Saturday, March 12, 2005

Engine Trouble Stalls Carnival Ship Off Yucatan

A five-day cruise to Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula has turned into a "cruise to nowhere" because of engine problems aboard the Carnival cruise ship Ecstasy, company officials said. The Ecstasy was standing off the port of Progreso, Mexico, Thursday awaiting arrival of parts for a repair, Carnival spokeswoman Jennifer de la Cruz said. The ship, with more than 2,000 passengers, departed Galveston 12 hours late Monday but so far is expected to return to Galveston on schedule at 8 a.m. Saturday, she said. Passengers were advised in writing before departure that an engine problem had developed on last week's Ecstasy cruise, de la Cruz said. A letter distributed to passengers offered a full refund if they chose not to sail. "The letter defines several different scenarios and one of them was that the ship might not be able to go to any port," de la Cruz said. Although the letter warns of a possible "cruise to nowhere," it calls a trip without any Mexican port visits "unlikely." The vessel was scheduled to arrive in Cozumel, Mexico, at 9 a.m. Wednesday and arrive in Playa del Carmen, Mexico, for a day's visit Thursday. Although the ship's speed and itinerary changed, all other systems and services are normal, de la Cruz said. Passengers will receive a 50 percent refund on this week's cruise and a 25 percent discount on any three- to eight-day future cruise with Carnival, de la Cruz said. Passengers also are to receive $40 each to cover the cost of meals they purchased before departing Galveston, she said.

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