The disabled cruise ship Carnival Splendor was left drifting listlessly off of the Mexican coast this week after a fire caused the vessel to lose power.  4,500 passengers and crewmembers remain stranded at sea.

The 952-foot Mexican Riviera-bound cruise ship departed from Long Beach, California on Sunday.  An engine room fire in the generator’s compartment cut the ship’s power early Monday and it began drifting off of the coast of Baja California.  This left over 3,000 vacationers with no hot water, internet or phone service.  Paid passengers ate cold food and bottled water.

Relief Efforts

Navy helicopters shuttled in supplies Tuesday and Mexican seagoing Grupo Boluda tugboats were expected to reach the Carnival Splendor on Tuesday as well, to begin the slow process of towing the cruise ship 150 miles to the nearest Mexican port at Ensenada. The tugboats must move slowly because the cruise ship is so big.  From Ensenada, passengers will be driven 50 miles by bus to the California border.  Carnival said it is making hotel and flight arrangements for guests once they reach port.

This strange cruise ship accident hurts the vacation market even more than already problematic Mexican drug violence.  Carnival Cruise Lines is expected to refund all passengers their travel costs and issue vouchers for future trips.  The extent of the damage to the Carnival Splendor will determine whether passengers already booked for its future voyages will be out of luck.

None of the 3,299 passengers and 1,167 crew members aboard the Splendor were hurt.