Home » Shipping News » CARNIVAL SPLENDOR Fire –Updated (4)


Posted on Monday, November 8, 2010 by

CARNIVAL SPLENDOR rounds Balboa Island at San Diego. Photo and copyright Mage Bailey 2010.


November 11: CARNIVAL SPLENDOR is gently nudged into her berth by tugs at about 8:20AM (PDT) in San Diego, ending a well documented cruise without power and safely returning her passengers and crew to port.

As a helicopter hovers overhead and tugs edge her along, the crippled CARNIVAL SPLENDOR arrives in San Diego this morning. Photo and copyright Mage Bailey 2010.


By late Wednesday night, November 10, US registered tugs MILLENNIUM DAWN and ERNEST CAMPBELL were towing CARNIVAL SPLENDOR northwards towards San Diego at a steady 6 knots.  By 11PM (PDT), the ship was some 35 miles from San Diego, and expected to dock at noon Thursday.  Press reports state the passengers are safe and well, but the cold and darkness of a ship without power has been a strain on some.  Airlifted food supplies, delivered by helicopter, have been served cold, and now, phones have been made available to passengers to contact loved ones and relatives. The next cruise has already been canceled and technical help is being flown in from Miami to meet the ship.  Carnival have also sought technical support from the SPLENDOR’s builder, the Fincantieri ship yard at Sestri Ponente, Italy.  It has been speculated that San Diego’s BAE Systems may also become involved, depending on the extent of repairs needed.


The tugboats that were originally sent to tow CARNIVAL SPLENDOR to Ensenada, Mexico are now being directed to take the ship to San Diego, where she is expected to arrive midday Thursday, November 11. Carnival also announced that hotel and flight arrangements would await the passengers, however if this operation takes too long, Ensenada may yet be reconsidered. Meanwhile, supplies were landed on board today by helicopters, as with no functioning refrigeration, the ship would otherwise be running low on food.


Two seagoing tugs contracted from Mexico are now towing CARNIVAL SPLENDOR to Ensenada, Mexico, where all the passengers will be landed and bused back to Long Beach, CA. Reports say that the ship’s air conditioning, hot water and telephone service were not working but auxiliary power allowed toilets and cold water to be restored by this evening (Nov. 8). Bottled water and cold food were being provided.

The cruise ship is being escorted by a Coast Guard cutter and should arrive on the morning of November 10 at Ensenada. After the passengers are dropped off, CARNIVAL SPLENDOR will be towed to Long Beach, CA (this will several take days, which is why the passengers are being landed in Mexico first).  Supplies, including bread, utensils, cups, milk, canned food and other items, will be flown to the USS RONALD REAGAN, where helicopters will transfer them to the CARNIVAL SPLENDOR. The cruise line announced that all the passengers would get refunds, reimbursement for transportation costs and a free future cruise of equal value.

Carnival president and CEO Gerry Cahill said, “Conditions on board the ship are very challenging and we sincerely apologize for the discomfort and inconvenience our guests are currently enduring.”


An engine room fire that struck the CARNIVAL SPLENDOR on Tuesday has been extinguished but the ship remains without engine power while emergency generators are in use for the ship’s services.

The 113,000-ton CARNIVAL SPLENDOR was on the first leg of a seven day cruise from Long Beach, CA when the fire began and was left drifting approximately 55 miles west of Punta San Jacinto, Mexico with 3,299 passengers and 1,167 crew members on board.

Press reports state the ship is in contact with US Coast Guard and as soon as power is restored, the ship will make her way back to Long Beach.  Tugs have been dispatched as a precaution and no injuries to passengers or crew have been reported.  The U.S. Coast Guard has sent three cutters and a helicopter to the SPLENDOR’s location and the Mexican Navy is also sending a patrol boat and aircraft.

Click here to read Peter Knego’s Sea Trek account of the CARNIVAL SPLENDOR’s West Coast inaugural cruise.

CARNIVAL SPLENDOR. Photo Tom Nicolai (c) 2008


The CARNIVAL SPLENDOR is a modified version of the “Conquest Class” with most of the design variations being in the stern and on the highest decks. Although similar, this is a one-off ship bridging the gap for the even larger “Dream Class” vessels that came after it.

