Travel and Beaches
Carnival Legend passengers unfazed by latest debacle
TAMPA - Randy Paul would have traded places with any one of the 2,500 passengers who arrived in Tampa on Sunday aboard the Carnival Legend, a cruise ship that missed a stop in Grand Cayman because of propulsion problems. Passengers on the ship were given a $100-per-person credit, a refund on the Grand Cayman port tax and half off a Carnival cruise taken within the next two years. “If we’d have been on that one, they’re getting an extra half cruise,” said Paul, of Canada, who was scheduled to get on a Norwegian Cruise Line ship Sunday. “We’ve got the time. We’re retired. It’s all perspective.”During the Legend’s seven-day cruise, the propulsion system problem kept the ship from reaching top speed. No other problems were experienced and passengers were not inconvenienced, according to Carnival, but it was the cruise line’s fourth ship to experience some type of mechanical issue while at sea in the past five weeks. The Legend was scheduled to depart Sunday afternoon on another seven-day cruise to the Caribbean. Larry Urwiler of Westchase and Bill Stevens of Spring Hill were traveling with their wives, Marlene Urwiler and Kathy Stevens, when Legend had to deviate from its route to Grand Cayman. “They were more than fair and they kept you abreast of what was happening,” Urwiler said of the crew of 930. He said there was a bit if tension due to the level of news coverage the ship received, but the cruise veterans didn’t feel in danger at any time. “We’ve been cruising for 10 years now and we’ve done 10 cruises,” Stevens said. “This is the first time we’ve ever been on Carnival, but we live here and decided to go because of spring break. To me, they went beyond what they had to do.” They say this won’t be their final Carnival cruise. The propulsion problem forced Carnival to change the Legend’s itinerary before Sunday’s departure. Instead of stopping in Grand Cayman, the ship will stop in Costa Maya. Carnival sent an email to passengers who were to depart Sunday, alerting them to the propulsion issue and allowing them to cancel their cruise for a full refund or reschedule. Though some said they were nervous to board the impaired ship, they decided not to cancel. “It’s a huge boat and (a mechanical issue) is a scary thing,” said Hillary Armstrong, of Pittsburgh. Molly Sandberg sailed Legend in October and has good memories from that excursion, though she said she was a bit nervous to board the ship again. “I loved it,” she said. “It was great. I didn’t have a single complaint about it.” Shayne Jenkins and his wife Maria have been counting the weeks and days since booking their trip on Legend in December. They even had a countdown on their smart phones. “It doesn’t matter what happens, we’re going in,” Maria Jenkins said without hesitation. “Even if it limps or if we get stranded.” This is the second cruise for the pair on Carnival Cruise Lines. Their first time was with on the Inspiration. “As soon as it happened we got the email from them and said there were propulsion problems,” Shayne Jenkins said. “They just couldn’t get top speed. We knew they cut Grand Cayman out of the schedule for the current one and that’s OK, but they’re adding Costa Maya. So, hey, there’s another excursion. And I don’t care about Grand Cayman anyway.” James and Leah Keaton of Lake City received that same email and were at ease with the explanation. “They do everything they can and I’m sure they’ll do everything to make us comfortable if anything were to happen,” James Keaton said. Legend joins the Elation, Dream and the Triumph as the fourth Carnival Cruise Lines ship in five weeks to experience problems at sea. The most serious of those mishaps took place in February when the ship Triumph experienced a fire in the engine room caused by a fuel oil line leak. That fire crippled the ship and left its 4,200 passengers without power for five days. The ship had to be towed to a Mobile, Ala. port by tugboat. In addition to a loss of power passengers complained of overrun sewage, overpowering smells and hours-long lines to get food. Before leaving Pittsburgh to board the Legend on Sunday, Susan Mamet received advice from friends about what to bring in case things went awry. “Someone told me to pack depends, but I didn’t,” Mamet said, laughing. She was also told to bring Ziploc bags, hand sanitizer and cold medicine.