2 1/2 Hour Power Failure on Liberty 3/22

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#1
New York
906 Posts
Joined Dec 2000
Last Wednesday night, March 22, there was a shipwide power failure at approximately 10pm on Carnival Liberty enroute to Panama, from its stop, earlier in the day, in Costa Rica.

For some, it was no big deal, for others, it was an uncomfortable experience.

I was one of the ones a bit uncomfortable.

As I said, the power failure began at approximately 10pm. We were just finishing our coffee in the Golden Olympian Dining Room (830pm seating) when all the power went out, and within a few seconds, the emergency lighting went on.

Within a few minutes, John Heald, the Cruise Director was on the PA System announcing that it was a minor power problem, and the engineers were working on it and power was expected to be restored soon. he said that this sort of thing happens occasionally on ships and there was nothing to be worried about.

I turned to my waiter and asked if he's ever experienced this before, and he shook his head, no.

I work for a hotel in NYC and went through the power failure in 2003. I know emergency generator power only will last so long (and we had no idea HOW long that would be on the ship). I also know that emergency power is only driving selected systems, and other, non essential systems, are not backed up. Again, its what we, as passengers, didn't know, was what made me nervous.

I suggested to my friends that we go to an open deck and leave the dining room immediately. Frankly, I didnt want to be in and environment with uncirculated air and prefered to breathe fresh air under the circumstances.

We went out to the Lobby, and out on the outside promenade area. There were people in the main lounge. The first thing we noticed was the ship was not moving. We couldn'f feel the vibrations of the engines. That was eerie.
That also made me a bit more nervous. It wasnt just the lights, but the propulsion too...

Now, I know the engineers probably were determining why the power went off, and they knew what was going on, and chances are, they were gradually restoring systems so as not to overload the system, but we couldnt be sure. We only knew what we were told.

John repeatedly came on the PA system to give us updates. At one point, he told everyone not to smoke cigarettes because the ventillation was off (In retrospect, this was a bit ironic because this was the same night as the Star Princess Fire).

Despite all the announcements, there was no mention of the ship's engines being off and that we were apparently drifting.

John definitely did his job at trying to keep everyone calm.

It's a little disconcerting, however, when you can only rely on what you are told. Passengers really dont know exactly how long the ship would be on emergency power..... There's probably a limit to how long the emergency power can last, and passengers dont know what that limit is. There is that sense that things are beyond your control. For me, I don't like that feeling.

Its also uncomfortable because IF problem was really serious, Im not sure they would have told us that right away. It's John's job to keep the passengers calm and to not panic. He succeeded.

I think I would have preferred if John adressed the fact that the ship was not moving. Ive concluded that propulsion must come from the same power source. IF anyone wants to clarify, that would be great.

There are SO many systems that require power - vacuum flushing, a/c, ventilation, water purification, sewage treatment, lights, elevators, refrigeration, etc.... One wonders which systems were affected more than we heard about... I was a bit worried about all that food for 4,000 or more people that needs to be refrigerated or frozen.

By 11, power was gradually seen coming back to certain areas. Lights, a/c, ventilation, etc... By 12:15 or so, we were underway at half speed. When I went to bed at 12:45, we were moving at 10 knots.

The next morning, we were due to arrive in Panama at 7am. We didnt arrive until 9:30am. As a result, the ship excursion to travel the Panama Canal was cancelled because the later canal slots were filled with other boats. I think there were a lot of disappointed people. I wasn't one of them. We had booked a private tour and the tour guide was waiting for us when we arrived.

Anyone have any comments?
#3
Shatnerstan
25,064 Posts
Joined Mar 2005
Modern cruise ships don't have engines in the traditional sense, they have a series of power generators (not unlike your hotel emergency generator), and everything on the ship (inluding the screws that drive the ship) are powered by electricity.

I have no idea what reduntencies are built into the design. I would hate to think that all those generators were wired through a single point of failure.
#4
Southeast of Disorder
19,283 Posts
Joined Jul 2003
Originally posted by big_duck
Modern cruise ships don't have engines in the traditional sense, they have a series of power generators (not unlike your hotel emergency generator), and everything on the ship (inluding the screws that drive the ship) are powered by electricity.

I have no idea what reduntencies are built into the design. I would hate to think that all those generators were wired through a single point of failure.
Ok, now I'm confused. I thought ships were propelled by diesel engines, which in turn created electricity?
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#5
LOUISIANA
138 Posts
Joined May 2005
Did they serve free drinks during the electrical outage.

And of course we'll find out in 9 months if it had any real effect!

