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"I saw two mothers trying to split formula"; Tales from aboard the crippled cruise ship

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"I saw two mothers trying to split formula"; Tales from aboard the crippled cruise ship

CREATED Feb. 14, 2013

Reporter: Maggie Vespa

TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) - For the hundreds of people trapped aboard the ironically named 'Triumph', the dream cruise turned nightmare ordeal finally came to a close Thursday night.

Over the past few days, they have endured a lack of running water, electricity, and, brace yourself, a working sewer system.

A few of those weary passengers reached out to 9OYS and shared video you won't see anywhere else.

The images are breathtaking.

A massive cruise ship, perhaps the epitomy of luxury, limp, lifeless and tilted in the Gulf of Mexico.

Passengers tell me it’s a major fail, all caught on camera.

When 9OYS reporter Maggie Vespa asked "How are you doing?"

Adrianna Perez responded, "You know, I've been better, Maggie."

She boarded the Triumph with friends to celebrate graduating college.

Sunday morning her dream vacation became a nightmare.

“The captain was saying something like 'Alpha team! Alpha team!', and then by that time my roommate and I we woke up and we walked outside, and there were crew members with life vests on just running like crazy."

Passengers soon learn a massive fire had sparked in the ship's engine room, disabling the luxury liner's basic operations.

"Oh the smell was wretched,” said Tucson native Devin Marble.

He says the days that followed were straight out of a blockbuster film.

"We had to keep our bathroom closed because it filled the whole room,” he said.

Amid the heat and humidity, raw sewage flows through the ship.

"When the boat started leaning one direction, everything from the shower and toilet spilled all over our room,” said Perez.

Crew members improvise, passing out red plastic bags.

"And they said you have to defecate in these bags because you can't do it in the toilet system because it's not flushing,” said Marble.

Meanwhile, supplies begin to run low.

"I saw two mothers trying to split the little bit of baby formula they had left,” she said.

Helicopters and nearby ships start delivering food and medicine.

At one point, Marble says a well-meaning ship comes too close.

"People were screaming and running the other way because they thought the two ships were going to collide,” said Marble.

Marble and Perez say the panic subsided once passengers saw land.

Carnival has said it will now reimburse everyone on board.

Included in the package, is another cruise of equal value.

Vespa asked, “What goes through your mind?  Will you go on another cruise?”

Marble answered, “First thing I thought of was 'Great. I'll regift it."

Carnival has said it will also reimburse everyone for their cruise fair, plus $500 and pay for their trips home.

Both Marble and Perez say it's not enough.