Finally Off Stranded Cruise Ship, Passengers Tell Their Stories : The Two-Way Some describe the conditions as "deplorable" while others describe an atmosphere where people were just trying to make the best of it.
NPR logo Finally Off Stranded Cruise Ship, Passengers Tell Their Stories

Finally Off Stranded Cruise Ship, Passengers Tell Their Stories

Stranded Carnival cruise ship passenger Ingrid Santos walks by a woman holding a t-shirt that reads, "I survived the 2010 Carnival Cruise spamcation." Kevork Djansezian/Getty hide caption

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Now that the Splendor has docked and its passengers are on dry land, their stories are flowing. Most of them describe an uncomfortable experience with questionable food, an abundance of darkness and lots of stair climbing.

“It was camping on the ocean and I hate camping,” Jackie Harlan told the San Diego Union-Tribune. Other passengers told the paper that sometimes they waited more than two hours for meals:

The fare included cheese-and-beet sandwiches and other sandwiches filled with something that looked like corned-beef hash.

“I heard there were Pop Tarts but I didn’t see any,” said Chris Harlan, 33, who just gave up and didn’t eat the last day and a half on the ship.

CNN spoke to a passenger who said that at one point the ship ran out of food:

"It was absolutely deplorable," (Marquis) Horace said. At one point, the ship ran out of food, he said, and "they started making mayo sandwiches."

"I expected a really nice time and it was like Gilligan's Island or something," he said.

He said he ate a lot of bananas and dry cereal, but at one point didn't want to eat anymore because the smell of overflowing toilets, spoiled food and rotten milk was overwhelming.

The Los Angeles Times gets to that first night, when the fire broke out in the engine room and toilets wouldn't flush:

Mike Hall, 36, who works for a Las Vegas cable TV company, said the fire caused a disturbance that rattled the ship.

“We were sleeping late and suddenly the whole ship started to shake and the power went off. We were in the dark. And we knew something bad had happened," he said. "It woke everybody up.”

Toilets in his part of the ship wouldn't flush until Wednesday, forcing passengers to scoop up waste and dump it in receptacles at another location.

But it seems many passengers just tried to make the best of it. Josh and Ashley Vest, who were on their honeymoon, told the LA Times once the Navy dropped off supplies, things seemed a lot better. The Times quotes Vest:

"The bar in our area was closed. But it wasn't too hot aboard the ship and there was music and games. Last night, we knew we were going home and everybody was happy. And then they opened up the bar and people were even happier."

He said the joke among passengers was that there were going to be "a lot of babies born in the next nine months."