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Some ready for another cruise even after Carnival voyage

By the CNN Wire Staff
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Passenger: Like 'Gilligan's Island'
  • NEW: Maritime law gives crew discretion on informing passengers of problems
  • Officials from Panama are investigating the fire on the cruise ship
  • Some passengers said they ate mayonnaise sandwiches

San Diego, California (CNN) -- Even though they were stuck without air conditioning, hot showers and decent meals, some of the passengers who made it off a crippled Carnival Cruise Lines ship said Friday that they would go on a cruise again.

"I'm so thankful that we're all alive," Leticia Lewis said on CNN's "American Morning." "I don't wish this experience on anyone. It wasn't a wonderful event. But I would take another one."

Amber Haslerud, another passenger, said her voyage on the ill-fated Carnival Cruise ship Splendor was her first cruise, and she would also go on another one.

"I definitely would give it another go and try to get the experience I should have had this time," said Haslerud. "I deserve it after all that we went through this week."

The ship and its approximately 3,300 passengers arrived in San Diego on Thursday, four days after a fire in the engine room left the ship without air conditioning, hot showers or refrigeration one day into a scheduled seven-day cruise along the Mexican coast.

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"It was absolutely deplorable," passenger Marquis Horace said. At one point, the ship ran out of food, he said, and "they started making mayo sandwiches."

Passengers said they weren't told there was a fire until they left the ship. Horace said the crew informed passengers only of "a flameless fire."

Carnival spokeswoman Jennifer de la Cruz said officials initially spoke only of smoke because the crew couldn't get into the engine room to assess the situation. Passengers were advised of the fire once it was confirmed, she said.

Maritime law doesn't require cruise lines to tell passengers about onboard problems, said Robert Jarvis, a professor of law at Nova Southern University in Fort Lauderdale, Flordia.

He said it sometimes makes sense to limit or delay the release of information to avoid a panic.

Carnival's position is to inform passengers any time an issue will affect their cruise, de la Cruz said.

The cruise line has said it plans to give customers who were aboard the Splendor a full refund, reimbursement for travel costs and a free cruise.

Natalie Martinez and Angela Evans are among those who said they would also go on another cruise. But they said they would bring a survival kit with flashlights, chocolate and air freshener.

And "I think we would wait a year," Martinez added..

Some passengers aren't sure if they'll cruise again.

Maurice Harold and his wife, Cynthia Harold, not only had to endure being adrift, they had to do so without some of their own clothes, medicines and other items lost when their luggage went into the water while being loaded onto the ship.

"It was pretty traumatic. It was a scary situation, said Cynthia Harold, who said she needs to use an oxygen machine while sleeping and was unable to after the ship lost power.

"I really haven't slept since I left Virginia Beach," she said.

The couple said they were unsure of their next steps, adding that it all depends on how Carnival compensates them.

Others looked at the incident differently calling it an "adventure."

"A lot of things went wrong, but it was really fun," said one young passenger, Ryan Harlan, who was traveling with his parents. "We went to the Kids' Camp."

He said the Kids' Camp was, in fact, his favorite part, because he made some friends.

And the worst part? "Being stranded in the middle of the ocean," he said.

The National Transportation Safety Board said Thursday it was investigating the incident. But later in the day the safety board said officials from Panama would lead the investigation because that is the country the vessel is flagged under.

The U.S. Coast Guard will also be part of the investigation, the transportation board said.