World’s Biggest Cruise Ship Suffers Power Loss – But Why?

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On Sunday, May 19, 2024, the world’s biggest cruise ship – Royal Caribbean International’s Icon of the Seas – suffered a power loss, including propulsion, lighting, and water pumps. While the power loss was not lengthy, it is unusual for a significant power failure on any cruise ship.

Reports of the power loss began filtering in through social media from guests onboard just after noon on ship’s time. As the ship is homeported from Miami, Florida, the onboard time generally matches the US Eastern time zone.

During the outage, some elevators stopped, water slides were out of service due to lack of water pumps, lights were out, music stopped playing, and the ship slowed significantly due to loss of propulsion power.

Icon of the Seas Docked in Miami, Florida
Icon of the Seas Docked in Miami, Florida

Reports have varied as to whether the loss was a complete power failure or just a partial loss. In different areas of the ship, it is possible that emergency power generators kept some minimal services operational until full power could be restored throughout the vessel.

The length of time the power was out has also been reported differently. It may have been as little as 10 minutes or as long as an hour, but again, emergency power sources in different parts of the ship may impact how long power seemed to be out for different travelers.

“It was a very short period of time. The technical team was on it right away to troubleshoot. All was well within about 10-15 min. Didn’t affect anything we were doing.”

“It was like 20 mins. We are fine and sailing just fine.”

Some travelers did not notice the outage at all, particularly if they were on the outer decks of the ship or enjoying lunch in the Windjammer Cafe at the time.

Read Also: Icon of the Seas Restaurants – Dining Venue Guide

“It really wasn’t a big issue, most people didn’t even notice lol! We are sailing just fine now!”

“Only thing I was upset about was not being able to get my frozen margarita since they had no power for the blender so I just went with a beer!”

If guests were in certain areas, however, they certainly noticed the power loss much more severely. In staterooms, lights and televisions went out, and water slides ceased operating.

Royal Promenade on Icon of the Seas
Royal Promenade on Icon of the Seas

“We were on an elevator. Doors just opened back up. It got stuffy inside after about 10 minutes but no biggie.”

Despite the brief loss of power that slowed the ship’s propulsion for a few minutes, there was no overall delay in Icon of the Seas‘ itinerary and the ship arrived in St. Kitt’s as planned on Tuesday, May 21. The ship is currently sailing a 7-night Eastern Caribbean itinerary that will also visit St. Thomas and Perfect Day at CocoCay.

The power loss happened during a day at sea, when it is common for ships to sail slower than their top speeds to minimize wind on the outer decks. It is a simple matter to increase speed slightly to make up for any inadvertent slowing in order to maintain the original schedule.

Other Power Losses

While Icon of the Seas is a new ship, having just debuted in January, it is certainly not the first ship to have experienced a power loss. Most ships have brief power outages from time to time, which rarely cause any difficulty for passengers.

Small outages can be caused by brief power surges, switching between generators or power sources, generator or engine maintenance, or electrical alerts that are quickly corrected.

More extensive power failures can be concerning and may result in dramatically altered cruises, including lost ports of call. This happened in 2019 aboard Holland America Line’s Nieuw Statendam, when the ship was the newest in the cruise line’s fleet.

The most infamous loss of power was aboard the former Carnival Triumph, which was left adrift in the Gulf of Mexico for several days in February 2013 following an engine room fire. Carnival Triumph was later removed from service and transformed into Carnival Sunrise in 2019.

Have you ever had a power failure while on a cruise? Share your experiences on the Cruise Hive boards!

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