"The beds started vibrating," Ayers remembered.
She said that's when passengers were instructed to go to the deck and wait for the smoke to clear. By then, water, electricity and lights all came to a grinding halt, and so did the cruise.
In the end, it wasn't the luxurious vacation Ayers planned, but she has no complaints. She said the staff went above and beyond to keep some 3,000 passengers calm, entertained and fed.
"I wasn't into Spam or Vienna sausages, but I had great salads," Ayers said.
Ayers said she will never forget moments like seeing the impressive U.S.S. Ronald Reagan pull up to the ship, or how the Coast Guard never left their side.
"Helicopters had amazing pilots, dropping food alongside the swimming pool," she said. "They did that 25 times."
She also won't forget how an amazing tug boat, which they nicknamed the Chihuahua, saved the day.
"I'll remember that tiny little tug boat pulling huge ocean liner at 4.8 knots," she said. "It was an adventure. How many people can say they survived the Carnival Splendor?"