It will also take a while to get all of the people off the ship. Passengers would carry their own luggage, and only one elevator is functioning on the Triumph.
Shanar, who is on the ship with her husband, said the couple had a cabin with no windows, so they have been sleeping outside for days. She said the food has been distributed on the ninth floor, and some of the elderly have needed younger people to bring it to them. They were initially only given cold cuts, like turkey and vegetable sandwiches. Then another cruise line dropped off hamburgers and chicken sandwiches, but the line for that fare was nearly four hours long.
“And then people started getting sick from the food,” she said.
The company has disputed the accounts of passengers who describe the ship as filthy, saying employees are doing everything to ensure people are comfortable.
Terry Thornton, senior vice president for Carnival Cruiselines, said they received an extra generator that allowed them to serve hot food Wednesday night, and that the food services will be fully operational when they are docked.
“This is going to be a long day,” Thornton said. “There is no way we can speed up the process.”
When passengers arrive in Alabama, their stay will be short. Carnival said they were being given the option of boarding buses directly to Galveston, Texas, or Houston — a roughly seven-hour drive — or taking a two-hour bus ride to New Orleans, where the company said it booked 1,500 hotel rooms. Those staying in New Orleans will be flown Friday to Houston. Carnival said it will cover all the transportation costs.
“I can’t imagine being on that ship this morning and then getting on a bus,” said Kirk Hill, whose 30-year-old daughter, Kalin Christine Hill, is on the cruise. “If I hit land in Mobile, you’d have a hard time getting me on a bus.”
Vance Gulliksen, a Carnival spokesman, also said the company chose to bus people to New Orleans because it “offered additional capacity and flexibility, which was important to us.”