Guests aboard Princess Cruises’ Enchanted Princess got a slow start to their cruise getaway on Saturday, September 30, 2023. The ship was delayed for approximately 10 hours from departing Barcelona, Spain, but the impact on the ship’s current sailing should be minimal and the vessel has resumed course toward her next port of call.

Guests onboard the 145,281-gross-ton, Royal-class Enchanted Princess have reported a significant delay for the ship’s departure from Barcelona on Saturday, September 30. The ship was due to depart at 6 p.m., but did not get underway until more than 10 hours after that scheduled departure.

The ship’s captain informed guests that the delay was due to a thruster issue, but it was able to be repaired by a diving team before the ship left Barcelona. The anticipated delay to Gibraltar, the ship’s next port of call, is just one hour.

Satellite tracking data shows Enchanted Princess now underway at a speed of 22 knots (25 miles per hour / 41 kilometers per hour). This is the ship’s typical sailing speed, particularly overnight when lost time can be made up to preserve the planned itinerary.

It is common for cruise ship itineraries to have some extra time built into their schedules in case of unexpected delays or diversions, and an adjustment in speed can easily make up for most minor difficulties.

Photo Credit: EWY Media / Shutterstock

This also indicates that the mechanical issue did not impact the ship’s main engines, but only likely affected maneuverability. Thrusters are essential for safe and efficient docking, however, and the repairs would have been necessary for the ship to continue her itinerary without more impacts on different ports of call.

Enchanted Princess is due in Gibraltar on Monday, October 2, 2023. Additional ports of call on the 14-night Mediterranean and Greek Isles cruise include Marseille, France; Genoa, Livorno, Rome, and Naples in Italy; Iraklion, Mykonos, and Athens in Greece; and Kusadasi and Istanbul in Turkey.

The ship can welcome 3,660 guests onboard each sailing, and is also home to approximately 1,300 international team members. Enchanted Princess joined the Princess Cruises fleet in 2020, but did not officially begin sailing until November 2021 due to the industry-wide pandemic shutdown.

Engine and thruster issues are not uncommon with cruise ships, as they run continuously not only to physically move the ship, but also to power onboard electrical systems of all kinds, from casino equipment to lighting to air conditioning and more.

In recent months, several ships have experienced different types of engine issues. Disney Cruise Line’s Disney Fantasy had to skip a visit to Castaway Cay due to an engine issue less than a month ago, and in late August, MSC Cruises’ MSC Seaside was delayed due to a power reduction in one engine.

Radiance of the Seas (Photo Credit: Songquan Deng / Shutterstock)

At times, engine problems require more extensive repairs that result in cancelled cruises, such as what happened with Royal Caribbean International’s Radiance of the Seas in early September while the ship was sailing in Alaska.

In some ports, updated ships are able to hook onto shore power, connecting to the local electrical grid, which enables ships to shut down their engines while docked. While this is intended primarily to promote better sustainability and reduce emissions, it can also have the added benefit of less wear-and-tear on engines and permitting more intensive maintenance while engines are off.

This could reduce the instances of engine problems that impact cruise itineraries, as well as keep all cruise environments – marine and otherwise – cleaner and healthier for everyone to enjoy.

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