Thousands Trapped on Carnival Cruise Ship, Towing Ship to Alabama

By: Brad Woodard / KHOU 11 News Email
By: Brad Woodard / KHOU 11 News Email

Concerned family and loved ones of guests and crew may call 1-888-290-5095 or 1-305-406-5534. Do you have loved ones on the ship? Let us know!

Thousands of passengers on board the Carnival Triumph are enduring a nightmare on what was supposed to be a dream cruise.

In service since 1999, the Carnival Triumph is touted as the ultimate in relaxation and adventure.

“Lord help me if I ever have to relax that much,” said Bill Stout of the Heights.

His wife, Linda, is among the 4,200 passengers and crew members trapped in what could be described as the misadventure of a lifetime.

“They’re having to use the showers to urinate, and they’re having to use trash cans to defecate,” said Stout, who has spoken briefly to his wife by phone. “They had to stand in line two hours for a sandwich, and air conditioning doesn’t work.”

Carnival says a fire broke out in an engine room 150 miles off the Yucatan Peninsula over the weekend. No one was injured, but the ship is dead in the water.

One passenger on the ship, Donnell King from Lake Jackson, described miserable conditions.

“We got some toilets working today, but we’ve had to use the restroom in red biohazard bags,” King said. “It’s been pretty bad. We’ve had limited food.”

King said two other cruise ships are circling and delivering supplies.

King also said two people were taken off the ship, one was a dialysis patient and the other had a broken leg.

Carnival announced Monday night that the ship will be towed to Mobile, Alabama.

Originally, Carnival had planned to tow the boat to Progreso, Mexico where passengers would take a flight back to the U.S., but Monday evening, the boat drifted 90 miles north and the plans changed.

Because the ship drifted, it is nearly equidistant to Mobile. Carnival says given the strength of the currents, the ship will head north, rather than attempt to tow against them.

The ship is expected to arrive in Mobile sometime on Thursday, which is roughly the same time it would have arrived in Mexico.

Once the ship arrives, Carnival will provide the necessary transportation to get the guests home. Officials say Mobile also provides simpler re-entry to the U.S. because about 900 guests onboard are traveling without passports.

Ann Barlow of Sealy set out on Thursday for what was supposed to be a girl’s getaway.

“I got a phone call from her after two texts,” said her husband Toby. “Basically her tone was, hey, we’ve had a fire on the ship. We basically don’t have any power. We have food and drink. Don’t have water. We’re all kind of stuck here.”

Both Barlow and Stout are expressing frustration over the flow of information that’s coming from Carnival.

“Customer service is absolutely deplorable,” said Stout.

Carnival said some power has been restored to the ship and added that some toilets are working as well.

“She’s probably handling it better than I would,” said Barlow of his wife. “I probably would have tried to jump off and swim by now.”

On a voyage that has been anything but triumphant.

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