2 Ponte Vedra women stranded on Carnival ship
Updated On: Mar 15 2013 08:02:21 PM EDT
It's spring break season and most cruises are booked, but some are now questioning their vacation after another Carnival Cruise Lines ship mishap.
About 4,000 passengers aboard the Carnival Dream were stranded in St. Maarten on Tuesday when the ship's generator stopped working. Most of those passengers were flown to Orlando on Friday and bussed back to Port Canveral.
But two part-time Ponte Vedra residents are still stuck on the ship in St. Maarten.
One of them named Lynn, who didn't want to give her last name, said that after a lifetime of cruises, she may never cruise again.
She and her 83-year-old wheelchair-bound mother, Jean, are still stuck in their cabin in St. Maarteen because Jean can't fly.
Between the two women, they've taken more than 30 cruises but say this could be their last.
"If the cruise line is up and functioning, it's a great vacation," Lynn said in a phone interview from her cabin on the ship Friday. "But in our situation it's going to take me a while to go back on another cruise."
Lynn said the most frustrating thing about this trip has been a lack of communication from Carnival.
"This was a very, very doable thing for an 83-year-old who's handicap. It just happens to be, the ship has malfunctioned," she said. "It's frustrating because my family is gone and I'm here with my mother and a caregiver, and we just don't know any answers."
"When it affects you, it's very painful and it is a big event," said Janice Maida, co-owner of All Seasons Travel. "But the vast, vast majority of people who cruise are never affected by an incident like this."
Maida said Carnival is doing the right thing by flying its passengers back because of a broken generator, and she hasn't seen the incident affect cruise bookings.
"Our clients come from all over the country and several other countries, and we have not had a single client call asking to cancel Carnival or any other ship," Maida said.
She recommends vacationers use travel agents to help in case of a mishap like this, and she recommends travel insurance for further protection.
Carnival released a statement in response to the stranded passengers, saying in part: "We are very sorry for this disruption to our guests' vacation plans and extend our sincere apologies. We look forward to welcoming them back on another Carnival cruise."
But for the two Ponte Vedra women, they won't be back at sea anytime soon.
"I think I'm done cruising for a while," Lynn said.
Both Lynn and Carnival said the ship had power, working bathrooms and plenty of food.
Carnival is refunding the equivalent of three days of travel to passengers on board the Dream and giving them half off their next cruise.
It's also cancelled the cruise on the same ship that was supposed to sail next week. Those passengers are getting their money refunded and 25 percent off their next cruise.
Maida said she had a client on next week's cruise and was able to reschedule that trip.
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