Disabled Cruise Ship Towed to San Diego

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Thousands of people who have been stuck on a Carnival cruise ship stranded off the coast of Mexico have been receiving help from the U.S. Navy, the U.S. Coast Guard and the Mexican Navy.

The Carnival Splendor lost power Monday after a fire in the engine room. No one was hurt, but the ship had been drifting aimlessly for two days.

The 113,000 ton ship is in the process of being slowly towed back via tugboat to San Diego, Calif. The 952-foot vessel was expected to arrive in San Diego on Thursday night, Miami-based Carnival Cruise Lines said in a statement.

Carnival officials said conditions onboard the ship have been challenging. The 4,500 passengers and crew have been without air conditioning, hot water, hot meals, cell phone or Internet service and even didn't have toilets for a while.

The Navy's aircraft carrier, USS Ronald Reagan, airlifted food and other supplies to the ship by helicopter.

"We're delivering the stuff to the carrier and the carrier's going to get that over to the Carnival Cruise Lines, so they get the supplies they need to make their passengers happy," said Matt Gonabe, a U.S. Navy pilot.

Some of the emergency food provided to the vacationers wasn't quite the lavish fare they were hoping for on an expensive cruise. The ship's passengers were dining on a big shipment, which included Spam and Pop Tarts.

Meanwhile, Carnival has offered all of the Splendor's passengers a full refund and a free future cruise for their trouble. The company may have to dry dock the ship if the damage from the fire is extensive.

"We know this has been an extremely trying situation for our guests and we sincerely thank them for their patience," Carnival President and CEO Gerry Cahill said in a statement.

Accidents like the engine-room fire are rare, said Monty Mathisen, of the New York-based publication Cruise Industry News.

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