TAMPA, Fla. -- The Carnival Legend, a ship that was plagued with propulsion problems, returned to the Port of Tampa. As passengers disembarked on Sunday, many expressed disappointment in how the situation was handled.
"It was the worst vacation I've ever had," said passenger Grant Carlson.
Among their biggest concerns: how Carnival plans to reimburse customers for the inconveniences caused by the mechanical problems. The company is currently offering a $100 refund and a 50 percent discount on a future cruise booked within the next two years, along with a full refund for any excursions that had to be canceled when the Legend didn't stop at Grand Cayman, the ship's final port of call.
The technical trouble started during the third day at sea, after the Legend's first stop in Cozumel, Mexico. The issue impacted the ship's ability to travel its maximum speed, but did not affect power or sewage systems. The Legend's second port of call was in Belize, but instead, the ship stopped just south of Cozumel in Costa Maya.
"There was Mexican military with dogs everywhere following us. They weren't prepared for us," says Sean Buchanan, a first-time cruise traveler who was on his honeymoon.
On March 13th and 14th, Legend passengers received letters in their staterooms detailing progress made on repairs. Besides that, some passengers say they didn't feel Carnival was forthcoming with information.
"We went from planning to go to Belize to ending up at Costa Maya and then planning to go to the Caymans to maybe going to Belize to ending up in Tampa," says passenger Faye New.
"I just want the truth," added passenger Ron Goldstein. "If they had said to me, 'We have some problems, we're going to try to work it out,' okay. But just to keep saying everything's fine, you have nothing to worry about and you go to your room and you're shaking and moving and everything?"
Many passengers plan to write to Carnival, urging the company to rethink its decision on refunds.
"We paid $3500 for our suite and everything, and [$100] is all they offered us," Buchanan says. "We only went to two of four ports. It was kind of a bummer that they weren't really taking care of us the way I thought they should."
Not all passengers were disappointed with the response though.
"I think they handled it really well. They kept the engines running and they got us back to Tampa safe and sound," says Joe Kaminski. "They got us a pretty good deal, 50 percent off our next cruise, so I think we'll be back for spring break."
On Sunday, The U.S. Coast Guard inspected repairs on the Legend and cleared the ship for an afternoon departure with new passengers for another week-long cruise.
You might also like ...
Carnival Legend ship limping home with engine trouble
Carnival Dream passengers begin to fly home
Dunedin couple's wedding on board Carnival "Dream" in jeopardy
Carnival's Legend crawls to Port of Tampa Saturday night