It just never felt like much of an ordeal, though.
"Everyone's experience was different. If we were on the second deck in the back of the boat, it might have been worse," Malone said. "We ended up having a good time. There were moments where it [stunk], like we're supposed to be having a nice steak dinner, or going zip-lining in Puerto Vallarta.
"But we were safe. ... We were getting towed in. No one got hurt and the boat didn't sink. We made the best out of it. We were OK. We were troopers."
Malone and his girlfriend were among the 4,500 passengers, including crew, who found dry land Thursday morning in San Diego, after the 113,000-ton ship was towed into port after three days of no electricity or hot water.
A seven-day Mexican Riviera cruise, with stops in Cabo San Lucas, Mazatlan and Puerto Vallarta, turned grim less than a day after the Splendor sailed from Long Beach, with not only Malone and his girlfriend, but a traveling party of 22 that included several members of Spencer Dallin's family, who occupied five rooms on the 10th floor.
Dallin is the assistant to the equipment manager of the Padres.
The ship lost power after an engine fire Monday morning and was adrift about 200 miles outside San Diego, about 44 miles off the coast of Mexico. Passengers were able to take cold showers and use toilets by the end of Monday.
"We were very fortunate that we were on the 10th floor and that we had balconies," Dallin said. "We were able to get sunlight in the room and hang out there. We had a guy across the hall from us and his room was completely dark."
Malone and Dallin didn't have trouble passing the time, though.
"First day, I had my iPad, so we were able to play some games on that until the battery died," Dallin said. "We played cards. We would go down to the blackjack table and I'd pretend I was the dealer.
"It was kind of like camping without the amenities."
Food was scarce, though on Tuesday, a day after losing power, the ship received around 70,000 pounds of supplies, including Pop-Tarts, Spam, crab meat, croissants and bottled water for its passengers and crew.
"I didn't know what the sandwiches were. People were standing in line for three hours. We didn't want to do that. My grandpa can't stand that long. By the time we would go, there were pieces of bread and cheese scattered on a plate," Dallin said.
"We had hot-dog sandwiches with some mayonnaise."
Dallin said Friday that he's been told that Carnival Cruise Lines will ensure a full refund, their travel expenses paid and another cruise equal to the amount paid for their trip. After this ordeal, will Dallin take another cruise?
"No hesitation at all," Dallin said. "You can't let that one experience ruin it. It was just a freak accident. We will go again. I was even looking last night to see where I want to go next."
Dallin's first stop once he arrived in San Diego on Thursday was to In-N-Out Burger, where hot-dog sandwiches aren't on the menu.
"I had two double-doubles [hamburgers], fries and a milkshake," he said. "I wasn't able to finish the second double-double. My stomach wasn't ready for that yet."