Carnival crew members onboard Mardi Gras spotted a small vessel in distress and stopped to help before 8 a.m. Friday morning as the ship headed toward Florida.

Sixteen people, 11 men and five women, were stranded in the rough, open sea near Cuba. The Mardi Gras crew took them onboard for their safety. They were then seen by medical staff onboard, and were given food and clothes.

A rendezvous with the United States Coast Guard was coordinated Friday afternoon at sea. All 16 occupants were safely transferred onto a Coast Guard cutter at about 2:45 p.m.

Mardi Gras is on its final day of a seven-day sailing and will return to its homeport of Port Canaveral, Fla. on Saturday morning.