Carnival Cruise Ship Makes Major Rescue of 24 People

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The Carnival Spirit cruise ship has rescued 24 people who were stranded on a small boat in the Caribbean. The operation occurred on Tuesday, April 11, 2023 as the 2,680-passenger vessel was passing between the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico on an eight-night itinerary based out of Miami, Florida.

Carnival Spirit Rescue

During a day at sea en route to Aruba, Carnival Spirit‘s officers spotted a small, overcrowded boat in distress. The ship responded and crew members were able to bring all 24 individuals from the small craft with what appeared to be twin outboard motors safely aboard the cruise ship.

Carnival Spirit Rescue
Photo Courtesy: Carnival Cruise Line

The nature of the distress has not been disclosed, but the small boat was obviously overcrowded and ill-equipped for a voyage of any length, as there were very few obvious supplies visible, no shelter from the elements, and not everyone aboard had proper lifesaving gear.

All members of the group were checked by the ship’s medical personnel and found to be in good condition. As is standard procedure, they would also have been provided with food and water as needed.

The ship’s officers contacted Coast Guard officials from Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic to coordinate the refugees’ transfer to the proper authorities.

At 3 p.m. ship’s time, a Coast Guard cutter arrived to complete the transfer, releasing Carnival Spirit to resume its journey. No further information is available about the refugees’ nationalities or their intended destination.

Making Up Time

Because Carnival Spirit was sailing a day at sea, there will be no delay to the remainder of the current itinerary, as lost time can easily be made up with a slight increase in speed.

Cruise ships normally reduce speed during days at sea, so open deck activities are more comfortable for guests, without as much wind. Aboard Carnival Spirit, this would include splashing in the WaterWorks aquapark, chilling in the adults-only Serenity retreat, playing a round of mini-golf, enjoying a Guy’s Burger (where toppings are always free), and more.

During the nighttime hours, the ship would increase speed to stay on schedule.

Carnival Spirit departed Miami on Saturday, April 8, and had already called on Half Moon Cay, the cruise line’s private island destination in The Bahamas, as well as Grand Turk, prior to Tuesday’s rescue. On Wednesday, the ship will visit Aruba, followed by Bonaire on Thursday, before two more sea days bring her back to Miami on Sunday, April 16.

Carnival Spirit Cruise Ship
Photo Credit: fitzcrittle / Shutterstock

The current sailing is the last roundtrip voyage Carnival Spirit will make from Miami this season, as her next cruise is a 16-night one-way repositioning voyage that will move her from Miami to Seattle in preparation for Carnival Cruise Line’s busiest ever Alaska season. From Seattle, the ship will offer round-trip 7-night sailings visiting top Alaskan ports of call and scenic Inside Passage cruising.

In the fall, Carnival Spirit will move to Mobile, Alabama to offer a variety of Western Caribbean and Bahamas itineraries.

Most Recent Carnival Rescue

Carnival cruise ships regularly render aid to smaller boats in distress, whether they are refugee craft, stranded fishing or sailing vessels, or other mariners caught unexpectedly in unsafe conditions. For all cruise ships and all cruise lines, preserving safety and life at sea is always the highest priority.

The most recent Carnival ship rescue was just over two weeks ago, when Carnival Valor rescued three men from a small boat on March 26, 2023. In that incident, the cruise ship was alerted to the situation by the United States Coast Guard due to an emergency signal the three boaters were able to use.

All three men were safely rescued and given food, water, and medical care, and Carnival Valor‘s itinerary – like Carnival Spirit‘s rescue – was unaffected because the incident happened during a day at sea.

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