"We were in decent spirits for the first few hours after the power went out," said Carnival Splendor passenger Carrie Whitehead, 32, of Chelmsford, Mass. "Then they announced the buffet was closed. That's when the deck chairs started going over the side."
Within hours, the passengers had formed into a number of tribe-like groups and staked out certain areas of the ship as their home turf, according to passenger Fred Ricker, 66, who banded together with the other senior citizens on board."You had all these young punks whining and crying because their cell phones weren't working," said Ricker, whose tribe of seniors ("The Otters") immediately took control of the Lido Deck, beating the younger passengers around the head and neck with shuffleboard cues.
"They wouldn't have lasted two seconds in 'Nam," said Ricker, his face still war-painted with oil squeezed from a tray of lox.
A nearby Navy vessel dropped a supply of Spam and other non-perishables aboard the ship on the first day of the ordeal, but by day two, a tribe calling themselves "The Sloths" was fomenting rebellion, according to a Carnival Splendor kitchen worker who asked not to be named.
"They had taken over the Grand Buffet dining room on the Promenade Deck, which is pretty much where they'd been spending the whole cruise anyway," said the worker, who explained that after two meals of Spam and Pop Tarts, the Sloths tied dinner napkins around their foreheads and stormed the kitchen, stampeding staffers and gorging themselves on shrimp and salmon that had gone unrefrigerated for two days.
"Between that and the fact that the ship's stabilizers were lost when the power went out, things got ugly pretty quickly," said the worker, whose co-workers were able to re-take the kitchen by pushing the rampaging passengers overboard as they leaned over the railing to vomit.