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SATURDAY, JANUARY 1, 2005
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Mechanical trouble stops cruise ship trip to Mexico

MOBILE (AP) — Carnival Cruise Lines officials offered refunds and $100-per-passenger ship credits to New Year's revelers aboard the Holiday because of an unexpected schedule change.

A Carnival spokesman said mechanical problems prevent the ship from stopping in Cozumel, Mexico, this holiday weekend.

Instead, the vessel remains in the Gulf of Mexico, returning to Mobile on Monday for repairs.

Some 1,700 passengers were booked for the New Year's voyage, being called a four-day "cruise to nowhere."

"They told us it might only go 30 or 40 miles south of here," said passenger Barry Jones of Athens, Ga., in explaining why he and his wife, Elizabeth, took the ticket refund offer.

Carnival spokesman Vance Gulliksen of Miami apologized. Gulliksen said about 5 percent of the passengers canceled after learning about the schedule change when boarding Thursday. He expected the Holiday would "take a slow sail around the ocean, just a nice relaxing sail and then come back into port" on Monday.

Jim Thornton of Nashville said he chose not to go, saying he didn't need to spend the money just cruising the Gulf.

"I'll tell you, to drive all the way down here, it puts a very sour taste in your mouth," Thornton said.

Copyright 2004 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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