The Carnival Corp. cruise ship Tropicale returned to port last Wednesday, three days after it was crippled in the Gulf of Mexico by an engine room fire
. The Tropicale left Tampa last Thursday on a four-day cruise to Key West and Cozumel, Mexico, but will now be out of service for an undetermined time. The ship, with about 1,700 passengers and crew, docked at Port Manatee near Bradenton, Fla., about 30 miles (48 km) south of its home port of Tampa.
Carnival said passengers would be able to leave the ship about three hours sooner than if the Tropicale had returned to Tampa. Passengers were being bused back to the port of Tampa or Tampa International Airport to catch flights home.
As the ship came in, a local television station showed video of some passengers aboard Tropicale holding up a sheet with the words, "No water, no toilets, no AC (air conditioning)" written on it to protest on-board conditions. Hot water supplies aboard the Tropicale were interrupted by the fire, a Carnival spokeswoman in Miami said. Air conditioning worked all along, she said, but temperatures were often warmer than normal. Some onboard toilets were inoperative, as well, she said.