Galveston Economy Will Take a Hit With Loss of 'Triumph'

Workers look in the direction of the cruise ship Carnival Triumph in Mobile, Ala., Friday, Feb. 15, 2013. The ship, which Thursday docked in Mobile after drifting nearly powerless in the Gulf of Mexico for five days, was moved Friday from the cruise terminal to a repair facility. The ship carrying more than 4,200 passengers and crew members had been idled for nearly a week in the Gulf of Mexico following an engine room fire.
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GALVESTON, Texas - Carnival passengers have finally “triumphed,” following their so-called cruise from hell.

Back in Galveston Friday, some still wore robes from their staterooms while walking to their cars.

“I think the worst part came Tuesday when you realized like this was going to be awhile and you didn’t know how long,” passenger Stephanie Carrington said.

“I want people to understand we were ripping towels and taking our sheets to build shelter from the sun and the heat,” passenger Debra Oubre said.

“There was definitely like water coming down,” said passenger T.J. McFall. “There was that smell of like sewer water.”

Yet others may suffer still.

As it repairs its reputation and its ship, Carnival has canceled 14 future sailings on the Triumph. It is certain to be a blow to Galveston’s economy.

The ship holds roughly 3,000 passengers and 1,000 crew members. Without them, Galveston Port Director Michael Mierzwa said the community will lose more than $700,000 in revenue.

“The tentacles on a cruise are pretty long and they reach out to a lot of aspects of the community that people might not think about,” he said.

But businesses are not throwing in the towel.

Bonnie Thomas owns Discount Cruise Parking and says some future passengers have already re-booked.

“People aren’t giving up their vacations,” she said. “They’re just switching to another cruise boat.”

Then, there are the thousands who are coming home with the promise of a free future cruise on Carnival.

“We’re going to do it again,” passenger Carmen Buentello said.

Carnival still offers one other cruise out of Galveston, along with three other cruise lines.