It was not immediately clear why the smaller boat came under distress, but its passengers were taken on board the Carnival Sensation when the boat started taking on water. They were given life jackets, food, water and blankets.
The Miami Herald said the passengers were later transferred to the U.S. Coast Guard.
The cruise ship was in international waters 37 miles off the coast of Palm Beach when it came upon the struggling boat, whose passengers were of various nationalities, cruise line officials said. They were evaluated and quarantined from the crew.
Carnival cruise ships aren't yet in service and had no guests on board when it came to the smaller boat's aid.