AP, Gregory Bull
In this Nov. 9, 2010 picture, a Navy Seahawk helicopter prepares to drop supplies onto the Carnival Splendor cruise ship during relief efforts in waters off Mexico's Baja Peninsula, seen from the USS Ronald Reagan aircraft carrier.
Stranded at sea on the Carnival Splendor along with about 4,500 other passengers and crew members, Blue Island's Glinda Fisher said she's trying to make the best of things, but she desperately wants a cup of coffee.
"The little things, you take for granted," said Fisher during a phone interview Wednesday. "A cup of coffee. That's all. I would love to have a cup of coffee."
The cruise ship was crippled Monday morning after a fire in an engine room knocked out power. Tug boats are slowly towing the vessel to port in San Diego. Food is being brought in via helicopter from the aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan.
"We have no power, so our rooms are just pitch black," said Fisher. "It's hard to see what to do there. It's cold sandwiches; lunch meat sandwiches [and] tuna. We're all kind of getting tired of sandwiches right now.
The fact that Fisher could communicate by phone is even a bit of a blessing. After two days without phone service, she said she happened to come out on deck earlier in the day and saw people on their cell phones.
"I don't know where the signal is coming from," Fisher admitted.
She said there's no air conditioning and many of the passengers are sleeping with their doors open on the ship so the air can circulate. And since there's no power, there's no working toilets and no hot water.
"Take a nice cold shower. That will wake you up," she said.
Fisher and her husband, Terry, are on the ship with a group of amateur magicians. She said the group is passing the time staging magic shows and walking up and down the ship for exercise.
The crew, she said, is trying to keep people occupied with games and dances.
And while she's trying to take the adventure in stride, she said she noticed that other passengers on the ill-fated cruise haven't been sharing her optimism.
"I've talked to some people that have been here. This is their first cruise. They're like, 'Never again.' This is my fifth cruise, and I told them, I said, 'You could be driving down the highway and you could blow the engine in your car," she explained.
Carnival said it's offering passengers a full refund for this trip along with reimbursement for transportation costs. Additionally, passengers will receive a complimentary future cruise equal to the amount they paid for this voyage.
"We sincerely apologize to our guests for this unfortunate situation and offer our thanks for their patience and cooperation during this challenging time," said Carnival president and CEO Gerry Cahill in a statement.
The Splendor should arrive in San Diego by noon on Thursday.