Cruise NewsCaribbean Princess Returns to San Juan with Propulsion Problem

Caribbean Princess Returns to San Juan with Propulsion Problem

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Update:  Princess Cruises has canceled the next 2 sailings on the Caribbean Princess (March 18 and 25, 2012) so repairs can be made to the ship. Passengers who are currently on the ship and scheduled to do B2B cruises will have their change in airfare covered by the cruise line.

Princess Cruise Lines has reported that the cruise ship, the Caribbean Princess, will return back to San Juan on Wednesday night due to propulsion issues.  San Juan, Puerto Rico is the ship’s home port and plans to repair the ship will be made there.

After the ship arrives back in San Juan, passengers will be allowed to stay on the ship until Sunday, when the cruise is scheduled to end.  Princess plans on assessing the situation after the ship returns before making any changes to the next scheduled cruise on March 18.  A decision will be made on Thursday detailing any changes that will be made, if any,  to the March 18 cruise..

Passengers on the Caribbean Princess will receive full refunds on their cruise fare and credits good for future cruises.

Shannon, a passenger on this voyage, told Cruise Fever “I’m pretty contempt with getting a full refund for the cruise plus credit for the next. I even get to stay on board, eat as much as I want, swim all day and enjoy the beautiful weather. I am quite comfortable just docked here, lounging.  Things could’ve been much worse. We should all be grateful that we weren’t stranded out at sea.”

The ship began to have problems while on the way to the first port of call and arrived in St. Maarten more than 4 hours late.  The ship stayed overnight while the ship mechanics tried to fix the problem.  The decision was made for the ship to head back to San Juan where the parts needed to fix the problem are available.

Several passengers who were on recent voyages on the same cruise ship have stated that the ship had propulsion problems just a few weeks earlier.  A spokesman for Princess denied these “rumors” even though the ship was docked for several extra hours one day.

The 3,080 passenger cruise ship was on a 7 night cruise out of San Juan, Puerto Rico stopping in ports St Maarten, St Thomas, U.S.V.I., Tortola, B.V.I., Dominca, and Bridgetown, Barbados.

Princess Cruises is owned and operated by Carnival Corp.

Cruise Fever will continue to bring you the latest news on the Caribbean Princess as more information becomes available.

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Ben Souza
Ben Souza
Ben is a world traveler who has visited 40+ countries, taken over 70 cruises. He is one of USA TODAY's experts for their 10Best Readers' Choice Awards. His writings have appeared and been cited in various media outlets such as Yahoo News, MSN, NPR, CNN, Fox, and ABC News. Ben currently resides in Cincinnati, Ohio. Follow Ben on Instagram. Visit Ben Souza on Linkedin. You may email Ben at [email protected].
Cruise NewsCaribbean Princess Returns to San Juan with Propulsion Problem


  1. My husband and I were also on this cruise, we had waited 5 years to have this holiday and were more than dissapointed to lose our second week cruising, we also had a 4 hour car journey and 11 hour flight to get to san Juan, the port we docked in when the ship was disabled was extremely noisy with helicopters and aeroplanes flying around from about 7am every morning, it was like army manouvers, it cost us $40 to get into town (after customs had said we could leave the ship which was sometimes after lunch) and as we had already spent 2 days in san Juan previous to boarding we had done everthing we wanted to do there. The communication regarding the problem was very poor, but we did not hear any passengers getting annoyed, people on the whole were very tolerant. As one previous person commented we did not book a holiday to sit in a port! We decided to leave the ship 2 days early at a cost of nearly $900 as time off was precious to my husband and we did not want to waste it, I cannot however give enough praise to the staff on board this ship, they worked so hard and were so pleasant and obliging they deserve praise. As for compensation yes I agree princess should refund air fares and I am astonished that they would decline to do so people will have lost time off from work which in most cases can not be regained for another year.

    • My Mum and Sister have just left the UK this morning not knowing whether they will be getting their cruise or just sitting in the dock at San Juan for the 2 weeks. Their direct flight has now been changed to a 4 hour stop in New York which they were not impressed with either. Do you know what condition the Princess is in now? I am so worried that their ‘dream holiday’ will be ruined!

  2. Unfortunately my husband and I were passengers on the caribbean princess, we leave in Mexico and we paid a very expensive airplane tickets to San Juan, toked some days out of office, we left our son in Mexico with the idea of a second honey moon.

    We lost our holidays!!!! As Shanon said if we want to do another cruise we need to save for the plane!! We have lost time and money.

    I think Princess Cruises should reimburse the airfare.

    Furthermore, if we wanted to visit Old San Juan every day would have to pay 30 usd taxi (round trip). just one day we received free transportation.

    On Sunday we landed we realized that there was an Ironman in the city many streets were closed until 3:00 pm and traffic slow in many points, we just could not get to the hotel. I think Princess may have put on notice to passengers to take precautions or disembark on other time.

    Bad experience!!! But it could be worse

    This is our 4 cruise with princess and maybe the last one if we do not receive any other compensation.

  3. We were on the same cruise and have the same feeling as sheldon. We are coming from the Netherlands. We choose the cruise due to the islands that we would visit. We had à very bad holiday. What has cost us a lot of money. To have the same cruise again we have to save again money for the flight. This is not fair!!!! We have sent a complain letter to princess and have asked for THE flight cost. I hope that princess understands the issue for passengers from Europe and that they want to find à solution. We will not exept the current proposal for compensation.

