Disabled cruise ship: Passenger ‘hell’ on Carnival Splendor, or just unpleasant?

Assistant Los Angeles Times Travel Editor

Passengers’ reports from the stranded Carnival Splendor cruise ship, which was being towed Wednesday toward San Diego after an engine fire left it powerless, are starting to reach the outside world. Onboard life is either hell or just unpleasant, depending on who’s talking.

Scarfing Spam instead of caviar and Pop-Tarts instead of freshly baked pastries may not qualify as tragedies. But such images have set the blogworld atwitter -- and tweeting furiously. What Twitter users are saying:

In a post on Cruise Critic Wednesday morning, the husband of a Splendor passenger said he got a phone call from her: “She said ‘This is a cruise from HELL!’ ... She said there is no light in her cabin, toilet only got restored yesterday and stinks beyond belief. People are hoarding food, taking platefuls.”

But another passenger, an employee of a Denver television station, called his employer to report that passengers were standing in long lines for food but were otherwise doing reasonably well -- chatting, playing cards and walking the open-air decks, according to a post by Los Angeles Times’ staff writer Tony Perry.


“The only thing that made it really tough was when the facilities were all broken down and all the bathrooms weren’t working and people were starting to get uncomfortable,” David Zambrano told 9News.

Meanwhile, the U.S. Coast Guard, which sent technicians to the ship, said the more than 4,000 passengers and crew members were “safe and healthy.” That may not be the highest bar to set for a cruise, but under these circumstances, it’s good to hear.