The blaze left the Carnival Splendor dead in the water yesterday and without power onboard, conditions for the 3,200 passengers and 1,167 crew rapidly declined.
The cabin temperatures became unbearable after the ship’s air conditioning system broke down. With the ship’s kitchens out of commission because of the blaze, passengers have been forced to sacrifice fine dining on board and instead survive off emergency rations of shipped-in Spam.
There was no running water on the ship and the toilets were out of service, although fortunately for those stranded, both were restored by last night.
Carnival President and CEO Gerry Cahill said in a statement: ‘We know this has been an extremely trying situation for our guests and we sincerely thank them for their patience.
‘Conditions on board the ship are very challenging and we sincerely apologise for the discomfort and inconvenience out guests are currently enduring.’
The ship, which was bound for the Mexican Riviera, was drifting about 55 miles off the northern Baja California coast, was in contact with the U.S. Coast Guard, which deployed ships and aircraft along with U.S. Navy and Mexican Navy.
Around 70,000lbs of supplies, including utensils, cups, bread, milk, canned foods and other items, are being flown to the Reagan, where helicopters will transfer them to the stranded cruise ship, Cmdr. Greg Hicks said.
Two Mexican seagoing tugboats contracted from the port of Ensenada were predicted to reach the cruise ship and arrive back at the port around 8pm on Wednesday, Coast Guard Petty Officer Kevin Metcalf said.
The tugboats will be escorted by a Coast Guard cutter and must move slowly as the ship is so big.
Passengers will then be transported by bus to California, said Joyce Oliva, a Carnival spokeswoman. Once passengers are dropped off, the Carnival Splendor will be towed back to Long Beach, California, a journey that will take days.