Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Carnival Splendor Without Power After Engine Fire

Carnival Splendor  (Courtesy Carnival Cruise Line)
Carnival Splendor 
Dead in Water 
Off West Coast of Mexico
Following Engine Fire

Carnival Splendor was on the first leg of a seven-day Mexican Riviera cruise that departed  November  7th from Long Beach, California when a fire was detected in an aft engine.  The fire was  extinguished and fortunately there were no injuries to guests or crew.

The ordeal started at approximately 6 AM Monday with guests initially being notified at 6:30 AM to move from their cabins to the ship’s upper open deck areas.  According to a statement issued by Carnival, "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."

Monday was a scheduled day at sea.  The ship’s normal itinerary includes stops in Puerto Vallarta, Mazatlan and Cabo San Lucas, Mexico.  The ship, which measures 113,000 gross registered tons and first entered service in July 2008, is carrying 3,299 guests and 1167 crew.


The ship has been operating on auxiliary generators following the fire and engineers have been unable to restore additional power to the vessel.  Consequently, without the additional power, 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.

As a result, the current voyage is being terminated.  Tugboats are currently en route to the ship which is located off the coast of Mexico, approximately 150 miles south of San Diego.  The tugs will tow the vessel to Ensenada, Mexico in an effort to get the guests home as quickly as possible.   The vessel’s command is in contact with the U.S. Coast Guard which has deployed aircraft and cutters to the cruise ship’s location.


Guests on the current voyage will be receiving a full refund along with reimbursement for transportation costs.  Additionally, they will receive a complimentary future cruise equal to the amount paid for this voyage.

“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,” said Gerry Cahill, president and CEO of Carnival Cruise Lines.

Contact information for family members: 1-888-290-5095 or 305-406-5534 

Source:  Carnival Splendor Update


The emergency response to the stricken ship includes two seagoing tugboats, contracted out of the port of Ensenada, Mexico, U.S. Coast Guard aircraft and ships, as well as U.S. and Mexican Navy vessels.  According to Cmdr. Greg Hicks, about 70,000 pounds of supplies, including bread, utensils, cups, milk, canned food and other items will be flown to the nearby USS Ronald Reagan aircraft carrier where they will be transferred to the cruise ship by helicopters.

The plan is for the tugboats along with a Coast Guard cutter, to escort the ship to the port of Ensenada where passengers will be unloaded.    This process is expected to begin mid-day Tuesday and take until 8 PM Wednesday night.  

The passengers will be transported by bus approximately 50 miles to San Diego where they will begin their journey home.   After unloading the passengers, the ship will then begin it's journey back to Long Beach, California, a process which is expected to take several days.   The plan was developed so that passengers didn't have to stay onboard any longer than necessary.


Carnival Cruise Line, and all the cruise lines, take safety very seriously.   The crews are trained to handle emergency situations and passengers must participate in mandatory safety drills.   From our vantage point, it appears that the training paid off this week as this emergency situation unfolded.   The fact that there were no injuries to guests or crew is a testament to a safety plan carried out well.

The cruise industry as a whole has an excellent safety record.   Situations like this fire are rare, but when they occur, are trying for all involved.   It appears to us that Carnival Cruise Line responded well both to the actual emergency and to the aftermath and is doing everything they can to assist the guests.   

It is too early to tell the impact on future Carnival Splendor voyages.  We will bring you updates as we learn more.


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