Drummond resident Angie Cunningham is pretty sure her second cruise, on the ill-fated Carnival Triumph, will be her last.
Cunningham, her daughters ReAnna, 12, and Randlyne, 9, and their friends, Angie and Robbie Hudson, and the Hudson children, Tyler, 14, and Tatlynn, 12, were on board the Triumph a week ago when a fire knocked out the ship’s power, propulsion system, heating and cooling systems and sewage systems, resulting in the ship spending four days adrift in the Gulf of Mexico while toilets overflowed, food ran short and communication nearly was nonexistent.
“We ate hardly anything on the cruise ship,” Cunningham said.
She said the ship’s food supply ran down to such items as cucumber sandwiches, for which passengers had to wait in line three to four hours.
At one point, the ship opened the doors to the gift shop so passengers could purchase snack food.
“The people before us were going in and getting tons of food,” Cunningham said.
Then the cruise ship started limiting how much food each customer could buy.
A can of Pringles sold for $6, Cunningham said.
“Angie and I each spent $60 and we didn’t get much for $60,” Cunningham said.
Additionally, she said Carnival Cruise Lines was misleading passengers’ families back home.
“They were lying to our friends back home,” Cunningham said. “My friend’s mom was the emergency contact for the cruise line.”
Carnival Cruise Lines told families the passengers were on an extended vacation and everything was great on the ship.
“That was a total lie,” Cunningham said. “We had no toilet and darn little food. Babies ran out of formula and diapers, people ran out of their medicines, the toilets were overflowing, and then when they would announce a public bathroom is now working, you would go to it and it would be broken again.”
Despite all that, Cunningham praised the Carnival employees on board the ship.
“Our stewardess was so amazing,” Cunningham said. “She always had a smile on her face.”
Ship employees were not being fed and were working hard to make the passengers as comfortable as possible under the circumstances, Cunningham said.
“We saw them eating out of the trash,” Cunningham said.
The smell from the overflowing toilets was awful.
“The only way to describe the smell is to say you’re in an outhouse and it’s 100 degrees outside and 1,000 people are peeing,” Cunningham said.
Cunningham said the group accepted the settlement offer Carnival Cruise Lines offered the passengers, including refund of the ticket price, credit of equal amount for a future cruise and $500 per passenger.
When the family arrived home, they found their home decorated by friends, who also told them not to prepare any food because the friends took care of their meals Saturday.
They also came home with sore throats, and their physician prescribed antibiotics to ward off infections.