Fire struck the Carnival cruise ship Triumph off the coast of Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula Sunday morning, leaving it dead in the water as U.S. Coast Guard ships rushed to its rescue.
The fire was quickly contained by the ship's automatic extinguishers and no injuries were reported among the 3,143 passengers and 1,086 crew members, the cruise line said.
Reports said electricity, water and sewage systems were working on at least half the ship and there was adequate food and water.
The ship was heading back to Galveston, Texas, when the fire broke out. Now, tugs are towing the vessel to Progreso, Mexico, the closest port. It's expected to arrive there Wednesday. Passengers will be flown back to the United States.
Carnival said passengers will get a full refund, credit that can be used toward a future trip and reimbursement for all expenses, except casino and gift shop purchases, for their current trip.
The vessel's next two departures, scheduled for Monday and Saturday, have been canceled. Those slated to be on those trips will get full refunds and discounts toward future cruises, the cruise line said.
It's the latest large-scale mishap to afflict Carnival after the Costa Concordia disaster off the coast of Italy just over a year ago. But while major accidents are relatively rare, consumers tell of endless smaller difficulties and disasters aboard Carnival ships.
"I thought Carnival had reached the maximum level of incompetence and indifference with the Costa Concordia. They outdid themselves on the Magic cruise out of Galveston 20-27 January," John of Houston said in a ConsumerAffairs posting. "Debarkation was a nightmare. After leaving our room at 7:00 AM, our group of 35 did not get out of the terminal until after 1:00 PM. We were treated like cattle. People were driven up and down the huge terminal like animals.
"One elderly gentleman fell down in front of me. The only thing that saved him was he fell on top of his luggage. I watched him struggle for several minutes until he could stand again. No one could help him. I couldn't because we were blocked in the line by chains. We stood in line for over three hours with no water and no trips to the restroom."
Mark of Dallas was also miffed about his experience.
"My friends, partner and I were on the Carnival Glory cruise ship which, before even embarking, was marred by miscommunication, disorganization and mechanical failures that delayed our departure and caused us to miss or be late to ports-of-call and pre-booked excursions to be cancelled without warning. My phone then was stolen, guest services was a joke, and the experience left much to be desired overall," he said.
Patrick of Albuquerque also found the Glory less than glorious.
URGENT NOTICE. That was the heading of an email my wife and I received five days before our cruise on Carnival Glory, which we had planned eight months in advance. At the last minute Carnival told all the passengers that ALandChuck.travel, the biggest GLBT travel agency in the US, was hosting "Drag Stars at Sea" on our sailing and had booked a large group. The email cautioned that those wishing to dress in drag would do so. ... I'm sure that Carnival had been working with this travel agency for months. Carnival should have notified all passengers as soon as they started working with this travel agency in case customers wished to cancel or change their sailing.
The URGENT NOTICE from Carnival offered to give a full refund of their cruise fare, as well as reimbursement for any non-refundable travel related expenses, but this was a cruise we had planned for eight months. I worked frantically with my travel agency to rebook on another ship. But apparently, many others booked on the Carnival Glory were trying to do the same thing and it was very difficult.