Crippled Cruise Ship Returns, Passengers Recall "Nightmare" Trip
The ship arrived around 8:30 a.m.
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The disabled cruise ship Carnival Splendor arrives at port. (KTLA-TV / November 11, 2010)
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Six tugboats gently brought the Carnival Splendor into port around 8:30 a.m.
The first group of passengers walked down a ramp about an hour later, dragging rolling suitcases behind them and entering a tent on the dock.
With the ship's elevators out of order, port officials estimated it would take about four hours for everyone to leave the ship.
Initial plans were to tow the ship to the Mexican coastal city of Ensenada and then bus the passengers into California. But, the cruise line said it decided the passengers would be more comfortable on board.
A U.S. Navy aircraft carrier rendezvoused late Tuesday with the ship bringing 10,000 pounds of food and supplies for the nearly 3,300 passengers and nearly 1,200 crew members, Cmdr. Greg Hicks, spokesman of the U.S. Third Fleet, said.
The Carnival Splendor became stranded some 130 miles west of Ensenada, Mexico Tuesday, a day after it lost power following an engine room fire.
The fire occurred about 6 a.m. Monday in the engine room of the Splendor, the cruise line said Tuesday in a statement posted on its website. The blaze was extinguished and no passengers or crew were injured.
However, engineers were not able to restore power to the ship, which was operating on auxiliary generators, the statement said.
As of Tuesday, "several key ship systems, including air conditioning, hot food service and telephones are not available," the cruise line said.
On Monday night, engineers were able to restore toilet service to cabins and public bathrooms, along with cold running water, Carnival said, adding, "The ship's crew continues to actively work to restore other services."
U.S. Navy Seahawk helicopters were ferrying supplies, including Spam, crab meat, croissants and Pop Tarts to the ship from the USS Ronald Reagan, an aircraft carrier that reached the Splendor after it was diverted from training maneuvers to help.
Announcements advising guests of the situation began early Monday, the cruise line said. Guests initially were asked to move from their cabins to the open upper deck areas of the ship, but later were given access to their cabins and were able to move about the ship, Carnival said. Bottled water and cold food items were being provided.
The voyage -- a seven-day cruise along the Mexican coast that departed Sunday from Long Beach, California -- was terminated, Carnival said.
Guests will receive a full refund and reimbursement for transportation costs, and will also receive a complimentary future cruise equal to the amount they paid for this voyage, Carnival said.
"We know this has been an extremely trying situation for our guests and we sincerely thank them for their patience," Gerry Cahill, president and CEO of Carnival Cruise Lines, said. "Conditions on board the ship are very challenging and we sincerely apologize for the discomfort and inconvenience our guests are currently enduring. The safety of our passengers and crew is our top priority and we are working to get our guests home as quickly as possible."
The ship's normal itinerary included stops in Puerto Vallarta, Mazatlan and Cabo San Lucas, Mexico.
Carnival has a Hotline number you can call for more information its, 888-2-90-5095.