Southern California -- this just in

« Previous Post | L.A. NOW Home | Next Post »

Carnival Splendor passenger describes 2-hour lines for food, other problems aboard disabled ship

November 10, 2010 | 10:36 am

A passenger on the Carnival Splendor cruise ship that lost power off Baja California and is being pulled by towboats to San Diego described long food lines and other onboard discomforts.

9News in Denver got what appears to be one of the first interviews with someone aboard the ship. David Zambrano, a 9News employee, told the station that passengers were eating Spam, crab meat and Pop Tarts as they waited to return to port.

“The only thing that made it really tough was when the facilities were all broken down and all the bathrooms weren’t working and people were starting to get uncomfortable,” he told 9News. "It's nothing like anyone expected, no.... You stand in line for two hours just to get your food because everybody goes to the same place to pick up their food. And, so you stand in line and you wait, then once you get your food, you leave and you look for something to do."

He said the situation hit a low point when the ship's bathroom facilities broke down. But they have since been restored. Overall, he said, people are taking the problem in stride, playing cards and chatting with fellow passengers.

The ship, which lost power Monday because of an onboard fire, is expected in San Diego about midday Thursday.

To ensure safety, the Coast Guard cutter Morgenthau, a high-endurance cutter based out of Alameda, is shadowing the 952-foot Splendor on the voyage. The fire knocked out the air conditioning, telephone and hot food service for the more than 4,000 passengers and crew members.

The cruise ship company has promised a full refund to passengers and transportation from San Diego to Long Beach, the ship’s home port.

Related: Crippled Carnival cruise ship makes slow return to San Diego

-- Shelby Grad and Tony Perry