They came to indulge in lavish seafood dinners, but ended up subsisting on rations of Pop-Tarts and Spam. Now the 3,299 passengers on board the Carnival Splendor luxury liner are slowly being pulled to shore by two tugboats—but without electricity, hot water, air conditioning or those elusive oysters.
“We sincerely apologize to our guests for this unfortunate situation and offer our thanks for their patience and cooperation during this challenging time,” Gerry Cahill, president and chief executive of Carnival Cruise Lines said in a Nov. 10 statement. “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.” (See pictures of the largest cruise ship in the world.)
The victims of this cruise-to-nowhere departed Long Beach, California on Sunday as part of a seven-day tour of the Mexican Riviera. But at 6am on Monday, a fire in the engine room disabled the ship and left it stranded 55 miles off the coast of Punta San Jacinto in Baja California, Mexico. The lack of electricity meant the luxury liner could not provide Internet, cell phone or ship-to-shore phone services. And because there was no power, the ship’s propulsion system could not fully steady itself, allowing waves to rock the ship more than usual—causing some passengers to get sick. Adding insult to injury, flush toilets were out of order for several hours.
The Los Angeles Times reports that the U.S. Coast Guard sent medical technicians to the ship, and that they found that neither passengers nor crew were suffering from any medical problems. The U.S.S. Ronald Reagan aircraft carrier was also diverted from training operations so that its helicopters and tug boats could deliver rations including canned crabmeat, fruit and milk to the passengers and crew. (See pictures of the Queen Elizabeth II cruise liner.)
Carnival anticipates that the two tug boats will drag the Splendor to the San Diego shore by this afternoon.
“[Passengers] signed up for a great cruise vacation and obviously that’s not what they received,” Cahill said. He added that he will make it up to them by issuing a full refund of their cruise fare, reimburse any additional travel costs such as airfare, and credit them with a free cruise. NewsFeed suggests that travelers taking him up on the free trip pack their own canned meat. (Read a TIME article on the greatest Spam recipes.)