Utah couple on their honeymoon among passengers stranded after fire on cruise ship

Posted at 1:21 PM, Sep 09, 2015
and last updated 2015-09-09 20:16:17-04

ST. THOMAS - When Cheryl and Cody Wack flew out of Lehi, bound for Puerto Rico and a Carnival Cruise, they had no idea that an engine fire would abruptly end their trip.

The cruise ship, Liberty, which departed San Juan Sunday for a seven-day Caribbean cruise, had an engine fire on Monday during a scheduled port call at St. Thomas.

And that's where this cruise ends.

"We've been planning this trip for about a year," said Cheryl Wack.

The cruise was the Wack's honeymoon after their August wedding. Cheryl wrote about it in anticipation on Facebook.

"Honeymoon, Yay! So excited for palm trees, beaches and sun," wrote Cheryl.

Since there are few commercial flights to or from St. Thomas, passengers are being flown home on chartered flights, the company announced Tuesday night.

"We apologize to our guests for this unexpected disruption to their vacation and the inconvenience they are experiencing," the company said on Facebook.

The ship, which had those 3,346 guests and 1,150 crew on board, was docked when the fire was discovered, the cruise line reported on Facebook. No one was hurt during the fire, which was extinguished by the ship's automated fire safety system.

Passengers will receive a full refund and a 50 percent discount on a future cruise, in addition to a $150 per person credit already placed into their shipboard accounts, Carnival said.

Cheryl Wack says that's not enough. She says they paid $1,600 to fly to San Juan and she took time off as a contract worker, meaning she's not paid for vacation.

"I want all of it back," she said. "We didn't have a honeymoon. We had a day, one day. The day we got on the ship at one o'clock til the next day when we got back from our excursion and it ended. That's it."

Unlike the infamous Carnival Triumph "poop cruise" that lost power during a February 2013 sailing, all of the Liberty's hotel services -- including toilets and air conditioning -- worked throughout the stop in St. Thomas.

The Wacks said they understand that getting stuck on St. Thomas is not a big problem in the grand scheme of things, and they've been enjoying their time as much as they can.