Carnival cruise ship stranded by on-board fire

11:42 AM, Feb 11, 2013   |    comments
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YUCATAN PENINSULA, Mexico - Passengers on the fire-damaged Carnival Triumph are reporting uncomfortable conditions that include a lack of running water and few functional toilets, according to friends and relatives who have received brief texts and phone calls from the ship.

The U.S. Coast Guard says tug boats are scheduled to arrive Monday about noon eastern time to pull the idled ship back to port.

"We have no power AT ALL, which means we can't use the toilets, wash our hands, or take a shower," one passenger texted from the vessel, according to a relative who posted the text on cruise fan site CruiseCritic.com.

Other relatives of passengers, posting comments at usatoday.com, say loved ones spent the night sleeping on deck and are low on water and food.

"My wife (is) on this cruise and has said the conditions were horrible. No power, no water, having to use the bathroom in bags," Gary Keyes of Baton Rouge, La., posts at usatoday.com.

A spokesperson for the line tells USA TODAY that toilets are operational this morning in certain parts of the ship and that technicians continue to work to restore additional facilities.

The 102,000-ton Carnival Triumph remains dead in the water off the coast of Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula in the wake of Sunday's fire, which broke out in an engine room. Carnival says no one was injured in the blaze, which was extinguished with the help of the ship's fire suppression system.

Carnival says tugboats are en route to the Carnival Triumph to tow it to Progreso, Mexico so that passengers can get off, but the process will take three days. The vessel is expected to arrive in Progreso on Wednesday afternoon, the line says.

There are 3,143 passengers and 1,086 crew on board the ship.

Sunday's incident comes just two years after a fire left Carnival's 113,000-ton Carnival Splendor without power and adrift for days off the coast of Mexico. Passengers on that ship went long periods without air conditioning, hot food and working toilets in what Carnival CEO Gerry Cahill called an extremely trying situation. The vessel was out of service for months.

Carnival moved quickly on Sunday to announced that all passengers on the Carnival Triumph will receive a full refund for the trip, a four-night sailing to Mexico out of Galveston, Texas. The voyage began Thursday and had been scheduled to end in Galveston early today.

Carnival also says it'll give passengers a future cruise credit equal to the amount paid for the voyage, as well as reimbursement of all shipboard purchases during the voyage, with the exception of gift shop and casino charges.

Carnival late Sunday also announced that the next two voyages of the vessel have been canceled.

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