Stranded Carnival Splendor Expected in San Diego Tomorrow Night

Nearly 4,500 passengers and crew are still stranded aboard the <"">Carnival Splendor cruise ship off Mexico’s Pacific Coast. Tugboats finally reached the stricken ship late yesterday, but it will be at least another day before the Carnival Splendor’s passengers will be able to leave the ship.

The cruise ship lost power early Monday morning, after a fire broke out in the engine room. The Carnival Splendor had only left Long Beach on Sunday on a seven day Mexican cruise. The Carnival Splendor’s itinerary was to include stops in Puerto Vallarta, Mazatlan and Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, but the remainder of the cruise has been canceled.

The ship was 200 miles south of San Diego at the time of the engine fire. It began drifting about 55 miles off shore. Around 6:30 a.m. on Monday, passengers were directed from their cabins to the ship’s upper deck, but eventually allowed to go back to their rooms. Carnival is reporting that there were no injures.

The fire was extinguished after three hours. While engineers aboard the Carnival Splendor were able to restore enough electrical service to get the ship’s toilets and cold water working again, passengers and crew have been living without air conditioning or hot water, and because the refrigeration systems were knocked out, the ship was running low on food.

The vessel’s command is in contact with the US Coast Guard which has deployed aircraft and cutters to the cruise ship’s location, Yesterday, US Navy helicopters began ferrying 70,000 lbs of provisions from the aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan. Instead of the gourmet fare cruise ship passengers expect, those aboard the Carnival Splendor will be given canned crab meat, croissants, Pop Tarts and Spam. The Mexican navy is also part of the relief effort.

Originally, the tugboats were to tow the Carnival Splendor to Ensenada, Mexico, and passengers were to be bused back to California. But late yesterday, Carnival announced that given the ship’s speed and current position, the Splendor would be towed back to San Diego. The ship should arrive sometime tomorrow night.

Carnival said guests on the current voyage will be receiving a full refund along with reimbursement for transportation costs. Additionally, they will receive a complimentary future cruise equal to the amount paid for this voyage.

Carnival also canceled the Splendor’s next voyage, scheduled to begin on November 14. Those guests will receive a full refund of their cruise fare and air transportation costs, along with a 25 percent discount on a future cruise, Carnival said.

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