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Home > Cruise News Archive > Passengers on Carnival Splendor Begin Debarking; Cruise Line Offers Crew Extra Compensation, Hotel Rooms
Date Published: November 11, 2010
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(2:05 p.m. EST) -- After four days stranded at sea, passengers are debarking from the stricken Carnival Splendor, which was towed into a San Diego dock earlier today. As a result, numerous Cruise Critic members are now chiming in on the message boards with reports on what life on the 113,000-ton vessel was like.

Kailin reports, "It wasn't until Tuesday evening that we were advised of the catastrophic nature of the damage. Carnival did a good job of keeping us calm and somewhat informed. We feasted on vegetables, fruit, and sandwiches . . . I have had my fill of cold showers." Meanwhile, flyorange says, "Don't believe everything you hear on the news. There were food and the toilets worked for most people after the 1st 12 hrs . . . Our cabin staff worked around the clock. Granted it wasn't steak and lobsters and the food was certainly not as bad as what everyone has been saying."

Six tugs pushed and pulled the 952-foot Splendor into port as hundreds looked on from the dock. As passengers exited the ship, entrepreneurs were doing a brisk business selling T-shirts commemorating the event.

Splendor was crippled by an engine-room fire on Monday and set adrift west of Baja California. During a Wednesday news conference, Carnival Chief Executive Gerry Cahill explained why the ship lost power.

According to the San Diego Union-Tribune, "The fire burned enough electrical connections to prevent the ship's engineers from restarting full power. Cahill explained that one of the ship's six diesel generators in the aft engine room had an internal malfunction, which he described as a crankcase that split and caused the fire." The newspaper added that the ship will be repaired in San Diego by Carnival technicians and Coast Guard engineers.

No injuries were reported among the 3,299 passengers and 1,167 crewmembers as a result of the fire, which the National Transportation Safety Board is now investigating. In addition, there are no reports of structural damage to the vessel, and there is no visible damage to the ship's exterior.

While generators provided power to navigation equipment and emergency-detection systems onboard, few creature comforts were available to the 3,299 passengers onboard. Flushing toilets and cold water were restored late Monday, but there is still no air conditioning, telephone or Internet available. The lack of refrigeration and means to prepare hot meals prompted repasts of Spam and Pop-Tarts, and bored passengers passed the time by being entertained with trivia contests, dance classes and acoustic music -- as well as free drinks in Splendor's bars and lounges.

Early Wednesday, as the ship came closer to coast, passengers were able to reconnect with loved ones via cell phones and complimentary calls provided by Carnival. One of the first was Cruise Critic member AZ GIRL, whose husband posted on the message board: "She said 'This is a cruise from HELL!' ... She said there is no light in her cabin, toilet only got restored yesterday and stinks beyond belief. People are hoarding food, taking platefuls." To hear what passengers had to say, check here.

Carnival is providing hotel accommodations, ground transportation and flights home for all passengers. Passengers will also receive a full refund, plus a complimentary future cruise, as compensation. In addition, the line has extended benefits to the ship's crew, announcing on its Facebook page that they "have been given the option of staying at hotels in the coming days, paid for by Carnival, and are receiving a stipend for meals. Along with their normal pay, they are being compensated for gratuities they would have normally received."

The line has already canceled the next cruise, originally scheduled to depart Long Beach on November 14. Passengers booked on that sailing will receive a full refund of their cruise fare and air transportation costs, along with a 25 percent discount on a future cruise. According to a letter from the line received by Cruise Critic member zonacruiser25, passengers also have the option to rebook onto a different Carnival cruise.

We'll be monitoring the situation, so check back for the latest.

--by Dan Askin, Associate Editor; John Deiner, Managing Editor; and Shayne Thompson, Web Content Producer

--First image appears courtesy of the U.S. Coast Guard. Second Image appear courtesy of the U.S. Navy.

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