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Carnival cancels 12 more Triumph voyages - The Galveston County Daily News : Local News

November 27, 2014

Carnival cancels 12 more Triumph voyages

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Posted: Thursday, February 14, 2013 1:00 am | Updated: 7:58 am, Tue Apr 23, 2013.

GALVESTON — Carnival Cruise Lines announced Wednesday it had canceled Triumph’s next 12 voyages from the Port of Galveston after an engine fire and problems with the ship’s propulsion left it stranded in the Gulf of Mexico this week.

The cruise line previously had canceled two Triumph cruises — those scheduled to set sail Monday and Saturday — meaning 14 trips have been scratched.

Carnival officials said a third tugboat was sent to assist in towing the Triumph to Mobile, Ala. The cruise ship is expected to arrive today.

The company said it would have about 200 people at the port in Mobile to assist passengers. The stranded passengers, including many from Galveston County, will be given the option of taking a buses to Houston or Galveston when they dock.

Carnival has scheduled 100 motor coaches; more than 1,500 New Orleans hotel rooms; charter flights from New Orleans to Houston on Friday; and transportation from Houston to the Port of Galveston so guests can retrieve their cars if they drove to the port, the company said in a statement.  

The passengers aren’t the only ones taking a hit from the ill-fated cruise.

The Port of Galveston will lose about $700,000, or about $50,000 per Triumph cruise, in gross revenues.

Those revenues are derived from passenger and service charges and fees cruise passengers pay to park in port lots.

“It’s very painful,” Port Director Mike Mierzwa said.

In a gesture of goodwill, the port, at the behest of Carnival Cruise Lines, also has agreed to refund parking fees to passengers of the stricken vessel. That will cost the port another $22,000.

Port staff this week were asking private parking lot owners to also offer refunds but have no control over whether the owners agreed.

Last year, Triumph voyages made up about 45 percent of the $10 million in gross revenues the port saw from its cruise ship business.

The cancellation of the Triumph voyages comes as the cash-strapped port seeks ways to cut costs as expenses climb and revenues decline. Belt-tightening has included limiting travel, a hiring freeze and not giving cost-of-living raises to the port’s 80 or so employees.

The economic impact spreads to small businesses, too.

Johnny Maisel, owner of J. Maisel’s Mainland Floral in Galveston, said he’s having to run a special on hundreds of red carnations and other flowers that were supposed to be aboard the cruise ship this week.

“We do business with all the cruise lines, and not having those cruises hurts business a lot,” he said.

Late Wednesday, Carnival officials announced the company would offer the 3,143 guests aboard the Triumph an additional $500 for what some described as the “cruise from hell.”

Carnival had already offered guests a full refund along with transportation expenses and reimbursement of all shipboard purchases during the voyage, with the exception of gift shop, art purchases and casino charges. All passengers will also receive a future cruise credit equal to the amount paid for this voyage, officials said.

Guests on the canceled voyages will receive a full refund of their cruise fare, as well as nonrefundable transportation costs, prepaid shore excursions, gratuities and government fees and taxes, according to a statement from Carnival.

Guests will also receive a 25 percent discount on a future three- to five-day Carnival cruise or a 15 percent discount on a six- to seven-day cruise. Travel agent commissions will be protected.