Why Watch: This three-minute-and-16-second video, which is actually two passenger videos back to back, is far and away the most accurate depiction of conditions on the ship. Video appears courtesy of the Associated Press.
Most Revealing Tidbit: The food lines are fascinating to see, but the moment that stands out for us is seeing passengers hanging out in the cabin corridors. One woman talks about "grandma" celebrating an 80th birthday. As she speaks, a talkative toddler ambles past her down the hall and a room steward, John from St. Vincent, delivers what she describes as the last of the ice to a cabin.
Nicest Moment? When describing an approaching U.S. Coast Guard skiff, the first narrator notes, "That was a good moment that someone was there just to help out."
John Heald Addresses the Phenomenal Crewmembers
Why Watch: Carnival's Senior Cruise Director John Heald addresses the crew for 15 minutes -- in Splendor's nearly dark theater. He thanks them for the amazing job they've done, and lets them know that they'll each get to spend a couple nights in a hotel in San Diego where they can have a hot shower, a hot coffee, etc. They'll also be getting $150. They cheer him after every sentence.
Jaw-Dropping Moment: At one point, a number of crewmembers starts calling out for something. Heald first thinks they're saying "ice." "Forgot about the ice, yeah we missed ice," he says, in reference to the fact that the lack of refrigeration meant no more ice was available for passengers or crew. But they continue to chant the same thing. "Spice?" he asks. "Oh, rice! Have you missed rice?!" In unison, the crowd thunders "yeah!" Splendor's crew is predominantly South Asian, with a large contingent of Filipinos, so rice is a high priority.
"Healthy Perspective" from Stuck Passenger
Why Watch: David Zambrano, a passenger onboard who had phone access, speaks to MSNBC about the situation, compliments the crew for their efforts and says he would definitely cruise again.
Most Revealing Tidbit: Zambrano talks of passengers who had no changes of clothing whatsoever because a mishap on embarkation day resulted in a bunch of suitcases falling into the harbor. It was the first we'd heard of this.
Nicest Moment? Says Zambrano, "Compliments to the crew for working so hard to make sure passengers are as comfortable as can be."
Video appears courtesy of MSNBC.
CNN's Skewed View of Cruise Travel
Why Watch: The report is a train wreck whose producers clearly want to grind an axe about cruising. They're using this particular incident to hang the industry without understanding what they're talking about. Take this comment, for example: "Splendor," we're told, "is not splendid." Well, yeah. What would you expect after three days adrift at sea?
Low Moment: The interview with Micha Berman -- a former assistant cruise director (many, many years hence), who wrote a book called "Permanent Passenger" -- is tasteless. He's clearly looking for his Warholian 15 minutes when he starts talking about all the nasty stuff that goes on these days on cruise ships.
Best Line: "Just a few days ago, they were enjoying lavish buffets. Now it's Spam and Pop-Tarts."
--by Dan Askin, Associate Editor, and Carolyn Spencer Brown, Editor in Chief
Fire FAQ: Passenger Safety, Damage Report, More
Fact or Spam? Lingering Questions from the Splendor Saga
Cruise Critic Member Recounts Carnival Splendor 'Adventure'
Passengers, Others Speak Out About Life on Carnival Splendor
Anatomy of a Relief Mission: How the Navy Assisted Splendor
Slideshow: U.S. Navy Supply Mission
Passengers Debark Carnival Splendor; Cruise Line Comps Crewmembers, Debunks Spam Myth
Your Turn: Chat About the Splendor Fire