Having returned from a Carnival cruise just last Saturday, I'm definitely hearing plenty of not-so-funny jokes about how happy I must be that we weren't on the Carnival Splendor. Of course it gets a bit tiring explaining that these things happen. It's unfortunate. Maybe it was preventable. But personally, I believe that Carnival has done everything in their power to rectify the situation.
Not that this is quite comparable, but on my 2007 Contiki tour our bus broke down somewhere between Paris, France, and Lucerne, Switzerland. We were stuck for a couple of hours. It made an already very long bus ride that much longer. But what can you do, right? This situation was definitely frustrating, uncomfortable, and a waste of time...but shit happens. Pardon my language.
Per the article linked above, I can only imagine how awful days stuck on a boat without air conditioning, ways to cook food or keep refrigerated food from spoiling, etc. were. Especially during the period of time when the toilets weren't working! But Carnival obviously tried. They allowed people to sleep on the decks. They had activities--live music, scavenger hunts, trivia contests. They offered free alcohol (although I'm not sure how much alcohol it would take to make me forget about the smell of rotting food, haha).
But what is more important to me is what they are doing for these guests once they arrive safely back in San Diego. Having dealt with the absolute hell that is Norwegian Cruise Line when I was a travel agent (a ship that lost the majority of its power on a Charleston/Bermuda cruise, leaving passengers without air conditioning and the ship without enough propulsion to get the guests to Bermuda on time to actually enjoy the island; also, NCL canceling all but one of the three ships they had in Hawaii and refusing practically any help or compensation for those guests booked who then had to re-book flights and end up with less than stellar rooms on a "similar" cruise), I sincerely applaud Carnival's offer to these poor guests. Basically, not only are they getting a complete refund and help with getting back to their respective homes--but they are getting an entirely free future cruise as well!
On top of that, because the Splendor's next cruise had to be canceled as well, Carnival is refunding those passengers--including airfare/transportation costs--and offering them 25% off a future cruise.
I'm sure there will be people out there--notably the ones that got stuck on the Splendor in the first place, and the ones who have had their upcoming vacation canceled--who will stomp their feet and say that this is not enough. I may not be one of those people, but I respectfully disagree. According to the cruise contract these people signed, Carnival really doesn't have to do anything. But they are doing something--at least what they should, and in my opinion more--and that's what counts.