(USATODAY.com) - One of industry giant Carnival's 24 ships is experiencing a propulsion problem that has left it unable to travel at top speed.
In a statement, Carnival says the 2,124-passenger Carnival Miracle has had to slow its maximum speed from 21 knots to 18 to 20 knots, depending on wind and sea conditions, due to what it is calling a "technical issue."
Carnival says all safety and hotel systems on the ship are operating normally, but the slower speed will force changes to more than a dozen of the vessel's upcoming Alaska and Hawaii sailings. A repair to fix the problem won't be done until the Carnival Miracle enters a drydock in early 2015 for previously scheduled maintenance, the line says.
In a post on his Facebook page, Carnival senior cruise director John Heald says the company considered sending the ship to a drydock immediately for repairs but concluded that would disrupt the vacations of too many customers as it would have resulted in entire cruises being canceled. Executives decided to keep the ship in service operating modified itineraries "primarily to avoid the cancellation of Alaska vacations for thousands of our guests, and that may have included your cruise," Heald writes.
Voyages that will be impacted include:
-- Alaska cruises on May 6 and May 13. A stop in Sitka, Alaska will replace a scheduled call in Skagway, Alaska.
-- Alaska cruises from May 20 through Aug. 26. The scheduled call in Ketchikan, Alaska will be canceled. Calls in Juneau, Alaska and Victoria, B.C. will be extended.
-- A Hawaii cruise on Sept. 18. The scheduled two-day call in Maui will be shortened to a one-day call, with the ship staying into the evening on that single day. The sequence of ports also will change.
Carnival says Alaska cruises scheduled for April 28 and Sept. 2 will not be affected. The port sequence will change for the the Sept. 10 sailing, but all the scheduled ports will be offered.
The problem with the Carnival Miracle comes just over a year after a string of technical issues on Carnival vessels left many Americans questioning the reliabilityand safety of cruise ships. Carnival has since begun spending hundreds of millions of dollars to make its vessels more reliable.
Customers booked on the affected cruises between May 6 and Aug. 26 and the Sept. 18 sailing can cancel the voyages without penalty and receive a full refund, Carnival says. Should customers want to go ahead with the modified trips, they will receive a $50 per person on-board credit and a 25% discount on a future cruise as compensation.
"Carnival sincerely apologizes to its guests for the necessary itinerary changes on the Alaska and Hawaii cruises," the line says in the statement.