Conditions aboard the Carnival Triumph have gone from bad to nightmarish in the last 24 hours, as the stranded cruise liner continues to drift without power in the Gulf of Mexico.
After a Sunday morning fire damaged the ship's electrical systems, more than 4,000 guests and crew have been left with limited food and water in a vessel the U.S. Coast Guard labels "dead in the water." ABC News reports that passengers are eating cold onion and cucumber sandwiches. Without air conditioning, guests are sleeping in tents on deck.
“People are sleeping in hallways,” says one passenger. “I mean t here's just mattresses and people collected everywhere.”
Floating roughly 150 miles from the Yucatán Peninsula after the blaze, the cruise company initially planned to have tug boats bring the Triumph ashore near Merida, Mexico on Wednesday.
However, as strong currents continue to push the boat north, Carnival has since rerouted the ship to Mobile, Ala. Passengers have been told they will land on Thursday.
According to the company website, the 893-foot ship has room for 2,758 guests and 1,100 crew members. But with a manifest listing 3,143 guests and a crew of 1,086, the mighty Triumph must feel mighty cramped with 371 more people than it was intended to hold.
While Carnival sent two other ships to drop off supplies on Monday, passengers are telling KHOU Ch. 11 that they're still waiting hours for food and have been forced to ration water. The bathroom situation leaves much to be desired as those onboard flock to showers and trash cans for relief.
The bathroom situation leaves much to be desired as those onboard flock to showers and trash cans for relief.
Guests note that sewage has been spotted running down cabin walls.
“People are sleeping in hallways,” Donnell King told KHOU in a phone interview. “I mean there's just mattresses and people collected everywhere.” King called the situation on-board "very difficult" and stressed that passengers have "limited food."
In a Monday statement, the cruise company said that all passengers will receive a full refund for the trip as well as credit for a future voyage . . . not that they'll be rushing to book their tickets for that one the moment they have an Internet connection. Carnival also promised to reimburse all shipboard purchases, with the exception of those made in the gift shop and casino.
Watch a KHOU Ch. 11 report on the situation: