Smoke billowing from a vent aboard the Carnival Splendor was the first sign to more than 3,000 sleepy passengers that their vacation was about to become a nightmare.
As passengers were ordered to climb to the upper decks, the crew tried to reassure them.
"There is absolutely nothing to worry about. And if there was, I promise, I promise, I will tell you," said one crew member over the loudspeaker.
New exclusive home videos obtained by INSIDE EDITION show what daily life was like on board the stranded cruise ship.
Another announcement said, "Ladies and Gentlemen, the lighting, the toilet system, everything, is not working."
The Harlan family from Orange County, California was celebrating their 12th wedding anniversary.
"We look out the window of our balcony and we just see black smoke, and we knew it wasn't good at that point," said the Harlan patriarch.
There were tiring climbs upstairs and long lines for just a little cold food.
"People were carrying tons of stuff out on plates and you would see people with two or three plates each," said one passenger.
One video shows the U.S. Coastguard and the U.S. Navy coming to the rescue.
As a Navy helicopter dropped thousands of cans of spam, most passengers faced their misfortune with good humor.
One passenger is recorded saying, "Hi honey! Another disaster vacation. Sounds familiar!"
Carnival is offering full refunds and a free cruise. INSIDE EDITION's Jim Moret asks the Hooker Family of Utah if they would be willing to take another cruise. The family unanimously said yes.
But the late night comics are having a field day.
"The boat drifted for days without power giving it the nickname, the Democratic Party," joked Jay Leno.
While David Letterman said, "the stench was like rotten food and urine. New Yorkers recognize that of course, as the subway."