Passengers from the Carnival Dream are due to fly into Orlando International Airport this morning after technical issues stranded the cruise ship in St. Maarten -- as a third Carnival cruise ship reported technical problems.
The first group of passengers returning to Florida are expected to start arriving at Orlando International just after 12:30 p.m. EDT. The passengers will then take a bus back to Port Canaveral, from where the Dream departed, so they can pick up their cars and belongings left there.
A second group of passengers are set to arrive in Orlando around 3 p.m.
More than 3,600 passengers were on the Carnival Dream. Some are returning to Port Canaveral through Orlando; others are being flown straight home.
The Dream encountered a technical issue with its backup emergency diesel generator, which briefly interrupted elevator and toilet services on the ship. But one passenger said the experience was nothing like conditions on the Carnival Triumph, whose 4,200 passengers suffered five days of food shortages and disabled toilets when an engine fire in February crippled power on the ship at sea.
"They did say that there would be no toilet service or elevator service or air conditioning service for about an hour while they try to fix the problem," Dream passenger Joseph DeRenzis said by phone. "I'm happy obviously to be shipwrecked on an island and not out at sea. If we were out at sea, it would be a lot different," DeRenzis said.
Carnival Dream passengers who were stuck in St. Maarten have been offered a refund worth three days of their cruise plus half off their next cruise.
Meanwhile, another Carnival cruise ship is reporting technical problems, the third ship in a month.
A spokesperson for Carnival says the Carnival Legend has had to slow down due to technical issues. Because of this, the ship will skip one of its scheduled stops and return to port in Tampa.
Miami-based Carnival says the ship's safety systems and hotel services are all functioning normally. It's expected to reach Tampa on Sunday.