A passenger aboard the crippled Carnival Triumph said Thursday evening that she and her friends were glad to be OK in spite of their “miserable” days-long journey at sea.
“You know, all in all, our group is safe,” the passenger Cathy Day told NBC 6, speaking in a phone interview from the ship. “It’s just been miserable. But you have to be glad that you’re all safe and no one was really injured.”
Day, 55, of Orange, Texas, was among the more than 4,200 people who made it to the Alabama shore Thursday night after an engine-room fire disabled the ship Sunday.
Day described for NBC 6 the non-vacation-like atmosphere aboard: Passengers’ sleeping in areas resembling campgrounds, getting by with lunch meats and fruit for food and using red plastic bags and ice buckets as toilets. Day, who had been on the cruise for a bachelorette party, said she was eager to exit the ship.
“I would love a hot shower, or actually a long-soaking bath and a drink with some ice in it,” she said. “That’s one of the things that I’ve just really missed. It’s just not having any ice for our beverages or anything.”
Day recalled the commotion from the fire Sunday.
“It was something that you never think would really happen,” she said. “We hear the alarm. You’re sound asleep, then you wake up.
“We could smell the smoke, and we needed to get out of the room and get up because we were down so low in the ship. We were on the first floor.”
She said a lack of electricity meant a minimal food menu for passengers.
“The first morning after the fire we had fresh fruit and a danish,” she said. “After that, we’ve had fruit almost every morning, yogurt or cereal. But I remember a couple of mornings, like for people who had health problems, there was no protein served or anything like that. It was mainly just pastries or fruit or bread.”
Perhaps the biggest hurdle has been dealing with the restroom situation, which has been “really bad,” she said. She said bags used by passengers as toilets are taken away by staff waiting in the hallways.
“We have had water intermittently, and the toilet in our room hasn’t worked,” she said.
She said she and her friends haven't slept in their room since the fire.
“We’re actually sleeping in the Paris dining room on the ship,” she said. “It’s like a little campground in here. Some of us have the bench seats, where the benches are. And others have brought their mattresses from their rooms. It got cold the night before last so they brought their mattresses in. A lot of people have been sleeping on the deck.”
Still, she was glad she and her friends were about to be off the boat.
“Everyone in our group is together. We’ve met some really nice people on here,” she said.
She said that under the conditions, "the staff has been amazing," but questioned whether cruise-ship management could have better dealt with the emergency.