Broken Carnival Cruise Ship Finally Arrives for Repairs

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Carnival Panorama has successfully made her way up the Columbia River to Portland, Oregon, where she will now undergo dry dock to fix her engine issue before she can return to service.

Along the way, the ship – without her funnel – passed beneath two low bridges that she would not have been able to safely clear had her funnel not been removed for the trip.

Carnival Panorama Reaches Dry Dock

After a very careful trip up the Columbia River and into the Willamette River, Carnival Panorama has reached the shipyard in Portland, Oregon where she will undergo repairs to her engines that will permit her to resume sailing at her maximum speeds.

To reach the dry dock facility, the ship’s iconic “whale tail” funnel had to be removed, which was done in Victoria, British Columbia on Thursday, November 30, 2023. The Victoria shipyard had the necessary equipment to remove the funnel, and will reattach it after the engine repairs are complete.

To be clear, the ship’s funnel is not damaged in any way, but it was too tall to safely clear low bridges over the Columbia River between the Pacific Ocean and the shipyard. The exact height of the ship – with the funnel attached – is not precise, as a cruise ship’s height above the waterline will vary based on how heavily loaded the vessel may be at any given time.

Carnival Panorama Funnel
Carnival Panorama Funnel (Photo Credit: Greater Victoria Harbour Authority)

Furthermore, local tides and water levels based on recent rains, snow melt, runoff, drought, recent dredging, and other factors can all impact how “tall” a ship may be compared to bridges or other structures.

Read Also: Carnival Cruise Ship Visiting Multiple Shipyards for Repairs

The trip up the river stretched roughly 105 miles (169 kilometers), nearly all of it on the Columbia River until the ship reached Portland and moved into the Willamette River, where the shipyard is located.

Carnival Panorama reached the shipyard just after 3 p.m. on Saturday, December 2, and the repairs to her engines will begin as soon as possible.

About the Bridges

The two low bridges Carnival Panorama had to clear on the Columbia River are the Astoria-Megler Bridge over the lower portion of the river in Astoria, and the Lewis and Clark Bridge between Longview, Washington and Rainier, Oregon.

Both bridges were built long before tall cruise ships were in service – the Astoria-Megler Bridge opened in 1966, while the Lewis and Clark Bridge opened in 1930. You can watch some footage of the ship going under the bridge below:

Both bridges have relatively low clearances at just 196 feet (60 meters) at high tide for the Astoria-Megler Bridge, and 210 feet (64 m) for the Lewis and Clark Bridge.

To make it safely under those bridges, Carnival Panorama‘s funnel as well as her forward antenna needed to be removed to lower the ship’s total height.

“I should say that the Whale Tail was actually designed to be removed,” explained John Heald, Carnival Cruise Line Brand Ambassador.

After the engine repairs are complete, Carnival Panorama will make her way back down the Columbia River, passing under the bridges again, and will return to Victoria to have her funnel reinstalled.

At that time, the ship will set sail full speed ahead for Long Beach, California to resume service, ready to welcome guests for her December 23, 2023 departure – a holiday cruise that will be a very welcome gift for guests who have been nervous about whether the ship would be able to get underway again for that very special sailing.

Heald has assured guests that the ship will be ready for that cruise, but booked guests may still want to stay in close contact with Carnival Cruise Line or their travel agents to be alerted to any further updates or announcements that may impact their cruise departure.

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