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Carnival Cruise Triumph Almost At Its Mobile Alabama Dock

3:54 PM, Feb 14, 2013   |    comments
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  • Carnival Cruise Triumph, Getty Images
  • Carnival Cruise Triumph, Getty Images
    

Mobile, AL-- The families of passengers on the crippled Carnival Triumph have begun arriving at the dock area where the ship is due later today, eager to whisk their loved ones away from what they say has been a miserable experience.

"It's been a nightmare for me and my wife, and (our experience) is nothing compared to what they are experiencing on the ship," says Rickey Felts, 55, of Houston, who drove seven hours to be here when the vessel arrives.

Felts' daughter, Ashlie, 27, who is traveling with a friend, had been filled with excitement about the cruise before it departed. But Felts says all that changed on Sunday after the fire broke out.

"She called me up screaming. She said it's horrible," he says."She said they were handing out poop bags, and that was her exact words, and telling them to pee in the showers."

Carnival has said it plans to begin transporting passengers back to Texas, where the voyage began, on buses and charter aircraft as soon as the ship arrives, but Felts and other family members assembling at the Alabama Cruise Terminal say they didn't want to leave it up to Carnival to get their loved ones home.

"I'm furious with the way this whole thing has been handled," Felts says, noting that the line has provided him with limited information and wouldn't help when he wanted to come to Mobile to meet the ship. "I asked them if they would pay for my hotel room, and they said no."

Thelbert Lanier, 61, of Houston, says he drove eight hours from Houston to bring home his wife, Cyndie, who is aboard the fire-damaged vessel with her sister. He says he got texts early this morning as the ship pulled near enough to land for a connection.

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"It says the room smells like an outhouse, there's no air conditioning, cold water only," Lanier says, holding up his cell phone with the texts. "She says the toilet hasn't worked in three-and-a-half days."

Another Houston resident with a wife on board the ship, 49-year-old Mike Padilla, was in high spirits as he arrived at the port today and said his wife was handling the situation well.

"She said it was like a tent city, that it was like a big camping trip for her," Padilla says. "She said they were still having fun and still trying to make the best of it."

Padilla says he finally was able to reach his wife, Kerry, just after noon today and asked her whether she's ever go on another cruise. "Of course," he says she told him. "This isn't going to happen every time."

Still, Padilla says his family is frustrated with the way Carnival is handling today's arrival.

"I talked to them about reimbursing us for a hotel (in Mobile) tonight instead of putting her on public transportation to get to New Orleans, which, after being on this transportation, I don't think they want to get on anymore," he says. But Carnival was non-committal. "I didn't understand that, because if they are going to ship them to New Orleans and get them a room there, you would think they'd be okay with not shipping five people over there."

Under tow from three tugboats, the Carnival Triumph is visible from Alabama's shore but is not expected in Mobile until this evening, four days after a engine room fire left the ship dead in the water with limit power.

 

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