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Passengers tell their stories from the Carnival Triumph

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[three_fourth last=”no”]“CRUISE FROM HELL”
Stories about the hellish days and nights onboard the Carnival Triumph are all over the internet. The cruise ship, with over 4,000 passengers, broke down in the Mexican Gulf after a fire in the engine room and was left drifting for days without power, running water or working toilets, and with food lines for up to four hours.

“People were running around with life jackets on, thinking the ship was going to sink,” passenger Parisa Safarzadeh, 26, tells The Daily Beast. “It was like a scene from Titanic. It was out of control.”

In the middle of the night, passengers woke as the ship’s PA system called “the Alpha team” urgently to the engine room, where apparently a fire had broke out. Then the engines stopped. On Deck 9, Rian Tipton and her friends were trying to sleep through the loudspeaker announcements. Then they heard the ship’s engine die. “It’s the kind of noise you don’t really notice until it stops,” she says to The Daily Beast. “We heard a rattling sound and then it just stopped. We were like, ‘oh no.’”


That was the beginning of five day’s nightmare  onboard the ship. Toilets stopped working as the main power source went, and the ship’s sewer system quickly overflowed, forcing people on the lower decks to evacuate to higher up in the ship. Many slept on deck to avoid the stench and heat inside the vessel.

“We never went back to our rooms after the fire — there was feces on the floor and everywhere,” Trina Briggs, 52, from Staten Island, says to the New York Daily News.

Five days later, tug boats managed to tow the ship to port in Alabama.

“Dry land. Clean air. Working bathrooms. You take these simple things for granted, but they never felt so good,” said Julie Hair, 36, of Lake Charles, La., to the New York Times after hugging her husband, Jon. He had a sign printed that read, “Thank God it’s over!”

But the crew allegedly did what they could to keep spirits high, despite the ordeal; as The Daily Beast reports:

To distract passengers, Carnival’s crew hosted a Mardi Gras party on Tuesday night, and screened movies. There were two comedians on staff who put on sketch shows and hosted a talent show. (…) One night, the staff gave out free beer to all the passengers. “People started peeing off the balcony,” Lujan said, “and throwing stuff in the water. People were grabbing six or seven beers at a time.” The crew quickly stopped distributing free drinks.


Nevertheless, lawsuits have already been filed against the Carnival Cruise Line, and a mechanical investigation into the ship is underway.

Even as passengers praised the crew for patience, some scoffed at the $500 they were given by Carnival for their ordeal, saying it hardly compensated for days of missed work. Several passengers were taken to hospitals in ambulances; two had been evacuated before the ship docked late on Thursday, the New York Times reports.

After five days at sea, passengers were brought off the ship in Alabama. But for some, the trouble didn’t stop there – at least one of the buses carrying people to their home towns broke down en route, several newspapers report.


MORE Photos, videos, stories from the Triumph


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More on this story

Video: Stranded ship towed to port

“Conditions are extremely terrible”

4,000 stranded on the Triumph – with no toilets

The Triumph: “Busted toilets, hot rooms”


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The editor of the Traveling Reporter works as a business news editor, and is a frequent traveler. When not doing any of that, he spends time on his boat and tries to figure out where to travel next. Two of his top destinations are the Philippines and San Francisco. Email Erik! Follow the Traveling Reporter at Stumbleupon, Tumblr, Chime In, Pinterest, Google+, Weibo, Storify, Facebook, Traveldudes, Myspace.