don’t panic but the ship drift at the beginning of the blackout because the wind was very hard. The ship tilt really a lot. The anchors were dropped.

Finally, the ship arrived in the Marseille Port with 2h15 late. The ship just out of a drydock 15 days in Genoa."

Costa neoRomantica (formerly the Costa Romantica) was completed in 1993 as a sister ship to Costa neoClassica. In 2011, the cruise ship underwent a major refurbishing in excess of $100 million, including the addition of two new decks. After the refurbishing, the ship was renamed neoRomantica.  

 

Have a thought? Please leave a comment below or join the discussion on our Facebook page.

Photo Credit: Wikipedia / Gerd Fahrenhorst

Royal Caribbean Adventure of the SeasLast Wednesday, Royal Caribbean’s Adventure of the Seas canceled two port calls after the ship’s cruise ship’ “fixipod” propulsion unit device lost oil as the ship headed to port in St. Kitts.

Royal Caribbean says that it placed oil booms around the ship to contain the leaking oil, and its engineers began addressing the problem.

Since then, cruise passengers and family members ashore have expressed concern with what happening with the ship and whether there will be a delay or changes in the itinerary of the cruise which leaves today.

Their concerns intensified after the cruise ship lost all propulsion last night.

There have been on line discussions whether the “fixipod” will be repaired before the ship goes into dry dock on March 30th. The ship has limped back to San Juan at very low speed this morning. It looks like there have been additional issues which slowed the ship down further. At this point it looks like today’s cruise may going forward (still anyone’s guess) but it’s less than clear how much of a delay there will be in boarding and/or sailing.

As usual, the discussion seem to be only when the ship will sail, not whether it’s safe to cruise on a ship with 5 – 6 days of propulsion problems.

Cruise Critic members have expressed frustration over what they perceive as a lack of communication by Royal Caribbean. One member posted:

“They’ve posted NOTHING on the agent site, consumer site, their FB page, nor either the Public Relations nor regular twitter feeds, and I’ve asked!

And, no one knows diddly when you call….”

Fixipod Azipod On March 21, Royal Caribbean posted this one tweet:

“Adventure is sailing a modified itinerary due to a delayed departure from St. Kitts for required work on the ship’s fixipod.”

But nothing since then. It’s surprising that a multi-billion dollar corporation which spends literally hundreds of millions a year in a big marketing campaign can’t figure out how to utilize Twitter and Facebook (both are free) to communicate with their guests and the public.

I have not heard anything about whether the cruise line intends to compensate the passengers for the missed ports of call. Anyone know?

If you were on the cruise, please leave a comment or join the discussion on Facebook. If you have photos or a video of the tugs bringing the ship into port in San Juan, please send us a copy!

March 24, 2014 Update: This is the most inept PR handling of a cruise problem I have ever seen. Read about Royal PR #FAIL: Royal Caribbean Keeps Adventure & Navigator Passengers in the Dark.

 

Photo Credit:

Top: CC-BY-SA-3.0/Matt H. Wade at Wikipedia

Bottom: Kvaerner Masa (image of Voyager of the Seas)

Celebrity ConstellationCruise Fever reports that a Celebrity cruise ship lost power yesterday morning for about one and one-half hours while the ship was at port in Key West.

Cruise Fever says that the Celebrity Constellation lost power Sunday morning from approximately 7:15 a.m. to 8:45 a.m. A writer for Cruise Fever was aboard and first reported on the power failure.  

Over 7 weeks ago, the same ship experienced a power loss at the same port. You can read about that incident here: Celebrity Constellation Suffers Engine Problems in Key West

If you have information to share, please leave a comment below.

 

Photo Credit: Wikipedia / Megadri

Carnival TriumphCarnival told a television station last evening that after an "electrical breaker failed," the Triumph cruise ship lost power. This "affected ventilation in the ship’s incinerator, sending smoke into limited areas of three decks."

Well, that’s not what the Cruise Director told the passengers last evening on the ship.

According to a passenger, the Cruise Director said that "frazzled wires" caused the smoke.  This was broadcast over the intercom throughout the ship. The smoke from the electrical fire entered the ventilation system. 

Here’s what the Cruise Director said in the video below:

"I’m telling you the truth right here. So folks, if there is a bit of smoke anywhere near you, head on up to the open decks. Just a couple of wires have been kind of frazzled. So big apologies about that. Once again, absolutely folks nothing to worry about at all. We’re getting the power restarted as soon as possible and we will be off and on our way. Thank you very much everybody."

Carnival also claimed that the power was off for a mere 8 minutes. Passengers are also disputing that too, saying that the propulsion was shut down for over an hour. 

It seems like the "incinerator smoke" excuse is as bogus as the "8 minute" power loss excuse.

I’m still receiving a lot of information from the passengers who were on the cruise so check back on this story. 

Photo Credit: Carnival Triumph – Reuters

 

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