About 3,300 passengers who were stranded at sea without power onboard the massive Carnival Splendor cruise liner after a fire disabled the engine, are now being towed back to San Diego, California.
The Carnival cruise ship was left with only auxiliary power on Monday about 200 miles south of San Diego after the fire. Passengers who expected a relaxing cruise have been left with limited supplies that have been flown in by relief helicopters, such as Spam and Pop Tarts, while propping cabin doors open to let fresh air and light into their rooms.
According to a press release issued by Carnival Cruise Lines, the fire occurred at about 6 a.m. on Monday in the aft engine room. No crew or passengers were injured, but the crew was unable to restore main power.
The company has pledged to give all passengers a full refund, reimbursement for transportation costs, and a complimentary cruise in the future equal to the value of what they paid for this voyage. However, many may be entitled to additional compensation through a Carnival Splendor lawsuit for damages caused by the incident.
The Carnival Splendor is a 952-foot Concordia-class cruise ship operated by Carnival Corp. with more than twice the tonnage of the Titanic. She was put in service in 2008 and has a crew of about 1,150.
Two tug boats are in the process of towing the ship to San Diego, and are expected to arrive sometime on Thursday. The fire occurred during a cruise of the Mexican Riviera, and plans to tow the ship to nearby Ensenada, Mexico, were changed after Carnival officials deemed passengers would be more comfortable onboard the ship instead of being bussed across Mexico and having to go through customs. The decision was reportedly met by cheers from passengers.
During the slow, hot voyage back to shore, passengers were being entertained by acoustic music, trivia games and playing cards. However, the ship is equipped with flatscreen televisions in every room and the largest state-of-the-art indoor spa on a Carnival ship, which includes a thermal suite, beauty treatment rooms and a Thalasso therapy pool, as well as a ceremonial tea house. Most of those were presumably disabled by the loss of power. Auxiliary power is being used to provide cold water, emergency lighting and working toilets.