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Power failure hits Carnival Ecstasy cruise ship

April 19, 2013 at 2:38 PM ET

Carnival Cruise Lines 855-foot-long Carnival Ecstasy cruises off Cozumel, Mexico.
Courtesy Andy Newman/Carnival Cruise Lines
The 855-foot-long Carnival Ecstasy cruises off Cozumel, Mexico, in this file image provided by Carnival Cruise Lines.

More uneasy moments for passengers sailing on a Carnival Cruise Lines ship.

A power failure shut down hotel services and propulsion on the Carnival Ecstasy on Wednesday night as it was approaching its homeport of Port Canaveral, Fla., after a five-day cruise.

The problem lasted for 12 minutes, said Carnival spokesman Vance Gulliksen. About 2,500 passengers were on board at the time.

“The cause of the power failure was a mechanical issue that was fixed on Wednesday evening,” Gulliksen told NBC News.

“The ship arrived in Port Canaveral as scheduled on Thursday morning and departed on another cruise that afternoon.”

With memories of the Carnival Triumph fire still fresh, passengers described the moment when everything on the vessel suddenly shut down.

“We were at dinner and all the lights went out, the whole ship went dark and the engine stopped,” vacationer Mattie Lackore told NBC News Orlando affiliate WESH-TV. She said her daughter made her pack protein bars and water just in case something went wrong during the voyage.

“Knowing what happened in the past, you kind of wonder. We got nervous,” passenger Janine Bratcher told the station.

The Ecstasy is now on a four-day voyage to the Bahamas.

The power failure hit just hours after Carnival Corporation announced it would spend more than $300 million to improve the reliability of the 24 ships operated by its subsidiary Carnival Cruise Lines.

As a first step, each ship will get an additional emergency generator. The extra capacity will be added throughout the fleet, including the Ecstasy, over the next few months, Gulliksen said.

The company said it identified the fixes in a review that began after the Carnival Triumph engine room fire in February, which left the ship drifting in the Gulf of Mexico and forced the thousands of passengers on board to live without power or working toilets for days while the vessel was slowly towed to port.

There have been more troubling incidents since.

Last week, it was revealed that the Carnival Fascination failed a recent CDC health inspection.

Last month, the Carnival Legend developed a propulsion system problem and the Carnival Dream became stuck at port after its emergency diesel generator failed during a scheduled test.

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