Did anyone ask for a free trip to Hawaii, shipboard credit of $1000 or more or upgrade to a catagory 12 suite????

Sorry couldn't help myself!
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#6
Ft. Lauderdale. FL
970 Posts
Joined Aug 2002
Hey at least you got announcements on the goings on. Here in Florida when our power is out for 3 weeks or better after a hurricane we have NO IDEA when it will come back on.
I'm sure if they were drifting that bad they would of dropped anchor????

Yes definitely a mountain out of a mole hill here,
#7
Shatnerstan
25,064 Posts
Joined Mar 2005
Originally posted by livtojump
Ok, now I'm confused. I thought ships were propelled by diesel engines, which in turn created electricity?
I thought they were powered by electric motors that was generated from diesel engines

Given everything that went on with cruise ships last week, I'd take the power failure in a heartbeat.
#8
47 Posts
Joined Feb 2006
Not sure dropping anchor is an option. The ocean can be VERY deep. Average depth of the Gulf of Mexico is 7300 Not sure about the Atlantic.
#9
Southeast of Disorder
19,283 Posts
Joined Jul 2003
Originally posted by big_duck
I thought they were powered by electric motors that was generated from diesel engines

Given everything that went on with cruise ships last week, I'd take the power failure in a heartbeat.
Who knows. Perhaps we should put this on the *must find out* list come Oct. Think they'd be upset if we went to play in the engine room?

No kidding. Personally, as long as it wasn't during a hurricane I think a power outage would be neat.
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#11
San Antonio, Texas
623 Posts
Joined Feb 2002
No, I don't think they are making a mountain out of a mole hill. They just expressed their opinion over the situation. No big deal!!!!!!
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#12
Southeast of Disorder
19,283 Posts
Joined Jul 2003
Originally posted by HurricaneSally
What a horrible experience!!!! Were you offered any compensation? Geez!!!
I certainly hope you are kidding....
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#13
Atlanta/Palm Springs
23,163 Posts
Joined Apr 2002
Originally posted by LSU Policeman
No, I don't think they are making a mountain out of a mole hill. They just expressed their opinion over the situation. No big deal!!!!!!
Well said. I just love the cruise line apologists. I didn't take it as anything other than her telling us what happened and how she felt.
#14
Marlton, NJ
2,466 Posts
Joined Nov 2003
Uncertainty makes everyone uneasy - some are just more prone to worry than others. I wouldn't flame the OP. I also don't think the passengers needed to know every little detail of the incident. Many of the passengers were probably in bed and missed the whole event - did they need their sleep disturbed by a rambling dissertation that meant nothing to most aboard???
There was a problem, it was fixed and the ship was underway in less than 3 hours. Those that missed their excursions were more than likely compensated and still had the option to join other tours. In my book it was "No Big Deal".
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#15
New York
906 Posts
Joined Dec 2000
Originally posted by cruisingator2
Well said. I just love the cruise line apologists. I didn't take it as anything other than her telling us what happened and how she felt.
1. I'm a "He", not a "Her"
2. Yes, I was just telling you what happened and how I felt. I don't think I was making a mountain out of a mole hill. Nor have I made any complaints to anyone.
3. No ship credit was offered, however, the day prior, we received a $25 pp ship credit because we missed Costa Maya due to rough seas when we were supposed to dock. That pier has no seawall apparently.

Originally posted by palmtre2
There was a problem, it was fixed and the ship was underway in less than 3 hours. In my book it was "No Big Deal".
Easy to say in retrospect. At the time, as I said, there was the uncertainty how long the problem would last.
#16
Cape Cod
2,470 Posts
Joined Jan 2005
Originally posted by livtojump
I certainly hope you are kidding....
I think the little smirk at the end of his sentence said it all.
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#17
TN
473 Posts
Joined May 2005
WOW! I am sorry to hear about the power going out. I can understand you reasons for being upset. I will admit, I would be a little freaked out if all the power went out, while at sea, especially during the night. I guess I would drank more.
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#18
Shatnerstan
25,064 Posts
Joined Mar 2005
Originally posted by mfs2k
Easy to say in retrospect. At the time, as I said, there was the uncertainty how long the problem would last.
Yes, but probably passangers and crew both. Too bad you never found those ships plans, you could have helped them isolate the problem.
#19
U.S.A.
476 Posts
Joined Sep 2002
Originally posted by cruisingator2
Well said. I just love the cruise line apologists. I didn't take it as anything other than her telling us what happened and how she felt.
DITTO... AND DITTO

back off you guys...
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