More horror stories: Carnival Triumph passengers detail tense times on the cruise from hell
After four nights of sleeping on a lounge chair next to an empty pool, Jayme Lamm is finally back home.
As one of 4,000 souls stranded on the Carnival Triumph since an onboard fire destroyed the ship's power system, the Blonde Side blogger and CultureMap contributor says she was one of the lucky ones Thursday night when the boat limped into Mobile, Ala.
"When the boat finally landed in Mobile, there was media everywhere. I was with a bunch of friends for a bachelor party and NBC asked us to do an interview. Then they offered to drive us back to Houston."
"The 36 hours were the hardest," Lamm explains. "All of a sudden, we had no electricity and no toilets. We received no information or a timetable."
On the seven-hour drive home, she recalls seeing at least two broken-down charter buses filled with Triumph guests — a final reminder of a week Lamm describes as equal parts frustrating, nerve-wracking and dull.
"Let me tell you, cabin fever is totally real," she laughs.
"I tried to sleep as much as possible. But sometimes you'd wake up and just want to jump overboard. Yesterday, this little boy came up to me and tried to quiz me on multiplication tables. You know kids are bored, when they're doing math for fun."
But as mundane as life aboard the cruise liner became, the first two days adrift were tense for passengers, many of whom donned life vests after the Sunday morning fire scare.
"The first 36 hours were the hardest," Lamm explains. "All of a sudden, we had no electricity and no toilets. We received no information or a timetable. They drained the pool, closed the bars and casinos and never even told us where we were. We had no idea that ships were coming to drop off supplies."
When the U.S. Coast Guard surrounded the cruise ship with boats to provide security, rumors started flying about pirates and an onboard gunman.
Bad conditions get worse . . . and then suddenly better
CultureMap spoke with passenger John Politi via cell phone from the ship as it was pulled into Mobile Bay on Thursday. He recalled that conditions quickly devolved when the Triumph began to "list," nautical speak for when a vessel tilts to one side.
"With the ship leaning like that, the sewage started coming up through the sinks, showers and toilets. Then the sewage started pouring down the walls of the cabins."
"With the ship leaning like that, the sewage started coming up through the sinks, showers and toilets."
Politi says the onboard bathroom situation — which included less than two dozen working public restrooms — was so horrendous that by the end of the week that he had little interest in eating. In the end, the loss of appetite helped him avoid waiting in line for three hours to get a meager sandwich.
On Thursday, when Coast Guard officers came aboard to assist with customs, Jayme Lamm says that conditions almost instantly improved.
"Suddenly, the chefs were all wearing matching hats and serving us lobster. All the toilets were emptied out in the cabins and the restrooms were finally cleaned. The tents people made on deck were all removed."
As for the free cruise Carnival is offering this week's Triumph guests, both Lamm and Politi are deciding to take a pass.
Click through the slideshow above for Lamm's pics from the ship. Her NBC interview is expected to air Friday at 9 p.m. on Rock Center with Brian Williams.