CORAL SPRINGS (CBS4) – A South Florida woman was among the people waiting for their loved ones to reach land after being stranded at sea on a cruise ship for days.
Dorene Malloy said her mother and nephew were on board the Carnival Triumph when an engine room fire Sunday morning left the vessel dead in the waters of the Gulf of Mexico.
“We had no contact until this morning,” Malloy said Thursday just hours before the ship finally docked in Mobile, Ala. “It’s the first time we talked to my nephew.”
But as of Thursday night, Malloy still had not spoken with her elderly mother.
Kay Adams, 76, was one of the 3,143 passengers on the ship.
Adams lived in Coral Springs for more than two decades before recently moving to Texas.
The Triumph set sail from Galveston, Texas a week ago.
“My mom’s the one I’m worried about. She had a pacemaker and a defibrillator surgery at the end of the year,” Malloy said. “She’s a diabetic.”
During one of the brief phone conversations with her nephew, Jason, Malloy said he told her Adams had only eaten dry cereal during the last leg of the trip.
Malloy’s brother, who spoke with their mother once the ship docked, said Adams told him they slept near the elevators since Sunday.
With limited power, passengers had to improvise.
Some slept in hallways while others camped out on the deck.
Lines for food and supplies were long, and people grew restless.
“No elevators. No bathroom. For an elderly person, none of it was good,” Malloy said.
Some on board said the ship smelled like sewage. Bags were used to collect human waste.
CBS News Travel Editor Peter Greenberg called the vessel a floating Biohazard.
Days after connecting with tugboats to tow them to Mobile, passengers were anxious for answers.
Passenger Kaitlyn Robertson, 16, tweeted about her experience once her phone had service.
“Now it’s just extremely frustrating because we keep getting another announcement about how delayed we are,” Robertson told CBS 4’s Lauren Pastrana over the phone. “It just seems like every announcement is more and more bad news.”
Robertson said the thousand crew members had been very helpful throughout their sailing saga.
Despite the ordeal, her tweets were upbeat. “The Triumph has reached land,” she wrote moments after the ship docked. “Never better, more friendly people, and never seen so many people come together as I have on this cruise,” she tweeted.
Because of her mother’s health, Malloy said Adams would probably be one of the first people off the ship in a wheelchair.
They will travel by bus to Houston, she said.
Carnival is refunding travelers for the trip and giving a credit for a future cruise, but Malloy said she doubts her family will ever want to sail on Carnival again.