Cruise Passengers Endured Stench, Cold Food

(AP)

Karen Blocker's dream cruise began disintegrating at dawn when her cabin started rattling ""like an earthquake.""

""I told my daughter: 'This boat is not moving anymore. We've got to get out,'"" Blocker said.

She opened the door to find a hallway filled with smoke and crew members telling passengers to head for the lifeboats.

The boats turned out to be unnecessary, but the scare was just the start of a three-day ordeal for the 50-year-old Blocker and nearly 4,500 other passengers and crew aboard the stricken Carnival Splendor.

It wasn't until tugboats hauled the 952-foot cruise liner into a San Diego dock Thursday that weary passengers were able to tell their stories to the world.

Their ship lost power after an engine fire Monday and was adrift about 200 miles outside San Diego and 44 miles off the coast of Mexico.

At that distance from land, it was out of cell phone range for much of the ordeal. The fire left the ship without air conditioning, hot water or hot food. The casino was closed and, for a time, so were the bars. The swimming pool was off-limits because the pumps wouldn't work.

Mark and Ginger Kalin and their 9-year-old daughter Parker were on the cruise as part of a magicians' convention.