Thousands on Stranded Carnival Cruise Ship Eating Spam Provided by Navy

Posted Nov 10th 2010 09:29 AMUpdated Nov 10th 2010 02:54 PM


It is Day Three for the thousands of stranded passengers and crew onboard the damaged Carnival Splendor, which is slowly being towed to San Diego after a fire knocked out the cruise ship's engines. And the U.S. Navy has airlifted in food supplies, including Spam.

Both the Navy, with the aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan, and the U.S. Coast Guard, with two cutters and aircraft, have been assisting the $700 million ship, which became dead in the water about 200 miles south of San Diego, and 55 miles from the coast of Mexico.

Some 4,500 pounds in supplies, including Spam, canned crab, dinner rolls and plastic cups, was delivered to the ship by Navy Seahawk helicopter.

The 113,000-ton cruise ship, with 3,299 passengers and 1,167 crew members onboard, has been operating on auxiliary power since the engine room fire early Monday morning, which forced passengers out of their beds.

The fire knocked out hotel systems including air conditioning, hot food preparation, refrigeration and telephones. For more than a day toilets were also not functioning and there was no running water – toilets and cold water have since been restored, Carnival Cruise Line says.

Passengers were initially restricted to the ship's open Lido deck, but later allowed to return to their cabins and are now able to move about the ship, the cruise lines says. Some shipboard programming including children's programs and entertainment has even been restored.

There have been no injuries to passengers or crew, the line says. There were reports the Navy offered to airlift any passengers who needed to leave the ship, but no one did.

A tug boat arrived at the scene yesterday, and under slow tow the ship is now expected to arrive in San Diego late Thursday. Additional tugs are expected to meet the ship to expedite the towing. Earlier plans to bring the vessel to Ensenada, Mexico, were scrapped.

Carnival says it is making hotel and flight arrangements for guests in San Diego. The ship had set sail Sunday on a weeklong Mexican Rivera cruise from Long Bach, Calif.

Carnival says guests on the Splendor will be receiving a full refund along with a complimentary future cruise equal to the amount they paid for the voyage.

The cruise line says it has canceled the ship's next cruise which was supposed to depart next Sunday. Guests scheduled on that voyage will receive a full refund of their cruise fare and air transportation costs, along with a 25 percent discount on a future cruise.

"We sincerely apologize to our guests for this unfortunate situation and offer our thanks for their patience and cooperation during this challenging time. The safety and comfort of our guests is our top priority and we are doing everything we can to allow them to return home as quickly as possible. We also apologize for having to cancel the next voyage of the Carnival Splendor. We realize how much guests look forward to their vacations and we know how disheartening it is to have their plans disrupted," says Gerry Cahill, Carnival's president and CEO.

There have been other unusual incidents on the two-year-old Carnival Splendor, leading at least one website to question whether the ship is "cursed."

A Carnival spokesman confirms the ship has been the scene of two suicides. In March 2009, a 63-year-old passenger disappeared off the coast of Chile after leaving a suicide note. And then on Oct. 13 of this year a male crew member was witnessed jumping overboard by several fellow employees, while the ship was en route to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico.

In addition, on Oct. 31, a crew member with a serious medical condition was airlifted off the ship by the U.S. Coast Guard.

UPDATE: Carnival says thanks to "favorable sea conditions," the ship is now expected to arrive in San Diego midday on Thursday. As the ship gets closer to coastal areas, guests are beginning to receive intermittent cellular service. The ship's phone system is also working on a limited basis, and guests are able to make complimentary calls home, the line says.

UPDATE, 2:45pm: Now that passengers are able to call out, they are giving first-hand accounts. David Zambrano, who works for 9News in Denver, says passengers on the stranded ship are waiting in line for two hours to get Spam, crab meat and Pop Tarts, ferried in by the U.S. Navy, and propping open their cabin doors to let in air and light.

"People are playing cards. People are standing around just kind of talking. They're getting to socialize," Zambrano tells the station. "It's not what you would expect on a normal cruise, of course not, but it's -- they're doing their best." He says the crew has been working around-the-clock to help out passengers and try to keep everyone satisfied.

