Passengers congregate on an upper deck of the disabled Carnival Lines cruise ship Triumph as it is towed to harbor off Mobile Bay, Ala., Thursday, Feb. 14, 2013. The ship with more than 4,200 passengers and crew members has been idled for nearly a week in the Gulf of Mexico following an engine room fire. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)
MOBILE, Ala. (AP) — This is not at all how it looked in the brochure: Pulled by a tugboat at a maddeningly slow pace, the cruise ship Carnival Triumph finally drew within sight of land Thursday as miserable passengers told stories of overflowing toilets, food shortages, foul odors and dangerously dark passageways.
Around midday, four days after the 893-foot ship was crippled by an engine-room fire in the middle of the Gulf of Mexico, the more than 4,200 passengers and crew members suffered another misfortune with towline issues that brought the vessel to a dead stop just when it was getting close to port.
The towline was replaced, and the crawl to Mobile resumed. The ship was expected to arrive around midnight Thursday. Officials said it would take passengers up to five hours to get off the ship, and then most faced hourslong bus rides or other travel hassles to get back home.
Frustrations with the cruise line simmered on and off the ship, as passengers and their relatives questioned why it had taken so long to get back to dry land. The ship left Galveston, Texas, a week ago.
Television images from CNN showed passengers with signs of “Help” and “I love you” hanging from their cabin rooms.
As the vessel drew within cellphone range, passengers vented their anger.
Renee Shanar, of Houston, was on board with her husband, who she said has Login to read more