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Home > Cruise News Archive > Passengers Debark Carnival Splendor; Cruise Line Comps Crewmembers, Debunks Spam
Date Published: November 11, 2010
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Passengers Debark Carnival Splendor; Cruise Line Comps Crewmembers, Debunks Spam
Fire FAQ: Passenger Safety, Damage Report, More
Video: Passenger Gives Eerie Guided Tour of Splendor
Fact or Spam? Lingering Questions from the Splendor Saga
Cruise Critic Member Recounts Carnival Splendor 'Adventure'
Passengers, Others Speak Out About Life on Splendor
Anatomy of a Relief Mission: How the Navy Assisted Splendor
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Your Turn: Chat About the Splendor Fire

(7:05 p.m. EST) -- After four days stranded at sea, passengers onboard the stricken Carnival Splendor -- which was towed to a San Diego dock earlier today -- are back on solid ground, including numerous Cruise Critic members quick to chime in 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 [was] 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." (To hear what more passengers have to say, check here.)

Six tugs maneuvered the 952-foot Splendor into port mid-morning Pacific time as hundreds of family members looked on from the dock. As passengers exited the ship, entrepreneurs were doing a brisk business selling T-shirts commemorating the event, including one that read "I Survived the 2010 Carnival Cruise Spamcation." (Pictured are Vicki Lieske of Burlington, Washington and Rich Bibaud of Bothel, Washington.)

Carnival is providing hotel accommodations, ground transportation and flights home for all passengers, who will receive a full refund and a complimentary future cruise as compensation. In addition, the line has extended benefits to the ship's crew, announcing on its Facebook page this afternoon 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."

Splendor was crippled by an engine-room fire on Monday and set adrift west of Baja California. The National Transportation Safety Board has now launched an investigation into the blaze, which burned through multiple electrical connections and cut power to the ship. During a Wednesday news conference, said the San Diego Union-Tribune, Carnival Chief Executive Gerry 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 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, and there are neither reports of structural damage nor visible damage to the ship's exterior.

While generators provided power to navigation equipment and emergency-detection systems, few creature comforts were available. Flushing toilets and cold water were restored late Monday, but air conditioning, telephone and Internet were nonexistent. Bored passengers passed the time being entertained by trivia contests, dance classes and acoustic music -- as well as free drinks in Splendor's bars and lounges.

The lack of refrigeration and means to prepare hot meals prompted an airlift of provisions (including Pop-Tarts, fresh fruit and utensils) from the USS Ronald Reagan, which had been doing maneuvers in the region. Photos of Spam being loaded onto the ship became an iconic image of the saga, though Carnival pointedly tweeted on Thursday afternoon that "Despite media reports to the contrary, Carnival Splendor guests were never served SPAM!" Spokesman Vance Gulliksen told Cruise Critic that SPAM ended up on the ship after a supplier substituted it for other items it couldn't procure.

Still, the disputed foodstuff has its fans. Cruise Critic member Tandoorii posted on the boards this afternoon that "yes, SPAM is best with a little bit of cooking. Winning thirds, seconds and a first place ribbon at the Illinois State Fair SPAM Bake-Off over 10 years, I can tell you that most of the entries are cooked or blended with lots of other stuff not available on a ship with no power. However, SPAM is popular in Indonesia, Far East and Philippines where many of the crew come from. Draw your own conclusion."

Carnival 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. Passengers also have the option to rebook onto a different Carnival cruise. Despite the removal of all November Splendor cruises from the Carnival Web site, Gulliksen tells Cruise Critic that the "only cruise we have canceled is the November 14 sailing."

--by Cruise Critic staff members Dan Askin, John Deiner, Erica Silverstein and Shayne Thompson

--Image appears courtesy Carol Sottili.

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Fire FAQ: Passenger Safety, Damage Report, More
Video: Passenger Gives Eerie Guided Tour of Splendor
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Cruise Critic Member Recounts Carnival Splendor 'Adventure'
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Anatomy of a Relief Mission: How the Navy Assisted Splendor
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