CARNIVAL SPLENDOR 2008   113,300 tons   952’ x 116’   3,006 passengers (4,914 maximum)

The ship was built by Fincantieri of Sestri Ponente, Italy at a reported cost of US$697 million.  She entered service on July 2, 2008 initially in Europe before completing Carnival’s first cruise around South America on a positioning voyage to the West Coast to begin weekly cruise service to the Mexican Riviera from Long Beach, California.  The ship first arrived at her new home port on March 19, 2009.

The MV CARNIVAL SPLENDOR on her maiden arrival at Long Beach, California. Photo (c) Shawn Dake, March 19, 2009

29 Responses to CARNIVAL SPLENDOR Fire –Updated (4)

  1. Heinu Schütte

    November 8, 2010 at 11:52 pm

    So much for SOLAS 2010, enforced for a month and a compliant ship burns, wouldn’t have happened with Ausonia.

  2. pari kahn

    November 9, 2010 at 7:50 am

    Carnival Splendor Fire, Carnival cruise ships with approximately 4,500 passengers and crew members had just received a power in the Pacific off the coast of Baja California.

  3. Kenneth Eden

    November 9, 2010 at 8:34 am

    The Carnival Splenddor fire has gotten a lot of press coverage on TV here in the states.

    I was on the maiden voyage of the Costa Riviera, 1985, maiden for Costa, the ship was the refitted Lloyd Triestino liner Guglielmo Marcconi, which I also sailed in 1979, when Italian Line chartered the ship for a season. During breakfast I returned to our stateroom, to find smoke seeping under the doorway of a cabin. I broke the glass of the fire alarm, and within minutes the fire crew arrived. Somebody had a lit cigarette that smoldered in a chairs uphilstery.

    Two other incident, the first taking place on the Sagafjord, 1972. The ship picked up contaminated fuel, we were told by the captain, and left the ship floundering for 24 hours, no electricity, no water – nothing. The event was poorly hadled by Norwegian America Line. No appolgies, only irate passengers.

    Thye second incident was while aboard the World Renaissance, of Paquet Cruises, while up the Paramaribo River. The ship sucked filthy water, raw sewage to be coorect, into the ships cooling system, and the ship, while mobile and sailable, lost all electricty and water. The French capatin handled this very well, with free drinks, and outdoor barbeques. Water was restored before electricity, to the passenegr cabins, so we were all able to bathe, but, there was no A/C. The stench onboard was unbearable.

    The incident occured just before dinner on the Sagafjord, while people were showering and bathing, getting ready for dinner. Imagine 24 hours with soap and shampoo dried on your body? I was already dressed in tux taht night.

    I hope nobody was hurt during the Carnival incident, as this type of incident is frightening indeed.

  4. Jeffrey

    November 9, 2010 at 9:05 am

    check the online cam out, tells you exactly what time it went dead in the water: http://www.infocruise.it/infoCarnival/ShipInfo.asp?name=Splendor&channel=2

  5. Sean

    November 9, 2010 at 9:42 am

    There is nothing Splendid about Carnival or their mega-box barges. The only souvenirs I had from my one and only cruise with them was an empty wallet and a touch of the Norovirus.

    At least a fire would have made the trip interesting!

  6. Larkby

    November 9, 2010 at 10:22 am

    So, is there a salvage claim or a LLoyd’s contract in place to rescue this vessel? I am curious what contracts law or customary law of the sea is in place for the rescue of such a large, imperiled ocean going ship in international waters.

  7. Corey palm desert

    November 9, 2010 at 11:02 am

    I was just on carnival spirit and she needed maintenance work bad . Ship needed paint bad , windows were completely dirty and rails needed varnishing. I’m sure they don’t do proper maintenance in engineroom also.I was on mariner of the seas ten days before I went on carnival and the mariner was perfect in every way.

  8. David

    November 9, 2010 at 11:09 am


  9. Kathy

    November 9, 2010 at 11:40 am

    I have 6 family members on the Carnival Splendor and have faith that all is being done to ensure all is safe………….what a story my teen will have to tell.

  10. Gregg

    November 9, 2010 at 12:14 pm

    This could happen on any ship. No brand is immune to mechanical failure. i hope all the passengers are okay and that Carnival does more than put a bandaid on this.
    I do agree that the new ships look like stack a block lego ships but this is what the Americans are demanding..
    the older cruise ships are successful in Europe because Europeans like them and fill them up in cruise seasons.
    I would like to see the Architecture of these ships change.

  11. Barry

    November 9, 2010 at 3:51 pm

    OH MY!!! Here we go again, poor SPLENDOR… This ship seems to be cursed for lack of a better word… I cruised on her lats December out of Long Beach and was a great cruise until we arrived in the port of Puerta Vallarta, Mexico… The captian in all his glory seem to mis judge the pier backing up and well gues what he hit it full force and put a 12foot by 6 foot gash in the hull… He had to stay in port for 2 days while they fixed it, missed a port of call on the way back and almost missed Cobas. Carnival only gave up a 20.00 onboard credit, imagine.. We paid for all port charges and taxes and they say TAKE IT OR LEAVE IT!!!! Ok enough about that trip. Just before we sail I think it was a few weekd before the captain had taken a heart attack on the |Splendor, that goodnes he survied… Also a few month pior to this The SPLENDOR Hit a Royal Carribean Ship in the same port of Puerta Vallarta… I can say this , man I think this ship needs to be moved oout of the Pacific Coast. Carnival neeeds a serious overhaul of this ship top to bottom!!!

  12. Mike Ryan

    November 9, 2010 at 11:27 pm

    LOL @ Barry. You obviously DIDN’T pay all port charges on your bungled cruise, due to your account credit. Complaining about a missed port is not really necessary, since you signed a contract allowing that Carnival has the right to remove ports from your itinerary as necessary. It happens all the time.

    Also, 12×6 foot gash? Who have you been talking to?! Here are photos :of the incitent:


  13. andy

    November 10, 2010 at 1:18 am

    solar 2010 …….great !!!!!!!!! very safe!!!!!
    wishes from all safe old liners that be scrap

  14. Glenn Paull

    November 10, 2010 at 8:26 am

    Not a single passenger took advantage of the offer of being airlifted off the vessel. This tells me a very reputable company is doing everything they can under the most difficult conditions and the passengers realize and appreciate the efforts. Carnival offered full refunds in addition to a complimentary cruise of equal value. For the passengers that had booked the cruise that was cancelled due to the emergency, they also will receive a full refund in addition to airfare and a 25% discount on a future cruise. I know what the discomforts are not to mention the planned vacation disruptions. But considering how rare these incidents are and the fact there was no loss of life lets be grateful for the positive side. Thumbs up for Carnival Corp.

  15. Mage Bailey

    November 10, 2010 at 8:44 am

    The Carnival Splendor headlines our local paper.


    She has drifted quite a way South, and the tow is slow. The US Navy has loaded Spam, water, and croissants…that will make some zippy sandwiches for the passengers. They now say the Splendor will arrive late tomorrow night here in San Diego.

  16. David

    November 10, 2010 at 9:12 am

    I agree with Gregg any ship any brand this could happen to. I was on the S.S. Norway/Formerly France, not to long after she was put back to sea and we were floating in the Caribbean under the same circumstances.

    Carnival cannot be blamed for an obvious problem that was a simple mechanical problem……just as I have had 2 Honda Accords that were nothing but problems. They are mechanical….and things that are mechanical are going to have some issues no matter how new or old these creations are. The Maasdam had issues when she was new. I have been on 2 ships that have been docking or undocking and had issues with hitting the pier. One was a Princess Cruise in Vancouver and the other was on a fine old girl…Sitmars T.S.S. Fairsea in Los Angeles. The passengers were out on deck…..Band was playing Anchors Aweigh
    ……Streamers were fluttering down to the dock horn blairing and we began to move away from pier 195. Suddenly the Fairsea’s bow SLAMMED into9 the pier, denting the side of her bow. We had to sit in San Pedro for 24 hours till the coast guard cecked the damage. My point could happen…anywhere…..to any Cruise Line…….at any time. Funny thing though Maasdam, Splendour,,,etc Italian built ….They have good food wonderful people……BUT LET’S FACE IT THEY BUILT JUNKY CARS !!!

  17. Kevin

    November 10, 2010 at 6:40 pm

    Carnival offerd to airlift passengers? Where would they go. the Reagan or a long trip via helicopter to the shore? Even if a number of passengers took this offer (which I find hard to believe CCL offered) the Reagan would then have to return to shore with all these people. Further her flaming a growing question as to wether carnival will reimburse the Navy for all this help.

    Nobody knows why this happened..let the investigators do their job before we anyone says this was an accident.

  18. Simona Ara

    November 10, 2010 at 11:20 pm

    I used to be working for Carnival for over 14 years, since 1995. Things have changed so much over the years, sometimes for the bad. All I can say dear past and future passengers of the “fun ships” are that the crew works really hard, for “peanuts” money” ,14 – 16 hour days with a smile on their face so that, YOU THE GUEST can have a good time. Please do not blame them, blame the people in charge who cut the budges to make a bigger profit and who do not care whether you have a good time or, not all they care about is the PROFFIT and their million dollars bonuses at the end of the year.

  19. David

    November 11, 2010 at 7:01 am


  20. vessy

    November 11, 2010 at 10:04 am

    I was working for Carnival 4 years and what i can say from the name of all crew members that we were trying to do our best for the guest on board,working more than 12hours per day and still smilling……not all the guests are understanding what kind of job is on the ship,is not like to be on the land,when the guests will start to understand and to don’t maske they’re life more difficult is the best for everybody.Is not the fault of nobody for what is happen on board of Carnival Splendor,only the crew members and guests know what are passing and how much they are trying to help the passangers and the listen they’re complain,because at least 50% of the passangers are going with Carnival only to eat and to complain,and passangers with a lot of cruises that everytime are saying no more but are going back…..This what is happen with carnival Splendor can happen with each company and each ship,no matter old or new,and is not is they are keeping clean or no……

  21. Mage Bailey

    November 11, 2010 at 2:53 pm

    If you wish to use any of my shots of the Splendor entering the San Diego Harbor, just let me know.

  22. Alan Mackenzie

    November 12, 2010 at 9:02 am

    As a former Staff Electro-Technical Officer in several P&O passenger ships, including Canberra, Victoria and Arcadia (III), I was interested to see that in all the news reports, they quote Splendour’s problem as having been a fire in the engine room.

    However, in a diesel-electric ship (which Splendour is) to lose all power in this fashion, indicates to me, a major switchboard fire, rather than in the engines themselves. She would have either 4 or 6 diesel-alternators, probably about 9 or 10MW each, all feeding to a main 6.6kV switchboard. It is highly unlikely that any fire would knock out all the DAs simultaneously so, therefore, the most probable single point of failure, is the main 6.6kV board itself.

    It would be interesting to read the official report.

  23. Don Emch

    November 15, 2010 at 11:02 am

    I believe it was an EMP triggered failure that is being covered up.
    All the facts fit.

  24. Michael Ryan

    November 16, 2010 at 10:12 am

    Carnival Splendor is out of commission until January 17th, per Carnival cruise staff.

  25. Maurizio

    November 18, 2010 at 6:25 am

    Who is this fool david, if i could reach out touch someone; first of all genius (david) the problem was caused by a cracked crankcase..that is part of the engine, you know a big thing that has pistons and turns and creates power; you see we can learn…well anyway this is built by Wartsila a Finnish based company which was use to be Grandi Motori Trieste and was purchased in the early 80’s and manufacturing was moved to Finnland(the same people who built Royal Carribbean ships, how wonderful) Which i heard some nice horrow stories about those ships; they are built as good as IKEA funrniture. Yes most italian cars during the 80’s and 90’s (Alfa Romeo & Maserati) didnt have the much dependability but we have come a long way and we have plenty of italian automotive excellence and we forget how crappy the germans were when it came with Audi during the 80’s and early 90’s and how Honda was so damn terrible 20’s year’s ago which we can compare to how Hyundai was in 1989. So David(The genius) we need to perform research and read before sounding like a complete fool and ignorant and obviously someone who probably doesnt know anything……I like to know what nationality you ae because it probably aint one that really has not done anything or contributed anything to culture, technology and society. Beleive i can show you what italians can make and do….come to NY for a visit. Ci Vediamo, che stronza!

  26. Maurizio

    November 18, 2010 at 6:29 am

    Oh to DAVID…I almost forgot. FORZA ITALIA and FINCANTIERI for building over 50 of the best and technological cruise ships and more to come and for most of the tehnology you see today….maybe we should stop purchasing those Warstila Engines.

  27. John

    November 23, 2010 at 2:39 pm

    I was on the Splendor and can attest that offers of an airlift off the ship where not offered nor where they needed.

  28. Patrick Le Bihan

    November 24, 2010 at 12:16 am

    Answer to Maurizio,
    I agree with you.A crankcase failure is not common and can came from a structural problems ! Butit can be a serial problems of redundancy on all this kind of vessels built by Finncantieri. With aft engines out , ship lost all power. Why the forward engine room have not be able to take over ???? Wait and see the official report .A 2008 passenger vessel must be able to move alone in emergency situation.Hopeffully the ship was not in the middle of the Pacific Ocean !!!!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>