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Carnival Cruise From Hell

Dear Anita,

We recently returned from a cruise aboard the Carnival Holiday, which sailed from New Orleans. Our cruise was plagued with problems. First, there was reportedly a power failure and we "drifted" into the shore of the Mississippi River. We're not sure what happened, but we waited 8 hours while the Coast Guard inspected the ship and / or pulled us out of the mud. Again, we were not informed as to exactly what happened.

Secondly, we were supposed to sail to Cozumel; however, we were told we couldn't go. According to the Captain, because the stabilizers were extended for our comfort, it would slow us down meaning we couldn't make it to Cozumel. Instead, we ended up going to Key West for a 3 1/2 hour visit.

Lastly, during our voyage back to New Orleans we encountered sudden gale force winds and the boat tipped over to the left. The pool on deck 9 of this 700 foot ship lost 18 inches during the time the ship tipped! According to the crew, this was the reason we had waves outside our deck 6 cabin. We were never really told why these incidents occurred. Is there anyway we can find out what really happened on this cruise?


Courtney Alexander
Madison, Mississippi

Dear Courtney,

Wow, what a mess! I contacted officials at Carnvial Cruise Lines on your behalf to see what exactly happened on your voyage from Febrary 6-10 aboard the Holiday. Here is the response I received from Carnival:

"Thursday evening, February 6, at approximately 9:30 p.m. (Central Time), the cruise ship Holiday, which had departed New Orleans for a four-day cruise to Mexico earlier that evening, experienced a very brief power loss approximately 60 miles down river. The power loss resulted from a false computer reading which caused one of the engines to shut down. Power to guest service areas was out less than a minute. A pilot was aboard the vessel at the time and U.S. Coast Guard was immediately notified.

Once the ship's propulsion was restored, the captain maneuvered the vessel away from the riverbank and dropped anchor to await arrival of the appropriate authorities, including the U.S. Coast Guard. The vessel sustained no damage and was released by the authorities at approximately 6:30 a.m. (central time) Friday, February 7.

Due to time lost, the planned call at Cozumel was substituted with a visit to Key West. Unfortunately, arrival in Key West was delayed due to inclement weather. Carnival apologizes to all of our guests for this disruption to their vacation and offered all guests on this voyage a $150 per cabin credit to their shipboard accounts, plus a 50 percent discount off a future cruise of any length through Dec. 15, 2004 (excluding holiday voyages)."

Carnival Cruise Lines

The Holiday is Carnival's oldest vessel in operation, and upon further investigation, I discovered similar power problems had occurred on voyages in the latter part of 2002. Problems on older ships are nothing new; furthermore, they are slower than the newest vessels, which is the reason you couldn't make the scheduled Cozumel port-of-call. In the fine print of all cruise line contracts is a clause stating the cruise line can cancel or change a port-of-call for any reason. The aforementioned are all reasons why consumers really need to research the cruise line and ship they plan to sail upon prior to purchase.

While the voyage was far from what should have been expected; I do feel Carnival was generous with their offers. I highly suggest you take the 50% discount and cruise on Carnival's newest vessel Conquest; thankfully she's sailing year-round from New Orleans.

I hope I've been helpful. Bon Voyage!

Anita Dunham-Potter

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