SWLA families aboard stranded cruise ship - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

SWLA families aboard stranded cruise ship

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The stranded Carnival Triumph The stranded Carnival Triumph
The Betts family from Mississippi eager awaits the return of their loved one in Mobile, Ala., on Thursday. (Source: KPLC) The Betts family from Mississippi eager awaits the return of their loved one in Mobile, Ala., on Thursday. (Source: KPLC)
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Mobile, AL (KPLC) -

For some people, going on a cruise is an ideal way to vacation, but for the thousands of passengers and crew members aboard Carnival Cruise Line's Triumph ship, it's a vacation gone horribly wrong.  

According to Carnival officials, a fire in an engine room early Sunday morning caused the boat to lose power about 150 miles off of the coast from the Yucatan Peninsula.

Different stories

Now, on day five of not having power, all aboard are forced to face unimaginable circumstances. Some on board are from Southwest Louisiana.  

"This is their fifth or sixth cruise. They were so excited and just counting down the days," said Jenifer Fontenot, of Westlake.

Fontenot's parents are on the ship. She hasn't spoken with them since Monday. 

"It's scary. You have Carnival saying one thing and then you hear different things from other places," she said. "I just want to really talk to them."

Since receiving news that it was indeed her parents' ship that was stalled at sea, Fontenot said the only way she's been able to stay in the loop has been through constant updates on Carnival's Facebook page and some voicemails. 

"I'm listed as their emergency contact so I get phone calls updating with information," said Fontenot. "I also liked their Facebook page so they send updates through that."

Waiting in Mobile

Nellie Betts of Tupelo, Miss., is outside of the Alabama Cruise Terminal with her husband, eagerly waiting for their daughter to make it back to land.

Her daughter, Nicole, of Dallas, is on the ship with a group of nurses on a conference. She was able to speak to her mom around 5 a.m. Thursday.

"She said that she's more worried about the older people on the ship, but she's just ready to be home," Betts said.

Betts drove from Mississippi Thursday morning after hearing the ship will be docked sometime during the day. That was the  last thing she heard from Carnival late Wednesday night.

Ricky Felts, of Houston, shared his frustrations of seeing Carnival owner sitting court side at a basketball game on Tuesday.

"They need to fly him out on the boat and let him sit there," Felts said.

Apologies

Carnival Cruise Line President and CEO Gerry Cahill made a public apology to those aboard and their families earlier this week. 

"I think it's very important that I apologize to our guests and their families who have been affected by this very difficult situation," said Cahill during a press conference. 

In addition to that public apology, Carnival said passengers onboard the ship will receive a full refund for the cost of their trip, be given future cruise credit and $500 cash. For people like Fontenot, she just wants her parents home safe. 

"We are very excited. I talk to my mom everyday so it's been hard not being able to talk to her in almost a week," she said. 

On Thursday morning, the Associated Press reported that the ship is estimated to float through Mobile Bay and dock at the Alabama Cruise Terminal on Thursday, between 8 p.m. and 11 p.m.

After docking, passengers will be taken to hotels in Mobile and New Orleans and will begin the journey to their final destinations Friday, ship officials said.

According to Carnival Triumph's web page, the ship has a 2,758 passenger capacity with 1,100 onboard crew. It is 893 feet in length.

You can get news updates that Carnival has been releasing HERE.

KPLC will have continuing coverage of the ship's return on-air and online. You can follow Gerron Jordan's tweets from Mobile HERE.

Copyright KPLC 2013.  All rights reserved. 

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