Carnival cruise ships' problems mounting

Local 2 reviews Coast Guard records

HOUSTON - Passengers aboard two Carnival cruise ships are headed home after their vacations were cut short by mechanical problems. They're the latest in a series of problems for Carnival.

The Carnival Dream and Carnival Legend both had what the company described as technical issues on their voyages this week. Carnival says the Legend started having propulsion issues in Honduras, which slowed the ship down and caused it to miss a stop in the Cayman Islands.

The Dream is a newer ship built in 2009. Local 2 Consumer Expert Amy Davis reviewed Coast Guard records and found no history of problems with the Dream. That's the not the case, though, with the Carnival Legend. Legend was built in 2002.

According to Coast Guard records, there were propulsion failures July 2010, and again in February 2010 when the ship was on its way to Tampa.

Passengers aboard the Carnival Dream are now stranded in St Maarten, but most aren't complaining.

"Things happen, you know. Things break down. They can't help it," said passenger Martin Garrick.

"They've been great. There's been no trouble. It's like a regular port day. No trouble," added Lisa Backhaus. While in port, the crew discovered a problem with the Dream's backup generator. Carnival is flying passengers back to the United States.

These latest issues come on the heels of last month's mess on board the Carnival Triumph, which lost propulsion and most of its power in the Gulf of Mexico. Industry experts are starting to wonder if travelers will start to shy away from cruise vacations.

"For the industry as a whole, realistically it really puts a black eye on it," said David Johnson of Strategic Vision Public Relations.

Carnival is apologizing to customers and giving them a partial refund and half off a future cruise.

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