Disabled Cruise Ship Reaches San Diego Harbor

A Navy Seahawk helicopter brings supplies to the Carnival Splendor cruise ship in waters off the Baja Peninsula of Mexico, from the aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan Tuesday, Nov. 9, 2010. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull) AP Photo/Gregory Bull

After four days with no electricity across hundreds of miles of open ocean, the journey for more than 3,000 passengers aboard the Carnival Splendor cruise ship coming to an end this morning in San Diego. The ship has reached the city's harbor, but is expected to take another two hours to dock.

For two days now, the ship has inched along at agonizing six miles per hour as it is dragged back to San Diego by two tugboats sent to rescue the 13-story floating hotel off the coast of Mexico, reports CBS News Correspondent John Blackstone. The ship had been stranded when it lost power on Monday due to a fire.

Conditions on board have become something significantly less than luxury, too, Blackstone reports. The pool and casino closed when the electricity went down; hot food and hot water became memories; air conditioning became nothing more than an open window or a nap on the open deck; and, perhaps worst of all, waste disposal has become a problem.

Passenger Danny Cole told CBS' The Early Show via cellphone that there were "people getting upset by the toilet situation. They couldn't flush, and there's quite a big smell issue on the ship."

Watch: Rescue Effort for Carnival Splendor
Scroll down for video of passengers cheering as ship nears San Diego

In all, six vessels will be needed to bring the ship to port, as it is no longer able to steer itself.

Even after the slow process of reaching port is complete, it's going to take several hours to get the thousands of passengers and their luggage on dry land without the aid of electric conveyors.

On Carnival's website, Cruise Director John Heald posted a blog saying passengers and crew "have risen to the obvious challenges and difficult conditions aboard."

"Obviously it has been a challenge but let me tell you the most important facts and those are that the ship is safe, the guests are safe and that nobody was injured," Heald said.

Staying safe might not have been enough for many of the passengers on board. Food lines stretched for hours, and passengers survived on a diet of non-perishable food and military rations.

The daughter of two passengers, Angela Evans, told The Early Show her parents were upset by the food options during what was supposed to be a vacation.

"They were not interested in Spam and Pop Tarts," Evans said. "I left him a text message saying, 'Hey dad, do they have multiple flavors of spam.'"


Gerry Cahill, president of Carnival Cruise Lines, acknowledged at a press conference the difficult time everyone was having.

"They signed up for a great cruise vacation and obviously that is not what they got," Cahill said. "We know we ruined their vacation."

  • CBSNews

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