Passengers Without Toilets, Air Conditioning on Stranded Carnival Ship
The 113,000-ton ship, with 3,299 passengers and 1,167 crew onboard, has been dead in the water about 200 miles south of San Diego, since an early morning engine room fire yesterday. Carnival says there were no injuries to guests or crew.
Tug boats were heading to the scene to pull the Carnival Splendor to Mexico, according to a statement from Carnival Cruise Lines.
"The tugs are expected to reach the ship around midday local time today and will tow the vessel to Ensenada, Mexico, in an effort to get the guests home as quickly as possible," Carnival says.
Once ashore, passengers will be bused back to California, a spokesman tells AOL Travel News.
The US Coast Guard has also deployed aircraft and cutters to the cruise ship's location, Carnival says.
Meanwhile, passengers have been without many facilities for more than 24 hours.
"Currently several key hotel systems, including air conditioning, hot food service, flushing toilets and telephones are not available. The ship's crew is actively working to restore partial services," Carnival says.
Passengers were initially forced out of their beds at 6:30 a.m. yesterday, and told to gather on the Lido deck, where they remained much of the day, before being allowed to return to their cabins. The fire started at 6 a.m., took three hours to put out, and resulted in one re-flash
"At this time, guests have access to their cabins and are able to move about the ship. Bottled water and cold food items are being provided," Carnival says.
"We know this has been an extremely trying situation for our guests and we sincerely thank them for their patience. 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," says Gerry Cahill, president and CEO of Carnival Cruise Lines.
Carnival says guests on the ship will be receiving a full refund along with a complimentary future cruise equal to the amount they paid for the voyage.
Among those on the ship is Carnival's popular blogger, Cruise Director John Heald. A substitute blogger is filing posts updating readers on the ship's situation, and why Heald is unable to post.
The Carnival Splendor was on the first leg of a 7-night Mexican Riviera cruise that departed from Long Beach, Calif. on Sunday.
UPDATE: The U.S. Navy says it has diverted the USS Ronald Reagan "from its current training maneuvers to a position south near the Carnival cruise ship C/V Splendor to facilitate the delivery of needed supplies." The request, the Navy says, came from the Coast Guard. Some 4,500 pounds of supplies will be delivered by helicopter to the Splendor, the Navy says in a statement.
(U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Shawn J. Stewart/Released)
UPDATE, 8:45 pm: Carnival says one tug boat has reached the Carnival Splendor and begun slowly towing the ship to shore, with additional tug boats on the way. "Given the ship's speed and current position, we have decided to take the vessel to San Diego where it is expected to arrive late Thursday. Additionally, we are in the process of making all the necessary hotel and flight arrangements for our guests. If the ship is unable to maintain sufficient speed under tow, it is possible that we could revert to the previous plan and dock in Ensenada," Carnival says.
The cruise line says toilet service has been restored to most cabins and all public bathrooms, and there is now cold running water. The crew is still working to restore air conditioning, hot food service and telephones.
"Guests are able to move about the ship and food and beverage service, along with some shipboard programming, including children's activities and entertainment, are being provided," Carnival says. "The vessel's command is in contact with the U.S. Coast Guard which has deployed assets to the cruise ship's location and is assisting in providing additional provisions which became necessary due to the lack of refrigeration on board."
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Top photo, Carnival Cruise Lines