Carnival is not having a good year...for the third time in a month, passengers are returning home from a cruise vacation gone wrong.

We all heard about the nightmare aboard the Carnival Triumph, which was stranded in the Gulf of Mexico for days after an engine fire, leaving vacationers without a full supply food, working electricity or toilets. (So much for it's being the 'fun ship'.)

Wednesday, the Carnival Dream stalled out while docked in St. Maarten, and arranged flights to get its passengers back home.

Then last night, a 'technical problem' with the Carnival Legend ship forced the cancellation of their stop in Grand Cayman. The ship will limp back to Tampa, where guests can fly home or to the original port in Orlando.

And then of course, the much more serious issue with the Costa Concordia, owned by Carnival, which crashed off the coast of Italy, killing more than 30 people.

I took a cruise on the Carnival Liberty last January (we got home the day the Concordia crashed.) I loved every minute of my trip. I really believe cruises are among the best vacations around, and was even planning another one for next year.

cruising on the Carnival Liberty
Laurie basking in the sun on a Carnival cruise ship in 2012. (Laurie Cataldo)

Now, I'm thinking twice about it.

My biggest question is why are these things only happening with Carnival? Why aren't other ships having consistent mechanical issues like this?

The most ridiculous aspect of it all is that as part of the 'make-good offers' Carnival is giving affected passengers 50% off a future cruise -- as if they'd want to take a cruise again after this?

Unless Carnival stepped up their game, inspected every ship in their fleet, and made improvements where necessary, I don't know if I'd go on that line again.

I go on vacation once a year if I'm shouldn't be a gamble as to whether or not it's going to be a nightmare.

One thing's for sure, Carnival cruises will probably be a STEAL after all of this!

What do you think of cruise vacations? Tell us in the comment section below!

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