After five days adrift in the Gulf of Mexico, the Carnival cruise ship Triumph finally came into port late Thursday night. It took several hours for the more than 4,200 passengers and crewmembers to disembark the stinking vessel, which was disabled after an engine-room fire Sunday while returning to Galveston on the third day of a four-day cruise.
The ship’s power and sewage systems were largely knocked with the fire, and passengers described overflowing toilets, food shortages and stench-filled cabins as tugboats towed the stricken vessel to port in Mobile, Ala.
Warm food, blankets and cell phones to call family and friends awaited the ship’s guests, who cheered and sang “Sweet Home Alabama” as the vessel came into port. About 100 buses awaited them for a seven-hour ride to Galveston, while more buses were on hand to take guests to New Orleans where Carnival had booked hotel rooms for those who wanted to shower and rest before flying home.
The 900-foot Triumph would be towed to a Mobile repair facility for assessment, Carnival officials said.
Carnival Cruise Lines Chief Executive Gerry Cahill boarded the ship to personally apologize to passengers.
“I know the conditions on board were very poor,” he told reporters in a brief media appearance before boarding the ship. “I know it was difficult. I want to apologize for subjecting our guests to that.”
Passengers said conditions aboard the ship improved Thursday after a generator was delivered, providing power for a grill to cook hot food on. Toilets also began flushing again, and guests were relieved to have a meal of steaks and lobster after days of cold cucumber and cheese sandwiches.
The cruise ship injury lawyers at Schechter, Shaffer & Harris, L.L.P., Accident & Injury Lawyers represent cruise passengers and crewmembers who have been injured while on cruise vessels.