Carnival Splendor, seen in Vancouver in 2009.
Photo © Aaron Saunders
Update: 2:08pm: The US Navy is now assisting with the recovery operation, having transported supplies to the stricken ship. Tugs are also in place and have begun towing the ship to Ensenada, but the journey will take a full day - Carnival Splendor is not due to be alongside the Mexican port until tomorrow evening. After passengers have disembarked, the ship will be towed back to Long Beach, California - an operation that is expected to take days.
While we like to focus on the positives of cruising, the fact of the matter is that occasionally, incidents do happen. Today, the unlucky recipient seems to be the Carnival Splendor.
CNN is reporting the ship suffered an aft engine room fire yesterday morning around 6 AM PST. The blaze was successfully extinguished, and passengers and crew were never in any danger.
Once the fire was out, however, engineers were unable to restore the ships propulsion system, which also generates electrical power throughout the ship. Backup generators are providing emergency lighting and other essential electrical functions, but as of this morning air conditioning, hot food service, and telephone systems are still inoperable. Power - thankfully - was brought online to allow the ship's vacuum toilet system to operate.
The voyage, which set sail for the Mexican Riviera on Sunday, is now understandably cancelled. The ship has been adrift in the Pacific since yesterday morning, and it will be early afternoon before tugs will arrive on the scene to tow the two-year old vessel into the nearby port of Ensenada, Mexico where passengers will be disembarked and a full technical assessment undertaken.
Carnival Senior Cruise Director and noted blogger John Heald is aboard the Splendor, and while he is unable to post anything due to the electrical problems onboard, Carnival has been keeping readers updated with the latest from the ship.
Initially, guests were asked to vacate their cabins in favor of the open, upper deck spaces aboard ship, but have since been able to return to their cabins and the full compliment of public rooms. Bottled water and cold food items have also been provided.
Passengers will be receiving a full refund of their cruise fare in addition to a complimentary future cruise equal to the value of the fare paid. Transportation costs associated with returning from Ensenada will also be covered by the line. The line also said it recognized the extreme inconvenience to guests, and thanked them for their patience and understanding during this time.
While it is known that the fire has been contained and everyone aboard her is safe, it is unknown at this time what effect this will have on Carnival Splendor's future itineraries. A decision on this probably won't be made until the ship is safely alongside in Ensenada.
More updates will be posted as they become available.