Carnival Dream passengers leave with good report – Pantophlet: Thank you St. MaartenPOSTED: 03/25/13 12:51 PM
St. Maarten – Minister of Tourism, Economic Affairs, Telecommunications and Transport Romeo Pantophlet has expressed his gratitude to all those who contributed to making the stay and shuttling of stranded Carnival Dream passengers, here last week, a pleasant one.
“I would like to extend my thanks to the general public of St. Maarten and in particular to all those who were involved in making the stay of the Carnival Dream passengers a good one.”
The stranded cruise ship passengers numbered 4400 and had to be flown back to Florida via specially chartered Delta Airlines flights from last Friday to Sunday.
Minister Pantophlet highlighted the Managing Director of the Harbour Group of Companies, The Tourist Bureau, the cabinet of the Ministry of Tourism, Economic Affairs, Transport and Telecommunications, the management and staff of the Princess Juliana International Airport and Deputy Prime Minister William Marlin for their quick thinking and control of the situation.
For the latter, he said, “he was very effective once we communicated from Miami.”
At the time of the incident, Pantophlet along with a delegation of harbor and tourism officials were attending the Seatrade Cruise Conference; the world’s largest, in Miami.
“The news broke to us when we were sitting at the dinner table of the vice president of the Carnival Corporation. We immediately regrouped at the Marriott Hotel in Miami where we put a team together and we got the process started to make these people really feel comfortable. I am very proud of the way it went.”
The minister added that the government’s public relations firms in South America and North America were immediately contacted and they coordinated efforts to make sure that St. Maarten was only projected in a positive light internationally despite the mishap.
The minister flew back to the island on Friday March 15 where he was able to meet the first group of passengers who had been taken to the airport to depart the island.
Minister Pantophlet further highlighted the airport’s caterer who provided the breakfast and lunch for all of the passengers, the police who escorted tour buses and scores of baggage handlers.
“They did a tremendous job in taking care of the event as it unfolded.”
Maduro and Sons, who arranged the flights for the passengers, Menzies, Clean St. Maarten, Delta Airlines and Carnival Cruise lines were also hailed by Pantophlet.
The Carnival Dream cruise ship, as part of the Carnival Cruise Line, remained docked at the harbor of Philipsburg due to technical issues. The ship arrived on March 13 but was unable to continue its journey.
The ship’s engineering team discovered a malfunction with the backup emergency diesel generator. The vessel ended up staying in port overnight. The Carnival Dream, which is based in Port Canaveral, Florida, was on the last leg of a seven-day cruise when the technical problem arose.
A statement of the Carnival Cruise Line described the situation which had attracted international media attention because two other vessels had previously encountered difficulties.
“The Carnival Dream has a technical issue with the ship’s backup emergency diesel generator which our engineering team is currently working on. Wednesday, during regularly scheduled testing of the ship’s emergency generator, a malfunction occurred.”
While on the island, the passengers received additional security, entertainment and meals in a central area of the airport terminal that was set up for maximum visibility to all passengers.
While the mishap may have affected Carnival’s future business, during last week several persons remarked that it was a blessing in disguise for St. Maarten.