A Texas couple’s dream wedding and honeymoon became a nightmare last weekend aboard the disabled Carnival Triumph cruise ship. Rob Mowlam and Stephanie Stevenson of Nederland, Texas, who were married on the Carnival Triumph on Saturday, are among the more than 3,000 passengers enduring heat and unsanitary conditions as the ship is towed back to Mobile, Alabama.
The Carnival Triumph cruise ship departed Galveston last Thursday with 3,143 guests and 1,086 crew on board for a four-day Mexican cruise, ABC News reported. The ship was to have returned to shore on Monday, but an engine fire on Sunday left the ship adrift and disabled.
Without power, the Triumph was unable to sail and the ship’s heating, sewage, and air-conditioning systems were not functioning. Passengers have been standing in long lines for food and water and to use the ship’s few working toilets. They have had to resort to makeshift toilet arrangements, using plastic bags set in trash cans. Crew members have struggled to collect waste and keep areas clean, but passengers say the smell on the ship is foul, according to ABC News.
Elderly and disabled passengers aboard the ship are struggling to cope with the worsening conditions, according to at least one passenger. Ann Barlow said in a text message to ABC News, “Our room is leaking sewage.”
Carnival Cruise Lines president and CEO Gerry Cahill said the British-U.S.-owned company was working hard to ensure that the passengers were as comfortable as possible while the vessel was being towed to Mobile, Alabama. At a Tuesday evening news conference, Cahill offered apologies “to our guests and to our families that have been affected by a very difficult situation.”
“The financial cost to Carnival is estimated to be in the tens of millions of dollars, some estimates as high as $80 million,”ABC News travel and lifestyle editor Genevieve Shaw Brown said. More than 1,500 hotel rooms have been reserved in Mobile and New Orleans and more than 20 chartered flights have been booked to fly passengers back to Houston on Friday. The company is organizing charter buses to Houston and Galveston for those wishing to get home sooner. A medical triage center will be available for disembarking passengers.
The Triumph had a previous electrical problem with an alternator, but Carnival says that is not connected to the fire or the current situation, ABC News said.