(11:25 a.m. EST) -- Carnival Cruise Lines announced this morning that Carnival Splendor -- crippled by an engine fire last week and towed to San Diego during a saga that caught the world's attention -- will be out of service through January 9, 2011. The ship will resume service January 16. According to the line, passengers on the canceled voyages will receive a full refund and air transportation costs. In addition, they'll get a 25 percent discount on a future cruise. The ship is currently in San Diego, where investigators from the National Transportation Safety Board, the U.S. Coast Guard, the government of Panama (where the ship is flagged) and Carnival itself are looking into the cause of the November 8 blaze. In a statement, Carnival President and CEO Gerry Cahill says he wanted to "sincerely apologize" to those on the canceled sojourns and explains that because "we have a full technical team engaged in the assessment, we wanted to provide this information as quickly as possible."
Carnival is now in the process of contacting guests and travel agents involved with the canceled cruises. Cruise Critic member jandjfun posted a copy of the notice she received from Carnival, which states that affected travelers can also "reschedule immediately on another voyage." Whether that's a viable option during the busy holiday season is another question, which we're looking into. But we're also wondering: Do you think this compensation is fair? Vote here.
--by John Deiner, Managing Editor