Tampa-based Carnival ship limping home with engine trouble

Tampa, Florida -- Two Carnival cruise ships, Carnival Legend and Carnival Dream, are experiencing problems on the same day.

This time, Carnival's woes have come home to Tampa. The Carnival Legend left Sunday from its pier at the Port of Tampa under full power, but the ship will come limping home this weekend.

The cruise line says there's a problem with one of the ship's engine units that's keeping the Legend from going at top speed.

So Carnival has canceled their last planned port stop at Grand Cayman and the ship is heading straight for Tampa.

The cruise line says the Legend -- and the up to 3,000 people aboard -- will be back in Tampa at their scheduled time Sunday morning.

Passengers are not in bad shape, as they have been on past troubled ships. But one said in an email they are getting frustrated.

The Legend was actually one of the ships that came to the aid of the stricken Carnival Triumph after its fire onboard last month. A passenger who needed emergency care was transferred off the Triumph onto this ship, the Legend, during that debacle.

My family sailed onboard the Legend two years ago. I took an extensive tour of the ship, including the engine control room and the bridge. It gives me a good perspective on the issue the crew is facing.

Here's the problem: Older cruise ships had big propellers fixed onto the back that could only move the ship forward or backward.

Newer ships have smaller engines that stick out from the bottom on pods. The smaller engine pods can rotate 360 degrees to move the ship in any direction. Here's a good visual example of how those units, called "azipods," work.

Carnival says one of those pods on the Legend is having a problem, which slows the ship down.

Meanwhile, the Carnival Dream is still stuck in port in St. Maarten. But the passengers won't be there for long.

Carnival says it's going to fly all of the 4,000 passengers back to Florida this weekend. The Dream now has full power; it just can't move.

In both cases, Carnival is planning to reimburse passengers for the parts of the trips that came after the trouble started and offer them 50 percent off the price of a future cruise.

Carnival Legend Statement:

"Carnival Legend is experiencing a technical issue with one of the ship's Azipod units that is affecting the vessel's sailing speed. The ship's safety systems and hotel services are all functioning normally.

The vessel made its scheduled call yesterday in Mahogany Bay, Roatan, in addition to visiting Cozumel and Costa Maya earlier in the week. Because of the reduction in sailing speed, today's visit to Grand Cayman has been cancelled and the ship will proceed to its homeport of Tampa, where it is expected to arrive on Sunday as scheduled.

Guests on the current voyage will receive a $100.00 USD per person credit and a full refund on pre-purchased shore excursions for Grand Cayman. In addition, guests will receive 50 percent off a future Carnival cruise.

Carnival Legend is currently on the last leg of a seven-day Caribbean cruise that departed Tampa on Sunday, March 10."


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