  4. We have just returned to the UK from this ship (takes us 16 hours with connections to get to San Juan, not a journey for the faint hearted). We have been on the ship before and couldn’t speak highly enough of it to our friends (6 of us in total travelled) – 2 of which had never cruised before…….We paid a great deal of money for the cruise and the flights and although we stayed on the ship we still feel that we should get our air fare reimbursed. Surely if the holiday you booked is not supplied (no matter what the reason) you should get a FULL not partial refund? We did not book a cruise of the dock area of San Juan!!!!! Regarding the company putting on extra shuttle buses etc to get you around the town, that happened on the Saturday……we’d been in the port since Wednesday!!! If we wanted to take the same cruise again…..yes, the cost would be met by the refund but we would have to pay for flights all over again……We have the greatest repect for the hard working staff on the ship, they really couldn’t do enough for you……but the people in charge really need to rethink the ‘no refund on flights’ policy…….if it were a package holiday to a beach hotel( and a problem with the acommodation arose) we would’ve been put into a different hotel and/or received a full refund of the total holiday package……why does the cruise company get to say we’ll only give you half of your money back…..we spoke to fellow cruisers whilst on the ship who have had problems when cruising with other companies….listening to what they received by way of compensation – goodness me……..Princess, you are way off the mark!!!!!! What to do next? Sit back or do something……answers and advice below please.

  5. We just returned home from the stranded ship (we left early). We did not want to stay in San Juan since the dock overlooked shipping containers and an industrial area, not beautiful San Juan.

    I realize that sometime the mechanicals can break- it happens. What the passengers were angry about was just how poor the communication was. Everyone understood they needed to wait for information, but a simple, “We don’t know anything concrete yet, but we haven’t forgotten about you.” would have gone a long way.

    The Food & Beverage and entertainment crew really stepped up and worked even harder – I hope they get special commendation from the company!

    We had also booked our airfare and transfers through Princess, and when the problem hit, they would not even try to help change our tickets to return home. The words they said were, “you are on your own”. When they became overwhelmed, they seemed to throw their hands in the air. I even called 1-800-PRINCESS from my cell phone and the operator told me that the word from Corporate was to not get involved.

    If that wasn’t insult enough, when I called the airlines myself to change the tickets, I was told that there would be an additional $25 fee per ticket that would go to PRINCESS as our agent. They get $50 dollars more and they wouldn’t even make a phone call for us!

    When we asked about a transfer to the airport (we had already paid for the transfer) we were told the transfer was only good for Sunday and we were on our own.

    It seems that they had no contingency plan, they were overwhelmed, and the customer service fell apart.

    This was our third Princess cruise, and unless I receive reimbursement for the additional charges, it will probably be my last with them. I have many years of cruising ahead, and there are lots of competitors out there.

  6. I’m not surprised to learn that there is a problem with that ship. I was on board last week and 6 nights out of 7 were pretty agitated. It wasn’t normal…We got lucky to complete it as sheduled…

  7. I am one passenger who were in the situation of the Carebbean Princess. All people who were aboard the cruise, my cabin was the R212 en the floor 14. All people who were in that were scheduled cruise vacation for a year. The has majority of people like me are super upset with the situation of what happened. We do not know if there was a notification to the Coast Guard in that situation the loss of one of its propulsion engine. But after two days on the island of St. Martin,Captain C. Street, took to decisionto the return to San Juan P. R. No engines and only towed by three tugs. Listingsof Captain C. Street -thirds were aboard the MV.exposing passenger at risk. I understand that irresponsible on the part of Captain C. Street in wich he new immediately who lost propulsion due to the notice to the Coast Guard or the same tugs to assist us during the voyage. With the live of the human beings is played Captain C. Street. Beside the Princess Cruise offers a refund of the entire cruise and 25% and it seem that this company is worth every person who is on board.
    Other than the tickets for the cruise is paid immediately when yo go where you travel agent to buy the cruisethat you choose. I contacted Princess Cruises office and they informed me that the refund is made within 30 to 90 days.

    Finally, thanks to his Captain and Princess Cruises C. Stree by ill and bitter experience

    ATT. Norman Ortiz

    • I was also on the cruise to nowhere and there were 18 of us and we were a little disappointed we knew that we were NEVER in harms way and I would cruise with Princess again so to make a major out of a minor, I would sign up for the same cruise again because it was not that bad! Thank captain Street for your generosity.

  8. I am currently a passenger on the ship and all I have to say is that PRINCESS is trying to make the most of the situation by adding amenities to make the trip more enjoyable.

    I’m pretty contempt with getting a full refund for the cruise plus credit for the next. I even get to stay on board, eat as much as I want, swim all day and enjoy the beautiful weather. I am quite comfortable just docked here, lounging.

    Things could’ve been much worse. We should all be grateful that we weren’t stranded out at sea.

    • I totally agree with Shannon. As long as you stayed at port and had a place to stay and everything running as normal as possible except for visiting islands, it is safer this way they being stuck out in the ocean somewhere. It could have been worse.

  9. My sister and brother-in-law are on that ship. Said it had been miserable. Even though they get a refund, they are still out several $$$$ for airfare. As for credit for future cruises. – don’t think that’s going to happen. Fire on board last cruise they took. Think they are done with cruising!

    • How can they be out money for airfare? If they stay onboard (for free) and fly out as scheduled on Sunday then they aren’t out any airfare.

      If they choose to leave the ship early, then yes, they will need to pay for any changes they make to their original ticket dates and times.

    • My daughter and her husband on the ship for their honeymoon , I did not hear anything from them the last 10 days , they left the night of their wedding day. I hope every thing is ok.

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