May 30, 2023

Carnival cruise guests face high cabin temperatures amid cooling issue

Qui Ellegan said she and her family noticed a lack of air conditioning on their cruise last week “immediately” upon boarding. She and more than a dozen relatives were traveling together on an annual group vacation.

The high temperatures persisted on Carnival Cruise Line's Carnival Sunrise ship for the duration of the sailing, the 39-year-old staff analyst said, hovering as high as 80 degrees inside her cabin for the majority of the trip. The vessel was on a five-night cruise that departed from Miami on July 24, with stops in Jamaica and Grand Cayman.

She and her husband even took turns sleeping on their balcony on the first night of the cruise. “We faced the patio chairs (toward) each other, and we put our legs up and took small, brief little dozing naps here and there just to kind of absorb some of that air,” she told USA TODAY.

Ellegan and other passengers on board faced the uncomfortably high temperatures following a problem with the ship's air conditioning.

“Carnival Sunrise has experienced an air conditioning issue that has affected a limited number of staterooms and some of the public areas of the ship,” a Carnival spokesperson said in an emailed statement. “Our shipboard and shoreside teams have worked as quickly as possible to resolve the issue and have been able to address the higher temperatures in most of the affected areas.”

The ship departed on its next sailing on Saturday, according to CruiseMapper.

“The extreme heat and record-setting ocean temperatures have put added stress on air conditioning systems on land and sea, and our technical teams are keeping a close eye on our ships to make sure our guests are comfortable,” the spokesperson added. The incident comes amid record heat this summer, with blistering conditions in some popular tourist destinations.

Some other passengers opened their cabin doors or balcony doors at night, said Ellegan, who lives in Texas. During the sailing, she urged her 10-year-old daughter to stay in the pool as much as possible to keep cool. Ellegan also hung out in the casino for long stretches – without even playing games – as it was the only consistently cool place she found on board.

Ellegan notified crew members of the situation and encountered long lines at guest services to speak with a representative (when she tried calling instead, she had difficulty getting through). Carnival sent bags of ice to her room but did not give her a refund or other compensation, she said.

“We have been in direct communication with the guests affected to address the impact on their cruise,” the Carnival spokesperson said but did not address specifics of Ellegan’s experience.

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She emailed Carnival’s guest care department and received an automated reply telling her the message would be answered in the order it was received. The email said responses to post-cruise inquiries may take up to 45 days, according to the message, which Ellegan shared with USA TODAY.

Ellegan has been on about seven cruises, all of which she took with Carnival, and has never experienced a similar situation. “This was the most hideous, insulting, just unreasonable thing,” she said.

Nathan Diller is a consumer travel reporter for USA TODAY based in Nashville. You can reach him at [email protected].

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