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Home > Cruise News Archive > Cruise to Cherish or Nightmare to Avoid? Readers Weigh In on Carnival Splendor
Date Published: November 12, 2010
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(9 a.m. EST) -- Imagine you're stuck on a cruise ship without air-conditioning, hot water and fresh-cooked food, and there's no access to the Internet or phone service. Would it be the vacation from hell . . . or the adventure of a lifetime?

Carnival Splendor has made it to San Diego and the passengers are now safely off the stricken 113,000-ton vessel, but Cruise Critic readers continue to debate whether or not they would have wanted to be on Splendor's ill-fated cruise to nowhere.

The fire and subsequent power outage on the ship have certainly not put most people off cruising. In a recent daily poll on this Web site, only 1.55 percent of the 2,773 respondents said they would avoid cruising. Slightly more than 11 percent said they'd be nervous but still cruise, while everyone else will continue booking cruises worry free.

But the debate rages on on our message boards, our Facebook page and even our U.K. blog as people express their dismay at not being part of Splendor's adventure, while others thank their lucky stars they could just talk about it on Cruise Critic. Here's a glimpse at the arguments being made on either side.

It Was the Cruise From Hell!

The sheer lack of basic amenities is what horrified most people.

"I heard on the news that there was no hot water and also that the toilets weren't flushing...now THAT'S a nightmare!" posted Theresa Colombo on Cruise Critic's Facebook page, who is convinced the ship is jinxed. Member nrdsb4 agreed: "'Going to the bathroom in a bucket for a few days,' eating cold food . . . and the other numerous hassles and inconveniences these people are experiencing is not a cruise vacation. These people didn't sign up for a primitive camping trip.'"

Others were creeped out by the stranded-ship feeling. "It is not fun being on a disabled ship," posted Cheryl Bacon on Facebook. "It is downright scary at night when you have limited lighting or no lights at all."

Being onboard with children was a big concern for many. "I know me, and I would be a hot mess right now. PLUS, I have an autistic 24 year old. I shudder to think what would have happened if HE had been on that ship with me and my husband. Oh my God!!" posted ToShay Jones. Avid cruiser Cabana Cruise posted a similar reaction on our blog: "I would be hating it, but would try to make the best of it…. The hard part would be dealing with our 6 year old son … he would be so bored and without TV, Computer, camp carnival, all you can eat ice cream and show."

It Was an Adventure of a Lifetime!

All the arguments for "cruise from hell" make perfect sense to people who like comfort and relaxation on their vacations. However, we were a bit surprised at just how many people wished they could've traded places with people onboard -- or at least didn't think the passenger situation was all that bad.

Some readers will take a cruise -- even one with closed pools and only sandwiches to eat -- over pretty much anything else. "A bad day stuck on a cruise ship is still way better than a good day being stuck in a cubicle all day," posted Valerie Seit Clark Johnson. Ryan Loudermilk concurred: "I'm a camper and an outdoorsman. I have 'roughed it' in a whole lot worse conditions. As long as I'm safe, I'm ok. I would much rather be on that ship right now than laying in this hospital room!"

Many readers posted that Carnival's compensation package (full refund, post-cruise transportation and accommodations, and a future cruise credit) make up for any hardships onboard. Vickie Hoover summed up the general sentiment when she said, "I would eat spam for three days cuz you're getting your money back and a free cruise! What's better than going on a cruise already paid for!!!"

And then there were the adventurous sorts, who live for the thrills and the tales they can tell when they return. "I've been in a lot of worse situations," noted Gary Daniska. "Consider it an adventure and something to tell stories about." SueG chimed in on the boards: "Eating cold food and going to the bathroom in a bucket for a few days is not going to kill anyone. Doesn't anyone camp anymore??"

Some frequent cruisers are just looking for a change of pace. Posted firefly333: "If you are doing half a dozen cruises a year or even more, something out of the ordinary can be fun ... as long as I wasn't in harm's way."

Finally, some people just like this sort of thing. Robert Adams Lorrey is not shy about his preferences. He posted on Facebook, "Spam and beer for 4 days!!! What's the problem???????? It's like a Homer Simpson theme cruise."

So we want to know: Would you have wanted to sail on Carnival Splendor's recent voyage or are you thanking your lucky stars you didn't book that cruise?

Vote in our poll.

--by Erica Silverstein, Senior Editor

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