Carnival Splendor Passengers Begin Calling Out From Ailing Ship

"(ABCNEWS)
Passengers aboard the ailing Carnival Splendor began getting a strong enough cellular signal to make phone calls out to worried friends and families today, telling those on land that they pass their time playing cards and waiting for Coast Guard food drops.

Passenger Gordon Gilbreath told ABC's San Diego affiliate KGTV that after initial fear and uncertainty, they were in better spirits knowing the Coast Guard was nearby.

""A lot of people that are in the inside cabins, it's been pitch black for several days and most of those folks have been up on the decks and a lot of them have been sleeping on the decks with their blankets and so on,"" Gilbreath said.

""You know it gets cold, like during the night it's been pretty cold so the rooms get cold, so we've got a lot of extra blankets,"" he said. ""It's been quite an ordeal, I have to tell you.""

Monday morning, when an engine room fire knocked out power to the hulking cruise ship, passengers were scared, knowing they were all alone in the middle of the ocean, he said.

""The first day or two like when we were in a complete blackout and there was no power at all, you know, we were just kind of floating out in the ocean with absolutely nothing,"" Gilbreath said. ""Now people are doing a lot better."" "