Almost a year after being stranded at sea for five days in deplorable conditions, a group of passengers from the Carnival Triumph are appearing in court, suing the cruise line, NBC News reported.
Some passengers said they are suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder after the ship lost power due to an engine fire 150 miles off the Mexican coast last year, leaving passengers without air conditioning, with limited food supplies and overflowing toilets.
Several dozen of the 3,100 passengers filed a civil suit, calling the disabled Triumph "a floating toilet, a floating Petri dish, a floating hell."
In court, passengers told the stories of the trauma they said they experienced while stranded.
"My job is to protect my daughter, and I can't do it," said passenger Larry Poret, remembering being stranded on the ship.
Poret said he tried his best to keep his 12-year-old daughter Rebecca calm.
"I just tried to stay as close as I could," he said. "She just hung onto my arm the whole time."
Passenger Debra Oubre said she couldn't find her friend during the chaos onboard.
"I was fearful for her, because if I leave her, she may die and I felt extreme guilt," Oubre said.
In a pre-trial ruling, Judge Donald Graham said that while a cruise ship ticket does not actually guarantee a seaworthy vessel, good food and sanitary conditions, Carnival was negligent in maintaining the equipment that caught fire and caused the power loss.
In a written statement to NBC News, Carnival said: "The current litigation by a handful of individuals is an opportunistic attempt to benefit financially... principally based on claims of alleged emotional distress."
Carnival said all passengers were returned safely, given full refunds, a free trip and $500. In court documents, the cruise line also said its equipment was properly maintained and inspected, and that the fire was accidental.
More passengers are expected to testify before the proceedings wrap up next week.