From shots of pitch-black cabins to buckets catching dripping water and a "watermelon line" to pass food to hard-to-reach customers, footage shot by passengers aboard the crippled ship shows the challenges that arose after a fire in the vessel's engine room knocked out all but emergency operations.
CLICK HERE to see some of the passenger videos on "GMA".
The biggest complaint, however, was the smell from toilets that did not flush for a day and a half and from food that spoiled without refrigeration.
"It was very difficult, especially because the smells were unbelievable," passenger Stacy Noriega, who was married the Saturday before the trip and was on her honeymoon, told "Good Morning America." "It seemed like almost every floor we went up was a different odor."
Noriega said passengers also quickly tired of the cold food they were given -- meat sandwiches and salads all around.
"We're eating spoiled turkey sandwiches and warm milk and warm yogurt," Noriega's husband, Joseph said Wednesday. "Everything smells like it's spoiled. ... Nothing's cooked. It's all sandwich meat. It's disgusting. You're afraid to eat it 'cause it's been left out and touched by everybody else on the ship."
To help remedy the situation, the U.S. Navy air-dopped thousands of pounds of food, from Pop Tarts to SPAM, although the SPAM was never served, according to Carnival's twitter feed. On a ship that's designed to entertain, one passenger said in a video that those airdrops were easily the highlight of the long, powerless days.
Despite all the challenges, many said both the passengers and the crew were making the best of things.
"The crew ... [was] really trying to keep really good spirits, trying to make it like it wasn't a really big crisis," Noriega said. "We were not without anything, the only thing is we didn't get room service."
"I also want to tell you that the guests have been magnificent and have risen to the obvious challenges and difficult conditions aboard," Carnival senior cruise director John Heald wrote in a blog once the ship regained Internet access.
"It wasn't as horrible as it could've been," Joseph Noriega said. "Everybody was in good moods."
With gentle nudging from powerful tugboats, the crippled Splendor docked in a San Diego port early Thursday last week, to the elated cheers of the thousands of passengers onboard.
"It's just this big relief," passenger Valerie Ojeda told ABC News as the ship was docking. "I mean, people were cheering before we were stopped -- as soon as they saw land they were cheering, yelling, whistling, waving. They're just glad to be home, glad we made it."
The ship was on the first leg of a seven-day cruise on the Mexican Riviera. It departed from Long Beach, Calif., Sunday. It was scheduled to stop in Puerta Vallarta, Mazatlan and Cabo San Lucas, and then return to Long Beach.
Carnival is the world's biggest cruise ship operator, with lines including Holland America, Princess and Cunard.