US & Canada

Carnival Triumph passengers disembark in Alabama

Media playback is unsupported on your device
Media captionPassenger: There were people, their cabins flooded, ankle deep in sewage

All 3,200 passengers have now disembarked from a crippled cruise ship that reached the US coast five days after an engine fire knocked out power.

The Carnival Triumph docked in Mobile, Alabama, at 21:15 (03:15 GMT Friday).

Disembarking the passengers took more than four hours and many still faced a long bus journey to New Orleans or to the port of departure, Galveston.

Passengers had reported sewage on the floors, poor sanitation and lack of access to toilets.

Some lined the decks as the 900ft (275m) ship docked, waving and cheering at people on shore.

Bus 'breaks down'

Chants of "Let me off, let me off!" could be heard coming from the ship as they waited to disembark.

One homemade sign read: "Sweet Home Alabama!" and another: "The ship's afloat, so is the sewage."

Media playback is unsupported on your device
Media captionKathleen Haughney, from South Florida Sun Sentinel, said passengers cheered as the ship reached port

Disembarking passenger Brittany Ferguson said: "I'm feeling awesome just to see land and buildings. The scariest part was just not knowing when we'd get back."

Carnival Corp, which operates the ship, was also the owner of Costa Concordia, the cruise ship that ran aground off the Italian coast and sank last year, killing 32 people.

On Thursday, tugboats began pulling the vessel to a shipyard for repairs.

The Carnival Triumph took six hours to be towed through the 30 mile (50km) channel to Mobile - the largest ship ever to dock there.

One passenger, Clark Jones, told the BBC the last day was "especially nightmarish because we knew we were so close to land and getting off".

The passengers were taken by bus either to Galveston in Texas, which is about seven hours away, or to New Orleans, where the firm said it had booked 1,500 hotel rooms. New Orleans is two hours away.

One bus broke down as it carried passengers to New Orleans, local media reported.

Past problems

Carnival chief executive Gerry Cahill apologised again for the "very poor" conditions on board.

Image caption Passengers will be offered a full refund and discounts on future cruises

"We pride ourselves on providing our guests with a great vacation experience, and clearly we failed in this particular case," he said.

Hospitality staff will be sent on early holiday with full pay or transferred to other ships, depending on the length remaining in their contracts, senior vice-president Terry Thornton said.

Passenger Janie Baker told NBC by phone on Thursday that conditions on the ship were "extremely terrible''. There was no electricity and few working toilets, she said.

Ms Baker described using plastic bags to go to the toilet and that she had seen a woman pass out while waiting for food.

The stench from overflowing toilets and drainpipes made some cabins uninhabitable and many people slept in corridors, while others took bedding out into the open to escape the heat and foul smell.

Passengers will be offered a full refund and discounts on any future cruises. Carnival announced on Wednesday passengers would each get an additional $500 (£322) in compensation.

But the firm has disputed the accounts describing the ship as filthy, saying employees were doing everything they could to ensure people were comfortable.

Carnival has cancelled more than a dozen planned voyages aboard the Triumph, while acknowledging that the crippled ship had other mechanical problems in the weeks before the fire.

More on this story

Related Internet links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites