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

Martin Cox

Martin Cox

MARTIN COX - Founder and publisher of MaritimeMatters, inspired by maritime culture and technology growing up in the port of Southampton. He works as a photographer in Los Angeles, and his photography has been exhibited in LA, San Francisco, New York and London.The LA Maritime Museum has commissioned works and collected his photographs. Martin is the co-writer of the book “Hollywood to Honolulu; the story of the Los Angeles Steamship Company” published by the Steam Ship Historical Society of America. A catalog from his series STRANDED (twilight of the ocean liner) was also published last year.
Martin Cox

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