The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

State and Nation

February 14, 2013

After days stranded at sea, now comes the bus ride

(Continued)

Debbi Smedley, a passenger on a recent Triumph cruise, said the ship had trouble Jan. 28 as it was preparing to leave Galveston. Hours before the scheduled departure time, she received an email from Carnival stating the vessel would leave late because of a propulsion problem. Passengers were asked to arrive at the port at 2 p.m., two hours later than originally scheduled.

The ship did not sail until after 8 p.m., she said.

"My mother is a cruise travel agent so this is not my first rodeo. I have sailed many, many cruises, many, many cruise lines. This was, by far, I have to say, the worst," said Smedley, of Plano, Texas.

Communication with passengers on the Triumph has been limited to brief windows when other cruise ships with working cellular towers have rendezvoused to deliver supplies, but some relatives have reported being told of uncomfortable and unsanitary conditions.

Robert Giordano, of the Oklahoma City suburb of Edmond, said he last spoke to his wife, Shannon, on Monday. She told him she waited in line for three hours to get a hot dog and that conditions on the ship were terrible.

"They're having to urinate in the shower. They've been passed out plastic bags to go to the bathroom," Giordano said. "There was fecal matter all over the floor."

Even more distressing, Giordano said, has been the lack of information he has been able to get from Carnival, a complaint shared by Tilley, of San Diego.

Carnival, she said, has not told families what hotel passengers will be put in or provided precise information about when they will arrive in Mobile. And that came after the cruise line switched the ship's towing destination from Progreso, Mexico, to Mobile.

Passengers are supposed to get a full refund and discounts on future cruises, and Carnival announced Wednesday they would each get an additional $500 in compensation.

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