by: Natasha Chen Updated:
SEATTLE - Two cruise ships bound for Alaska returned to Seattle because of separate incidents and returned to their trips by the end of the night.
The Norwegian Pearl was turned around because of a passenger’s medical emergency.
The Grand Princess experienced a problem with an engine and returned to sit at Pier 91 for almost four hours.
The U.S. Coast Guard told KIRO 7 a port-side engine died on Grand Princess around 4:50 p.m. when the ship was near West Point.
A Princess Cruises spokesperson said in a statement: “Grand Princess has returned to the Port of Seattle, in consultation with the U.S. Coast Guard, following an earlier issue with one of the ship's motors. At no time was guest safety impacted as the ship had propulsion and steering control. As a precaution the ship is returning to port for a safety check and we hope to depart again later this evening. We will keep passengers fully informed.”
The spokesperson, Julie Benson, also said several similar incidents have happened with Grand Princess before.
David Meers, one of the 2,600 passengers on the ship, said he wished there was more communication about what was going on at the time.
“Thirty or forty minutes into the cruise, the ship listed to one side. Shortly after that, we turned around. We started asking the crew members what happened, and nobody seemed to know anything,” Meers said.
Forty minutes after turning around, Meers said the captain announced there was a propulsion alarm that required them to go back to Seattle.
For the next four hours, Meers said there was little communication at all, about any possible changes to their itinerary or whether customers would be compensated for the delay.
“It certainly left a lot of confusion, among the folks that we were asking. And most of the passengers around us were also very confused,” he said.
At around 9 p.m., the U.S. Coast Guard told KIRO 7 they had cleared the ship to depart again. Grand Princess left shortly before 10 p.m.