Thought I would post this all in one place since there are several of you that made comments and I don't want to have to go to several places to answer questions. So we can start here. I will answer any questions about the cruise and the experience you have. But first let me post the "timeline of events" and what we witnessed to help displace some of the rumors and untruths I have already heard in the media.
First off this was supposed to be a long weekend get-away 4 day cruise to Cozumel for my birthday and so that my eldest daughter could get a scuba dive in before her dive certification would need to be renewed. (They like you to have at least a dive a year in your log book) All was going as planned (I was winning money in the casino, the food was excellent and we got to Cozumel and had a great dive day. Then at 5:20 am on Sunday we were awaken to the calls of Alpha Team to the Engine Control Room! Which was a bit concerning but I have heard calls for Alpha Team before and nothing every major came of it. But then about 5 minutes later another announcement came to move the gather point from stairway 20 to the medical area. Then the power went out for about 30 seconds and then came back on. I was wide awake now. The ship was still moving so I was hoping the power outages was just a breaker flip or they needed to turn something off to fight the fire. Then the planner in me kicked in and I went over and opened the safe (not knowing if you needed power to open the safe). If we lost power or had to abandon the ship… I wanted my cash . They made a couple of more announcement to coordinate the fire team and to ask people to NOT go to their muster stations. They had to make this announcement a couple of times. Then the power went out completely and the engines stopped and we were adrift. So I just got dressed and figured I would go up on deck and see what was up. By the time I got out to the deck I heard the captain say the fire was out, but they had to close the bulk head doors to the engine room to engage the halon system to put out the fire. Now they had to wait until the temperature in the control room dropped enough to open the doors and enter to access the damage.
I figured I would go see if the continental breakfast was out. Well a line had already formed for the Danishes and fruit. About 20 people were in line and as we waited our turn I saw a couple who each had two of the big serving trays. The husband had a tray with about 10 cartons of milk on it and the other with several pieces of fruit and some more milk. The wife had two trays of Danishes piled high. It wasn't until they had walked away that we could see that they had cleared ALL of the remaining food from the continental breakfast buffet. I was speechless. I have never seen such an act of disregard for others in my life. Luckily there were a couple of milk containers left and a crew member brought out some cereal boxes so we were able to get some breakfast.
After breakfast, we went back to the cabin to check on Christa. She had taken ill after formal night (we think she ate something then or maybe it was something she drank). She was feeling okay enough to do her dive but Saturday night she got so much worse she was begging to be taken down to the doctor. I told her that with the fire we should not go down there, but would come back and check on her after the fire was out. Lisa ran down (from deck 9 to 3) the stairs since there were no elevators to ask guest services if the doctor was available and they said bring her down immediately. She came running back up to deck 9 and then took Christa all the way down to deck 0 to see the doctor. And then back up. So she got her aerobics in for the day.
The we waited. We had no running water, only emergency lighting, no toilets and an update announcement from Jen the cruise director every 15 minutes to a half hour. The announcements were always the same, keep calm the ship is safe, we are waiting for the temperature to drop so we can access the damages. Except for the nasty one. "Your cabin steward will be bringing you red plastic bags if you need to do a number 2, If you need to, you can use your showers for a number 1" We were officially camping.. which I hate. The updates went on until 11am and I realized if it was still too hot to enter 5 hours after the fire that it must have been a large fire and things were not going to be good. We found our cruise partners and decide to go play cards while we waited things out. We played cards on the Lido back by the buffet. As we played we watched the kitchen crew move provisions from deck 0 and the kitchen on deck 3 up to the Lido buffet staging area. They formed a bucket brigade and passed boxes and trays up the stairs. About 1PM the dinning buffet was opened and they had managed to put together some sandwiches and fruit and salads… SO we waited in line for food only to get to the sandwiches to find that people had been using the tongs to open up the sandwiches to get the single slice of meat and adding it to their sandwich. Then they left the bun a piece of lettuce and the slice of onion behind. You had to search through the empty buns to find a sandwich. There was only one left. Some people need a serious adjustment.
I don't remember the exact time but Sunday afternoon they finally came on to let us know they had been able to get into the engine room and it was bad news. The damage was too great to restore the main power. We were adrift. They also told us that the Elation was going to stop by and drop off provisions and that a tug from Progresso was on its way to bring us to Progresso but it probably would not be arriving until Tuesday noon. The US Coast Guard would arrive by 9PM The engineering team was working on getting the water and toilets back on and to sit tight. So we waited. We drifted a ways also.. I was able to use the GPS ap on my phone to find out we were drifting north at about 4 mph. The problem with a strong wind and no power and people urinating in their showers is that the wind makes the ship list to its side. This in turn makes the now urine/drain water flow out of the secondary bathroom drain on the side of the ship that the ship was listing to. Fortunately we were on the "good" side. We waited it out and entertained ourselves the best we could.
Both the Elation and the USCG arrived as told and the Elation stayed with us for several hours. This allowed us with cell phones to get a signal from their cellular system and make calls and texts home.
Monday morning came and we walked out onto the Lido deck to find all those on the lower decks (1 and 2 ) who could not open a balcony door for cool air had formed a camp on lido. They brought their bed linens and uses the sheets to tie to the rails to make sun shields. Some had brought up their mattresses and put them on the deck chairs and we preparing to live it out on lido. It was the worst case of Chair hogging I have ever seen!
Breakfast was good. They had time during the might to actually adjust the food prep to not being able to cook anything. We had cereal, milk and a variety of fruits. They had some Danishes (either left over from the day before or brought over from the Elation) and other foods that had already been prepared. I really could not complain about the breakfast.
After having given us many updates throughout the day Sunday, Jen came on about 10am and told us that unless there was a critical announcement she would not wake us before 10am and would come on at anytime she had any news. She kept us well informed of the situation with the tug boats and the other cruise ships that were going to stop by and drop off food. The Conquest and the Legend were expected to be by about noon and 3 o'clock and that a second tug was coming from Mobile and was to reach us by the time the Tug from Mexico had arrived. She also announced some activities (trivia games and entertainment) and that they had managed to get enough power to show movies in the aft lounge and entertainment at the casino bar area. She also said that the Carnival office was working out the logistics of getting us home from Progresso as that is where they expected us to be going.
They opened up the bars for free water, and soda. They still had ice so we were in good shape. I had Bon Voyage Alcohol in our cabin so I could make drinks as long as we had ice. I was happy.
Carnival Cruise Lines:
Fantasy 90, Celebration 95, Victory 05, Conquest 05, Spirit 6/06, Freedom 6/08, Holiday 7/08, Victory 6/09, Valor 9/09, Dream 6/10, Splendor 8/10,Conquest 8/11,Magic 11/11,Triumph 4/12,Spirit 7/12,Freedom 11/12, Triumph 2/13 - The fire cruise
NCL Dream October 2006, RCCL Mariner OTS June 2007