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Carnival Dream cruise ship's stranded passengers fly home

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By The Associated Press
Thursday, March 14, 2013, 9:45 p.m.

PHILIPSBURG, St. Maarten — Passengers from the cruise ship Carnival Dream headed to the airport on Thursday instead of sailing home as an on-board generator problem halted their trip in the latest maintenance headache for the world's largest cruise line.

The Dream was in St. Maarten on the final stop of a Caribbean cruise when the crew announced it would not be sailing home to Port Canaveral, Fla., because of a mechanical issue with a diesel generator, passengers said.

Carnival Cruise Lines said the Dream had a “technical issue” with its backup emergency diesel generator that was discovered during a test on Wednesday.

A company statement said the ship did not lose power but that there were periodic interruptions to elevators and restrooms.

Carnival said all systems were functioning normally on Thursday, but the company decided to get the ship's passengers home by air.

Passengers strolling about the Dutch Caribbean town of Philipsburg said the power and water were out for 10 to 20 minutes, contradicting media reports of longer outages and unsanitary conditions.

“We have toilets. We have water. It's no different than a regular day at sea,” said Tasha Larson, 31, of Winston-Salem, N.C..

An engine fire last month crippled another Carnival ship, the Carnival Triumph, leaving 4,200 people stranded for five days without working toilets or power.

Passengers Mary and Terry Washington of Tampa said they were grateful because the malfunction gave them an additional day to spend in St. Maarten.

“The plumbing is fine. The food is fine. Everything is fine,” Mary Washington said.

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