Most memories of the extended stay aboard the crippled Carnival Triumph are the kind passengers say they would rather forget.
At a restaurant blocks from where she walked off the cruise ship, Vivian Henderson savored the company of her husband and sister who came to her rescue.
"I feel like I'm still floating. I don't know, like I'm outside of my body,” Henderson said. “So good to be here. It was traumatic."
“I just can't tell you how happy I was to kiss my husband and hug him and my sister,” she said.
Their waiter, a Mobile, Ala., native, said he thought the whole thing sounded a little like a Hollywood film.
"I was kind of shocked, never heard about power going out on a whole cruise ship,” the waiter said.
Friday morning, there was a mix of relief, disbelief and joy. Families were thrilled to be in their loved one's arms after troubling days adrift without power and bathrooms after an engine room fire knocked out electricity and sewer lines on the Carnival Triumph.
Nicole Brown remembered painful moments when passengers struggled to reach family members on cellphones running out of signal and battery. But the 34-year-old Dallas nurse found a way to cope, collecting signatures on her bedsheet.
"This is the voice of the people," Nicole Brown, a passenger.
"I just wanted to do something, and it actually helped the people because they looked forward to it. They came and read other people's comments, they laughed, some cried," Brown said.
Brown's aunt and uncle joined throngs of people cheering family members as they walked off the ship.
"Wow, it was laughter, joy, small, but never the less hurt on the inside because we knew the thing she went through," said Calvin Brown, her uncle.
Calvin Brown and his wife drove five hours from Mississippi to meet her.
"i would drive 10, 12 for her. Yes, I would," Calvin Brown said.