According to representatives from the National Transportation
Safety Board (NTSB), it may take up to 18 months to complete the
investigation of the July 18 listing incident aboard the Crown
Princess. The incident, which took place after the ship departed
Port Canaveral, Fla., caused the ship to tip strongly to one side.
More than 200 passengers sustained injuries after being jostled
about, and dozens required hospitalization.
The 113,000-ton, 3,080-passenger Crown Princess is the newest
member of the Princess fleet, entering service from New York on
June 14. It was completing one of its regularly scheduled nine-day
Western Caribbean cruises when the listing occurred. Port Canaveral
was its last port of call before returning to New York.
After being cleared to sail by the Coast Guard, Crown Princess
returned to service July 22, on a shortened seven-day cruise.
Passengers who wished to cancel the cruise were given full refunds,
and those who took the sailing were given a 50 percent refund of
the cruise fare. (Passengers onboard during the listing incident
received full refunds).
In a “Letter to Passengers” dated July 24, Princess Cruises
president Alan Buckelew, said: “We express our sincerest apologies
for this regrettable event, and fully understand that this was a
distressing experience for all who were on board. We especially
extend our apologies to those passengers and crew who were injured.
We are grateful that the injuries were not life-threatening, and
also that those transferred to hospitals for evaluation and
treatment have now been released with the exception of one
passenger, for whom we wish a speedy and full recovery.”
Buckelew also noted that the line “immediately cooperated” with
representatives from the U.S. Coast Guard, the NTSB and the Bermuda
flag authorities after the incident. The statement, no doubt, was
in response to news reports that questioned whether officers
promptly notified maritime authorities of the incident.
Although the listing is still under investigation, Princess
Cruises did confirm that it was caused by “human error” and that
appropriate personnel changes have been made.
“We want to unequivocally emphasize that we would never operate
an unsafe ship, nor would the U.S. Coast Guard allow a ship to sail
that had any safety issues,” said Buckelew.
Crown Princess sails nine-day Caribbean itineraries from New
York. In November, the ship will reposition to San Juan, Puerto
Rico, for a winter season of seven-day Caribbean cruises.