Relief for passengers of crippled cruise ship

A five-day nightmare for passengers of the cruise ship, Carnival Triumph, ended today when they were finally able to disembark in Alabama, US.

The vessel, operated by Florida-based Carnival Cruise Lines, had been adrift without plumbing or electricity following an engine room fire last Sunday. The 3,143 passengers and 1,086 crewmembers were left with overflowing toilets that soaked cabins with raw sewage. Returning passengers also claimed that owing to thick smoke from the fire, passengers in cabins at the rear of the ship’s lower decks had to abandon their accommodation completely and spent the rest of the voyage sleeping under sheets on the decks.

Conditions did reportedly improve from Thursday, when a generator that was delivered to the ship at least made the preparation of hot food possible after an enforced diet of cold cheese and cucumber sandwiches. Passengers reported that toilets also began flushing again on Thursday.

The ship left Galveston, Texas, last Friday and should have returned on Monday.

Gerry Cahill, Carnival Cruise Lines chief executive, boarded the ship to apologise to passengers personally, and prior to doing so spoke to reporters saying, ‘I know the conditions on board were very poor. I know it was difficult. I want to apologise for subjecting our guests to that. We pride ourselves with providing our guests with a great vacation experience and clearly we failed in this particular case.’

Cahill also announced a reimbursement package comprising a full refund of the cost of the cruise, plus transportation costs, a future cruise credit to the amount paid for the abortive voyage and a payment of $500 per person as compensation. Passengers’ response to the offer was generally reported to be lukewarm.

The Carnival Corporation also operated the Costa Concordia ship that ran aground in Italy last year with fatal results.