Passengers Recount Cruise Ship Nightmare

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The crippled Carnival Cruise ship Splendor that left 4,500 passengers and crew without power, hot water or hot food for three days finally arrived in San Diego Thursday.

The ship's passengers are sharing stories of a dream vacation gone terribly wrong. On Monday, a fire in the engine room disabled the Splendor off the coast of Mexico. The crippled ship drifted for hours before tug boats arrived to tow it back to San Diego.

Living conditions on board ship quickly deteriorated.

"Obviously, there is no toilet, no lights. We are using the restroom in the dark. And for a day and a half, it couldn't flush," passenger Valerie Ojeda said during the ordeal.

"They shut off all the engines. All the systems. We were in what they called a blackout and that lasted about 12 hours," passenger Gordon Gilbreath said.

"At the aft part of the ship, the back of the ship, the smoke in the area was really very, very intense," passenger Chris Desaunier explained.

With refrigeration out, there was only enough food to last through midday Tuesday. In response, the U.S. military began dropping in emergency supplies, including Spam and Pop Tarts.

"This has been very challenging and we're very, very sorry," Gerald R. Cahill, president of Carnival Cruise Lines, told the ship's passengers.

Carnival provided live music and an open bar -- which was a bit of consolation for some passengers as the ship limped back to port.

"People were dancing, laughing, you know, trying to make the best of their trip. We obviously didn't expect it to turn out this way," Ojeda said.

Despite the ordeal, many passengers came through with their humor intact.

"What are the chances this would happen twice to thesame person?  So I'm going with the odds," one Carnival passenger joked.

"We can beat anyone's bad honeymoon story.  We got it beat! Except for the other honeymooners on the boat with us," said one newlywed.

Carnival said the cruise line company will give passengers refunds for this trip, and a free cruise in the future. The passengers will have until 2012 to book another cruise.

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