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Passengers: Power outages, overflowing toilets on another Carnival cruise ship

Posted at 9:58 AM, Mar 14, 2013
and last updated 2013-03-14 09:58:20-04

(CNN) — A Caribbean cruise aboard the Carnival Dream became a nightmare for some passengers, a month after a fire crippled another Carnival ship in the Gulf of Mexico.

Several Dream passengers contacted CNN, telling stories of power outages and overflowing toilets, all while docked in port at Philipsburg, St. Maarten, in the eastern Caribbean.

The reports came just two days after Carnival Cruise Lines announced it was conducting “a comprehensive review” of all its 23 ships.

Carnival acknowledges ‘periodic interruptions’

“We are not allowed off of the boat despite the fact that we have no way to use the restrooms on board,” Jonathan Evans of Reidsville, North Carolina, said in an e-mail early Thursday. “The cruise director is giving passengers very limited information and tons of empty promises. What was supposed to take an hour has turned into 7-plus hours.”

U.S. Coast Guard Chief Petty Officer Ryan Doss told CNN, “We have spoken to the captain and right now, the decision has been made to have the passengers remain aboard the ship for accountability purposes. The last thing we want to do is have someone get left behind in St. Maarten by accident.”

Carnival, in a statement, said the ship never lost power, “but there were periodic interruptions to elevators and toilets for a few hours last night. However, at this time all hotel systems are functioning normally and have been functional since approximately 12:30 a.m.”

The ship has full power, but remains at dock while personnel work on “the technical issue,” the company said in the statement on its Facebook page.

The Dream, based in Port Canaveral, Florida, was on a seven-day cruise.

It was scheduled to leave port around 5 p.m. ET Wednesday.

The U.S. Coast Guard said Thursday it was notified by Carnival that the Dream was experiencing generator issues. Carnival has not requested assistance from the Coast Guard, which has no jurisdiction in the ship’s current location, Coast Guard Petty Officer Jon-Paul Rios told CNN.

The vessel’s emergency generator — which powers propulsion for the ship — has failed, Coast Guard Petty Officer Mark Barney said.

The U.S. Coast Guard Sector Command Center is in direct communication with the captain of the Carnival Dream, Barney said, adding that the captain reports that the ship’s main generator and sewage system are functioning, unaffected by the emergency generator failure.

‘Human waste all over the floor’

Gregg Stark, who is traveling with his wife and two young children, told CNN, “There’s human waste all over the floor in some of the bathrooms and they’re overflowing — and in the state rooms. The elevators have not been working. They’ve been turning them on and off, on and off.”

An announcement over the ship’s public address system said the crew was trying to fix the problem and was working on the generators, according to Stark. A few hours later, another announcement was made, saying the problem was worse than originally believed.

On Wednesday night, despite complaints coming in to CNN, Carnival representative Vance Gulliksen said he wasn’t aware of a problem. Several subsequent calls to the cruise line went unanswered.

The Dream, which can carry more than 5,000 passengers and crew, sailed from Port Canaveral on Saturday.

Last month, an engine room fire left the Carnival Triumph crippled and adrift in the Gulf of Mexico with more than 4,200 people aboard.

The scheduled four-day cruise stretched into eight days as tugs pulled the vessel into port in Alabama. Food was scarce and passengers sweltered in the heat with no air conditioning. People aboard also reported overflowing toilets and human waste running down the walls in some parts of the ship.

A class action lawsuit was filed against Carnival Corporation in the aftermath.

Carnival President and CEO Gerry Cahill announced the comprehensive review of the company’s vessels Tuesday, saying the probe would focus on the prevention, detection and suppression of fires, engine room redundancies, and what additional hotel facilities might be provided and might run off the emergency generators.

His comments, posted on Carnival’s website, were made at an annual cruise industry conference in Miami.

CNN’s Tina Burnside and Marlena Baldacci contributed to this report.