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CARNIVAL Cruise Lines has decided to cancel all further itineraries of the Carnival Splendor until January 16, 2011.

The fire in the engine room that crippled the vessel for days is now seen as a major repair issue. So Carnival has made the decision to take it out of service for the next number of weeks.than , to allow time for repairs following an engine room fire last week. The ship is scheduled to re-enter service on January 16, 2011.

I think Carnival is being fair to those guest who have had their fun ship cruise cancelled.

Guests who were scheduled to sail during this period will not only get  a full refund of their cruise fare and air transportation costs, they will also be offered a  25% discount on any future cruise.

Here  are the  options available to those who would have sailed on the Splendor during this period:

1. Reschedule immediately on another voyage

2. Have Carnival hold payments for any future Carnival cruise departing within 24 months.

3. Receive a full refund, inclusive of Carnival’s air supplement, optional land packages, Vacation Protection Plan and government fees and taxes. No further action required, as refunds will be automatically processed within ten business days.

The publicity generated by the fire on board gained international coverage. While some felt the cruise refund plus a free future cruise was not enough, as the days went by most weathered the experience well and were happy with the idea of another cruise with the refund money in their pocket.

The bigger question is how much diligence do cruise lines pay to the operations portion of their ships.

Given the infrequency of mechanical problems on the high seas with cruise ships, I feel confident that they do an excellent job. And this event will only cause all cruise line operators to re-examine all procedures to ensure even greater safety.

It may not be a splended time for Carnival, but the Splendor will come back to its grandeur once more when passengers begin boarding it again in the middle of January.