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When cruises go wrong

by AirTalk®

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The tugs Resolve Pioneer and Dabhol tow and steer the disabled 893-foot Carnival Triumph cruise ship on February 12, 2013, in the Gulf of Mexico. According to the Coast Guard the ship is enroute to Mobile, Alabama after an engine room fire left the ship without propulsion. U.S. Coast Guard/Getty Images

For passengers on the Carnival cruise ship Triumph, their trip can’t end soon enough. What was meant to be a fun vacation got cut short when the engine room caught on fire Sunday morning. Ever since then, the boat has been without electricity and dependent only on generators. Water and food have been limited, and passengers are reportedly urinating in bags. People have taken to sleeping on the boat’s deck to escape the stifling heat inside the cabins without air conditioning. Tensions are running high, and medical experts are concerned that Triumph is basically a petri dish of disease and germs just floating in the middle of the Gulf of Mexico.

On the bright side, the end is in sight. The ship is about 25 miles or so from Mobile, Alabama, where it is being sent to port. The only problem is that it is being pulled by a tugboat against the wind. Carnival says it expects the boat to dock sometime between eight and 11 p.m. EST.  But there’s another snag, as the boat initially left from Galveston, TX. Apparently, the plan is for buses to take passengers from Mobile elsewhere, although locals are calling for passengers to stay in town and then use the local airport to get home.

After the torturous trip at sea, how will these people react to any more trials and tribulations? How are they being compensated for their time and experience? Will this have a negative effect on the cruise industry? What are the current conditions on board?

Jimmy Mowlam, General Manager of Lone Star Rigging, LP in Beaumont, Texas, his son Rob is on Triumph

Monty Mathisen, web editor, Cruise Industry News, an online trade magazine covering the cruise industry

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