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Disabled cruise ship expected to arrive in San Diego at midday Thursday, officials say

November 10, 2010 |  3:50 pm

The disabled cruise ship Carnival Splendor is 74 nautical miles from San Diego and is expected to arrive at port by midday Thursday, officials said.

Speaking at an afternoon news conference, Carnival Chief Executive Gerry Cahill said the massive luxury ship is being towed by two tugboats and followed by three others. The ship is moving at about 5.6 knots.

The 952-foot vessel, left largely powerless by an engine compartment fire  Monday, has 3,299 passengers and 1,167 crew members aboard.

The ship is operating on auxiliary power but remains without air conditioning, hot-food service and most telephone service. The toilets are working, and passengers are able to make sporadic phone calls.

In calls to friends ashore, passengers have reported long lines for food and a feeling of boredom and frustration but no major problems. About a fifth of the passengers are children.

Most of the passengers slept in their cabins but a few slept on deck, Cahill told reporters gathered along the San Diego waterfront. The crew is doing its best to make passengers as comfortable as possible, he said.

“We’re very sorry for the inconvenience our guests have had to deal with,” he said. “They signed up for a great cruise vacation, and that’s obviously not what happened.”

The company is securing hotel accommodations and making travel arrangements for the passengers. The ship departed Sunday from Long Beach for what was supposed to be a seven-day trip to the Mexican Riviera.

Related: Carnival Splendor passenger describes 2-hour lines for food, other problems

--Tony Perry