A vacation passengers certainly won't forget neared an end on Thursday when the Carnival cruise ship Triumph neared port in Alabama with the assistance of three tugboats.
The nightmarish five days stranded in the Gulf of Mexico was an unbelievable test of patience
for 3,143 passengers and 1,086 crew members on board the 900-foot, 14-story Triumph. A fire that broke out in the engine room early Sunday caused most of the ship's electrical power to go out, putting refrigerators full of food on the fritz and taking out sanitary systems, which caused sewage to slosh on the ship's floors, CNN
The ship was expected to finally reach Mobile Thursday afternoon or evening.
"It's disgusting. It's the worst thing ever," passenger Ann Barlow said.
Jorge Rodriguez, a doctor of internal medicine, told CNN the health conditions aboard the ship were deeply concerning. Raw sewage is a major health risk, but respiratory infections could also spread quickly, he said, and spoiling food could unleash e. coli bacteria, salmonella and other types of food poisoning.
The Triumph departed from Galveston, Texas, last Thursday and was supposed to return on Monday.
Carnival said it was doing everything it could to keep passengers happy and disputed claims that the luxury liner was filthy.
Carnival said it reserved and arranged approximately 100 motor coaches, more than 1,500 New Orleans hotel rooms, multiple charter flights from New Orleans to Houston on Friday, and transportation from Houston to the Port of Galveston so that guests may retrieve their cars if they drove to the port.
In addition, the cruise line is offering passengers $500 each, a free flight home, a full refund for their trip and for most expenses on board, as well as a credit for another cruise.
That credit will go to waste though if many passengers stick to their pledge that the cruise would be their last one with Carnival.
Carnival will not run the Triumph until at least mid-April.
The Coast Guard and the National Transportation Safety Board were investigating the engine room fire.
The fire is the second problem for the ship since late January when it had an issue with its propulsion system, according to a notice posted on the website of Carnival senior cruise director John Heald.
The Carnival cruise ship Splendor had an engine room fire in 2010, causing the ship to lose power off the Pacific coast of Mexico.
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