Subscribe today
Get Cruise Critic in your inbox
Cruise News
Home > Cruise News Archive > Fact or Spam? We Examine Some Lingering Questions From the Carnival Splendor Saga
Date Published: November 12, 2010
More current news for Carnival Cruise Lines:
Carnival Cruise Lines Intros Steakhouse Dishes in Main Dining Room
Carnival Cruise Lines Renews Satisfaction Guarantee Through 2015

Carnival Cruise Lines Profile and Reviews
Latest Cruise News Headlines
Fact or Spam? We Examine Some Lingering Questions From the Carnival Splendor Saga
Video: Passenger Gives Eerie Guided Tour of Splendor
Carnival Splendor Fire Q&A: What You Need to Know
Reader Debate: Cruise to Cherish or Nightmare to Avoid?
Cruise Critic Member Recounts His Splendor 'Adventure'
Passengers, Others Speak Out About Life Onboard Splendor
Anatomy of a Relief Mission: How the Navy Assisted Splendor
Slideshow: Navy Delivers Much-Needed Supplies to Splendor
Passengers Debark Splendor; Crew to Get Lost Tips

(4 p.m. EST) -- As word spread across the Web that Carnival Splendor was dead in the water, disabled by an engine-room fire, media outlets began posting stories about stranded passengers on a "luxury cruise" reduced to eating Spam sandwiches while they were kept in the dark about the flames below. But as the smoke clears, it turns out that a number of these initial reports were erroneous. Here's another look at some of the most intriguing side stories from the Splendor incident, and whether they still pass muster.

The Claim: Passengers dined on Spam and Pop-Tarts.

The Facts: Carnival spokeswoman Jennifer De La Cruz insists that no one -- neither passengers, crew nor Senior Cruise Director John Heald -- swallowed a single mouthful of the iconic tinned spiced ham. What's true is that the U.S. Navy delivered Spam to the ship during the relief mission. "We gave the supplier a list of items that we wanted ... Spam was not on the shopping list," says De La Cruz. So how'd it end up onboard? De La Cruz explains: "We gave it to them on very short notice and gave them latitude to substitute where they needed to." Passenger reports corroborate the statement, and Cruise Critic has obtained Spam-free sample ship menus from Tuesday and Wednesday. Choices included full salad bars, with six kinds of dressing to toss cucumbers, tomatoes and lettuce with; a crab meat & avocado salad; franks, cheese sauce, lettuce & tomato wraps; smoked duck; Russian salad in hot dog buns; and lots of fruits and vegetables. (Tellingly, De La Cruz declined to comment on the ingredients in "Russian Salad.") And Pop-Tarts? Turns out that the boxed pastries did make an appearance. Cruise Critic member Bob Flynn, who was onboard, said they were offered on the last day, and they were "actually a welcome treat."

Click here for a slideshow look at the sample menus served on Tuesday.



The Claim: Two passengers were arrested upon debarking.

The Facts: AOL News reported Thursday night that the first two passengers to debark were escorted off the ship by law enforcement officials. This is true. Although Carnival was unable to comment on any specifics, De La Cruz told us that the arrests did not relate in any way to anything that occurred on the ship. AOL cites Adam Miles, an officer with the San Diego Harbor Police, as saying that the pair was nabbed after their names turned up on a routine Homeland Security check for outstanding felony warrants. In an Associated Press report, Miles noted that one of the passengers arrested was 40-year-old Wendy Singleton, who was wanted in Las Vegas on a felony grand theft warrant.



The Claim: Passengers didn't know about the fire.

The Facts: While we've seen several reports indicating that passengers weren't told of the fire, Carnival and Heald, who made P.A. announcements throughout the event, vehemently deny this. "When the first announcements were made," says De La Cruz, "the only thing the officers and crew knew was that there was a whole lot of smoke. They couldn't access the area in question at that point." The first announcements, therefore, didn't mention a fire. "Absolutely in later announcements, both he and the captain talked about the fire," De La Cruz added. (In his blog, Heald is offering a detailed play-by-play of the events.)



The Claim: There were no passenger injuries.

The Facts: While almost everyone, including Cruise Critic, wrote that there weren't any injuries reported among the 3,299 passengers and 1,167 crewmembers, there were in fact two -- albeit with a twist. One woman suffered a dislocated shouldered after a slip and fall. A man with a preexisting condition was sent to the hospital. De La Cruz tells us, however, that the two injuries were unrelated to the situation on the ship. Carnival Splendor has its own doctor and medical facilities, and given the extent of the health issues, the line determined that there was no need to request an emergency airlift in conjunction with the U.S. Navy's relief mission.



The Claim: The November 21 cruise is canceled.

The Facts: Carnival Splendor's next scheduled cruise, on November 14, has been officially scuttled. While the next cruise after that, a week-long Mexican Riviera sailing set to depart from Long Beach on November 21, no longer appears on the Carnival Web site, it has not yet been canceled. We're told that the cruise had actually been sold out, so it was and is unavailable for booking. We should know more when the line is able to determine the extent of the damage and a timeline for repairs.



The Claim: Carnival is a "luxury cruise line."

The Facts: For those who follow the cruise industry, this one was a little silly. On multiple occasions, publications from Time magazine to the Los Angeles Times described the stranded passengers as being on a luxury cruise. While Carnival Cruise Lines is many things to its fans -- fun, affordable, unpretentious -- it is not a luxury line. We might be nitpicking here, but we're sure that those associated with truly luxe lines like Silversea, Crystal Cruises, Regent Seven Seas and Seabourn were befuddled by the distinction.

--by Dan Askin, Associate Editor

Related Stories
Video: Passenger Gives Eerie Guided Tour of Splendor
Carnival Splendor Fire Q&A: What You Need to Know
Reader Debate: Cruise to Cherish or Nightmare to Avoid?
Cruise Critic Member Recounts His Splendor 'Adventure'
Passengers, Others Speak Out About Life Onboard Splendor
Anatomy of a Relief Mission: How the Navy Assisted Splendor
Slideshow: Navy Delivers Much-Needed Supplies to Splendor
Passengers Debark Splendor; Crew to Get Lost Tips
Your Turn: Chat About the Splendor Fire

Cruise News Headlines
More Carnival Cruise Lines News
Carnival Cruise Lines Reviews
Carnival Cruise Lines Deals

About UsAdvertisingEditorial DisclaimerPress
PrivacySite MapStoreSubscribe
X

Thank You For Signing Up!

Please Note: To ensure delivery of your free e-letters, please add news@cruisecritic.com to your address book.

We're committed to protecting your privacy and will not rent or sell your e-mail address. By proceeding, you agree to our Privacy Policy and Terms of Use.