Good riddance, March, you’ve been a horror month for cruising! The past 4 weeks have seen an unusual number of ship groundings, mechanical breakdowns, norovirus outbreaks, a passenger death and a couple of shootings. What the!!!
In particular, Carnival Cruise Line must be hoping for a swift end to its bad run lately.
After the headline-grabbing “cruise from hell”, following an engine room fire on Carnival Triumph in February, the line has had mechanical issues with three other ships.
On 9 Mar, Carnival Elation experienced problems with its steering as it left New Orleans.
Five days later, in the Caribbean, Carnival Legend was slowed down to 14 knots due to a faulty propulsion unit, and then the same issue flared up on two subsequent cruises, causing the ship to skip ports of call.
On 15 Mar, a technical glitch hit Carnival Dream, which caused toilets and lifts to stop working, with passengers disembarked and flown home.
Triumph is to remain out of service until June, cancelling more than 10 sailings.
Even its newest ship was affected by drama, with the launch of Carnival Sunshine postponed for further improvements and its first two cruises canned.
P&O UK’s Ventura was the next to be crippled by a faulty starboard propeller on a transatlantic crossing, missing one port in order to return to Southampton on time.
Then, the British line had the most horrific incident of all, when two Adonia passengers were mugged and shot in Barbados. (They survived and rejoined the cruise – legends!!)
Earlier this month, Lindblad Expeditions’ Sea Lion struck a submerged rock near Panama and was forced to cancel its cruise.
In the same week, Hurtigruten’s Kong Harald ran aground in Norway, and then a few days later, in a nearby fjord, Cruise & Maritime Voyages’ Marco Polo hit an uncharted rock and cancelled its next departure.
Kicking off the nightmare month, on 1 Mar, CMV also abandoned the inaugural (already delayed) sailing of Discovery after it was detained by authorities for a technical problem.
The troubles spread to river cruising when the American Queen riverboat’s smokestack had a gasket failure while sailing along the Mississippi.
In Australia, the onboard helicopter of North Star Cruises’ True North was disabled in high winds while embarking passengers on Dirk Hartog Island, Westerm Australia, and withdrawn for repairs. On the same trip, there was a small fire on the WA-based vessel, which delayed its departure from Fremantle by 48 hours.
Meanwhile, March has seen a rise in the number of gastrointestinal illnesses on cruises.
Outbreaks occurred on the Queen Elizabeth in the South Pacific and on Vision of the Seas, Ruby Princess and Carnival Miracle in the Caribbean.
Princess, Carnival and Holland America ships also ditched Grand Turk from their itineraries after passengers became sick following visits to the port.
In the latest tragedy, a woman has been found dead in a cabin on Royal Caribbean’s Enchantment of the Seas. The cause of the suspicious death remains unexplained and autopsy results are due soon. Her husband, who found her body on Sunday, was interviewed by FBI agents. Stay tuned for updates.
* The only worse month for cruising that I can remember was February 2012 when Costa Concordia sank, and 100 years earlier, the Titanic.
A very similar version of this post was first published in Cruise Weekly.