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Carnival Sunrise passengers say heat onboard is getting dangerous, despite the cruise line saying the ship's AC is nearly fixed

The Carnival Sunrise cruise ship sails up the Hudson River in front of the skyline of midtown Manhattan.
The Carnival Sunrise cruise ship sails up the Hudson River in front of the skyline of midtown Manhattan.Gary Hershorn/Getty Images
  • The Carnival Cruise ship Sunrise has been having persistent air conditioning problems.

  • The company says repairs are nearly finished but passengers say the heat on board is dangerous.

  • A passenger on a recent voyage said she experienced a heat-related medical emergency at sea.

Despite assurances from Carnival Cruise Line that the repairs for persistent air conditioning problems on board the Sunrise were nearly completed, passengers who disembarked August 12, following a recent voyage, say the ongoing extreme temperatures on the ship — both in staterooms and common areas like the restaurants, lobbies, and hallways — are causing more than just an inconvenience.

This is the second time air conditioning failure has been reported on this particular ship this summer. The first time was on the July 24 Grand Cayman cruise, and after customer complaints, Carnival told Insider that "the main coils that led to the problem" had been replaced and the cruise line was "finishing" the rest of the repairs. However, seven passengers who returned from an August 7 voyage on the ship to the Cayman Islands told Insider they experienced temperatures so unbearable on board that they said became dangerous.

Sade King told Insider that her asthma was triggered so badly by temperatures in her room — which she said hovered just below 80 — that she required emergency medical attention while at sea and is still struggling to breathe properly. Asthma can be triggered by hot weather and humidity, according to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America.

"I just prayed to God like, 'God, please just hurry up and get me off that boat,'" King, an experienced cruiser, told Insider, adding: "That was the cruise from hell."

Outside, as the ship sailed to Jamaica and Grand Cayman, the heat outside reached over 90 degrees. Temperatures above 80 degrees require people, especially those with underlying illnesses,  to take caution to prevent heat-related illness, according to CNN. Over 90 degrees, the weather becomes dangerous, where heat illness is likely, and heat stroke becomes possible, CNN reported.

Representatives for Carnival Cruise Line did not respond to Insider's questions regarding any medical emergencies air conditioning issues may have caused. In a July 30 statement to Insider, the company said record high ocean temperatures put "added stress on air conditioning systems on land and sea." Then, in an August 12 statement to Insider, the company said the primary coils that caused the initial failure had been replaced and the cruise line was "finishing the work" to restore the system to every impacted stateroom.

Despite the company's assurances that the repairs were underway and a port stop on August 9 in Jamaica where additional air conditioning repairs were conducted while passengers went ashore, King told Insider that passengers on board the Sunrise that week "were sweating like you ran two marathons." The lack of relief from the heat worsened her initial symptoms of shortness of breath, wheezing, disorientation, and exhaustion.

Andrew Fowl, another passenger on board the same Sunrise cruise told Insider the air in some parts of the ship was restored on August 9, including his family's stateroom. Still, four other passengers, including King, said the heat continued to climb in their staterooms on the third and fourth floors. King's 13-year-old son had a nosebleed, and overnight, she continued to wheeze, despite using her inhaler and emergency medications.

Sade King on oxygen aboard the Carnival Sunrise, where she suffered an asthma attack.
Carnival's medical staff administered the oxygen and steroids that Sade King required to stabilize after her asthma attack, took bloodwork and a COVID test, and performed an x-ray and an EKG.Sade King

Later on August 10, after complaining to customer service and insisting she be given a wheelchair and taken to the medical bay, King said Carnival employees brought her to the on-board physician. The first thing they told her was that her room would be charged for any medical treatment she received.

"The last call I made was to my parents in Connecticut: 'Ma, I don't know what is going to happen. I'm on this boat with my kids and I don't know what's going to happen, and I need you to know this information,'" King told Insider. "And a friend that I went to high school with, she happened to be on the same boat, and I had to give her my parents' information. Just in case."

King agreed to receive medical care, though she later argued with staff that she should not be required to pay due to the heat triggering her asthma, and the charges were vacated. Carnival's medical staff administered the oxygen and steroids that King needed to stabilize, took blood work and a COVID test, and performed an x-ray and an EKG.

Medical notes from King's pulmonologist that Insider reviewed indicate she had an "acute attack" while at sea and was still having problems with her breathing four days later. The physician's notes, taken two days after she returned home, mention the lack of air conditioning on the ship was likely a contributing factor to the severity of the attack.

Despite her repeated requests both immediately after receiving medical care and after returning home, King says Carnival has not provided her a copy of her medical records from on board. She was not charged for the care while in the ship's medical bay and received an approximately $350 refund (50% of her cruise fare for three of the five nights) due to the temperature in her stateroom not meeting the cruise line's "threshold" for comfortable temperatures.

Representatives for Carnival Cruise did not answer Insider's questions regarding the specific temperature threshold or calculation used to determine a refund.

Two passengers from the August 7-12 cruise whose identities are known to Insider said their families were satisfied after receiving a similar credit for their fare. Two additional passengers aboard the Sunrise on the August 7-12 cruise who spoke to Insider indicated they had received varying refund amounts and weren't satisfied with the outcome. One passenger of the July 24 cruise received her refund after Insider reported on the persistent air problems she experienced.

The Carnival Sunrise, which sailed its maiden voyage in 1999 under the name Triumph, underwent a $200 million refurbishment and was renamed in 2019, according to the industry news outlet Cruise Fever. Before the rebrand, the ship was known for a 2013 engine failure that caused raw sewage to back up into passenger's rooms in an incident Insider and other media outlets referred to as the "poop cruise."

"I can't tell you how degrading it felt being on that boat and like how disrespectful — because you have people that work, we work hard for our money," King told Insider, adding that, after the July 24 cruise set sail without air conditioning, Carnival staff "knowingly put us on this raggedy ass boat that should never have left Miami."

She added: "That boat, they need to just get rid of it."

Read the original article on Insider