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The 3,141 passengers disembarking from Carnival Triumph in Mobile, Ala., during the night and early morning of Feb. 14 and 15 were met by a team providing assistance, food, drink and blankets. Carnival spokesman Vance Gulliksen reported that about 200 Carnival staff members were waiting, including president and CEO Gerry Cahill, who apologized and expressed gratitude that the ship was safely docked. He thanked the city and port of Mobile and the 1,086 crew members, who also were praised by departing passengers for their care under very difficult circumstances and their unfailing cheerfulness and kindness.
Cahill also expressed gratitude to the U.S. Coast Guard and Customs and Border Protection. The Coast Guard cutter Vigorous came to the ship on Sunday night, evacuated a passenger with medical issues to Carnival Legend, and accompanied the triumph across the Gulf to Mobile. The Coast Guard also brought in equipment, including a generator that allowed the ship to serve hot food to passengers. Vigorous has escorted Carnival Triumph on its journey across the Gulf. The Coast Guard also set up a security zone around the Triumph as it came toward land.
With only one working elevator, disembarkation started around 9:20 p.m. and continued into Thursday morning. Guests who were not met by friends or relatives in Mobile had the option of taking chartered buses to Houston, New Orleans or Galveston, Texas, (where some had parked their cars at embarkation) hotels, to be flown home Friday. Carnival is covering all transportation costs, giving full refunds and discounts on future cruises, plus $500. Travel agent commissions are protected.
Crew members also were sent to hotels provided by Carnival and those near completing their contracts are being compensated in full and sent on their vacations. Other crew members are being transferred to other ships.
Triumph departed Galveston Feb. 7 for a four-day Caribbean cruise and lost power the morning of Feb. 10 following an engine room fire. The original plan had been to tow the ship to Progreso, Mexico, since the fire occurred 150 miles off of the Yucatan Peninsula, but Triumph drifted 90 miles farther because of strong currents and the decision was made to tow her to Mobile.
Carnival has canceled 14 sailings on Triumph and she was towed to a Mobile yard on Feb. 15. The National Transportation Safety Board is conducting an investigation.