Still, he says most passengers he's talked to say they don't plan to take Carnival up on the free future cruise offer.

Filed Under: News

Add a Comment

*0 / 3000 Character Maximum


Filter by:


January 19 2011 at 12:32 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

what about the vegetarians?

January 14 2011 at 1:03 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

How long ago did that happen? Guess OLD news is better than no news. LOL

January 13 2011 at 11:31 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I do not understand why Carnival did not send out another cruise ship. That would of been the sensible thing to do and the customer would be happy.

November 11 2010 at 6:37 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Happy Face

Not that I think that Carnaval should be hammered, but you can tell that a lot of those posting the sensitive "be nice to Carnaval" posts are travel agents and probably Carnaval employees. It's easy to see thru the veil.

November 11 2010 at 2:01 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Happy Face's comment

It is Carnival, not Carnaval.

And, your "travel agents" are probably people who have taken Carnival cruises before, like me, and do not appreciate the mis-information that is being given.
It's not difficult to "see thru that veil"

November 11 2010 at 12:44 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Gayle Pelella

We're going on the Liberty Dec. 11th I'm prepared for everything and anything. There is always another vacation and if you have bosses that are great then I'm more than sure they will help you get your weeks vacation on the next cruise out. I really think Carnival should stay away from Mexico lol.

November 10 2010 at 6:20 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Been on 18 cruises and many on Carnival. Had mechanical problems on a couple. Also been on Amtrak, stranded with no toilets. Been on a trip where my car broke down, and had flights delayed or cancelled. Time to go from vacation mode to adventure mode. When you try to make the best of a bad situation, it can be a memorable experience and a positive one. In this case, 4500 people got an adventure they will talk about for years--and it was free. They were safe at all times. Frankly, watching helicopters deliver supplies and marvelling at the innovative reactions of the crew would have been fun for me. To me the biggest tragedy: ALL THAT BOOZE--NO ICE.

November 10 2010 at 4:45 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I would like to hear more from the passengers when they return, what they feel about how they were treated, Accidents happen. Yes people lost vacations and spent money on transportation to the ship, we'll have to see how carnival handles their customers who are the ones who may have the right to complain. Could this have been prevented, we will see,
I think there will be some investigation into the incident. I would hope this leads to improvement either in the ships equipment or how the company handles these situations. I took this same cruise on the Carnival Pride a few years ago with my girlfriend and we had a great time. Our biggest complaint was that the stops on land were too short, but we still had fun.

November 10 2010 at 4:35 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Steve's comment

Steve, glad that you enjoyed your cruise. Re a short stay on land in each stop, your ticket and information on the cruise gave you all the itinerary and times prior to booking your cruise.

November 11 2010 at 12:39 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Capt Bill Clark


I own a 28 foot lobster boat and I have engine problems myself-had to get towed in by SEA TOW.owning a boat ,this comes with the terrritory.I grew up on Cape Cod and have been around boats my whole life.Just get it fixed and remember,there is allways next season

November 10 2010 at 4:14 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

What a nightmare! All I can think about are the disabled passengers. I am disabled with MS and hobble around with a cane. I couldn't imagine being restricted to the Lido deck before being allowed to return to my cabin that lacked air conditioning. MS patients often have serious problems dealing with heat. I hope that Carnival provided plenty of free booze to make this ordeal more tolerable for their 3,300 passengers. If I ever win the lottery, I am NOT going to spend my money on a cruise!

November 10 2010 at 3:57 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Jeremy's comment

I am sorry for your problem, BUT, the passsengers were given a chance to leave the ship and NO ONE chose to do so. They are happy, they are glad to be towed to San Diego instead of Ensenada, Mexico (see previous posts), no one was hurt, and they are warned in the fine print on their tickets, of any problems that might occur.

Bottom line is people need to realize that these people are there because they want to be and no one cares if you take a cruise or not.

November 11 2010 at 12:26 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply