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Carnival Splendor passenger: 'The food lines were two hours'

November 11, 2010 | 10:20 am

Passengers disembarking from the disabled cruise ship Carnival Splendor were offering varied reviews Thursday of their four days aboard a cold, dark luxury liner that lost power after an engine room fire.

“This was for my birthday and it was totally ruined,” said Marques Horace, 34, an actor from Los Angeles. “The food lines were two hours, and when you got up there sometimes there was nothing left.

"The sandwiches went in the first hour," he continued. "A lot of people got very grumpy about that. I’ll never go on another cruise again.”

Danny Levenson, 40, of San Diego, was waiting for his mother.

“Mom just wants to go home,” Levenson said. “They offered her another cruise -- like she’s ever going to go on another cruise. No way. I’m not going to allow it.”

But Grace Luzinski, 65, of Minneapolis, focused on the positive: “They did a terrific job for us and kept us as happy as possible under terrible circumstances. They were very nice people.”

Anthony Pauletto, 29, a corporate recruiter from Chicago, said he found a way to keep himself amused.

“It started out lousy, but it got better,” he said. “It was not really all that bad. Did a lot of drinking.”

Ryan Harlan, 10, of Orange County, who was on the cruise with his parents, said “it was kind of scary being stuck in the middle of the ocean."

"First they said we would be out there until Friday," Ryan said. "Then it got better. Food wasn’t really good. I mostly stuck to eating cereal. And Pop-Tarts. Dad refused to eat Spam.”

The entrepreneurial spirit was alive and well amid the throngs standing by as some 3,200 passengers disembarked. Vendors greeted them, as well as family and friends.

The street hawkers sold red and blue T-shirts that read: “I survived the 2010 Carnival Cruise Spamcation.”

The reference is to cold food products, including the canned meat Spam, that passengers subsisted on.

The ship set sail from Long Beach on Sunday evening, headed for a seven-day cruise in the Mexican Riviera. Early Monday morning, an engine fire knocked out power, leaving the ship stranded for days without hot water or hot food. Tugboats towed it back to San Diego.

-- Tony Perry