Cruise Ship From Hell Enters Day 5, Passengers Fighting Over Food, Feces Everywhere
As three tugboats fought wind and thunderstorms on Thursday morning to pull the stranded Carnival Cruise Line ship Triumph slowly toward port in Mobile, Ala., the only passenger to have gotten off was recovering in Austin, Tex., anxious about the fate of her 29 family members still on a ship that has been largely without power since Sunday. The Triumph is expected to arrive in Mobile late Thursday afternoon.
“It was scary, I tell you,” said the passenger, Rachel Alderete, 54. “It was horrible. I still have butterflies in my stomach.”
A fire on Sunday took out the ship’s propulsion system, leaving the Triumph unable to sail and without power or sewage, heating and air-conditioning systems. The ship had left Galveston on Thursday with 3,142 passengers and 1,086 crew members for what was supposed to be a four-day cruise to the Caribbean.
Instead, the 14-story, 900-foot ship was floating helplessly in the Gulf of Mexico about 150 miles off the coast of the Yucatán Peninsula until tugs could reach it.
By Monday, it was clear that Ms. Alderete was in trouble. With a history of kidney disease, she needed dialysis. The rescue came in the early hours Tuesday morning when she walked through an open door in the lower portion of the ship and eased herself down a rope ladder, stepping into a Coast Guard skiff that was bobbing in choppy water. Her sister was supposed to accompany her, but the seas were too rough, Ms. Alderete said.
She was taken to a clinic in Cozumel, Mexico, for emergency dialysis and flew home on Wednesday.
Ms. Alderete was one of 30 members of her extended family celebrating the 60th birthday of the matriarch, Mercedes Colon.
Andres Colon, the 27-year-old son of Mercedes, who stayed home with his 18-month-old baby so his wife, Brenda, could go on the trip, was keeping up with family until all communication was cut. One of the last things he heard was from a cousin, whose pregnant wife was on board.
“He waited for about three hours just to get her half a hamburger,” he said.
Mr. Colon’s mother had wanted to have a big party for her 60th birthday, he said.
He has not heard from the family since Ms. Alderete came home on Wednesday.
She said her remaining family members were sleeping together in a hallway near a customer service office trying to get enough food to feed the group and using red plastic bags set into garbage cans as restrooms. They were setting the waste in the halls.
The crew was doing their best to clean up passengers’ waste and to keep clean the few toilets that were working. People had taken to urinating in showers, Ms. Alderete said.