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After spending five days adrift in the Gulf Mexico after an engine fire knocked out the Carnival Triumph's power, relieved passengers finally disembarked on Friday.
Some kissed the ground in relief after tug boats pulled the crippled ship into port in Mobile, Ala., and guests once again stood on dry land. Passengers described an unbearable smell on the ship due to overflowing toilets and drain pipes that soaked many interior passages and cabins.
Following the cruise debacle, Carnival said passengers would be reimbursed fully for the vacation in addition to transportation expenses, a credit for a future cruise, and $500 cash — an amount that was not enough, some guests said.
"There are lost wages, I've got a baby sitter at home and I had to take off work," told Robin Chandler, who celebrated her 50th birthday on the ship, to Reuters.
Click ahead to see scenes from the Carnival Triumph's cruise gone awry.
—Written by Katie Little
Posted 15 February 2013
Using bed sheets, guests on board erected tents to get fresh air and escape the sewage smells of the interior spaces.
Media swarmed after the passengers disembarked the cruise ship, looking to get first-hand accounts of the conditions on the boat.
Passengers huddle together to charge their smartphones and electronic devices.
Passengers described the ship as reeking of raw sewage.
Once the toilets stopped working on the Carnival Triumph, guests were instructed to use makeshift toilets in the form of a bio-hazard bag.
The engine fire produced such thick smoke that some lower-deck passengers were permanently evacuated and spent the remainder of the cruise in makeshift beds on other parts of the ship.
The Triumph was pulled by several tug boats into the port of Mobile, Ala.
During the ordeal, passengers said they passed the five-day period before they made landfall by playing cards, organizing scavenger hunts for the kids, and forming Bible study groups.
"SOS" or "Sweet Home Alabama!" read some of the giant signs that passengers created using bed sheets.
Terry Thornton, Carnival's senior vice president of marketing, speaks to the media about the Triumph.
Carnival Cruise Lines Chief Executive Micky Arison, also the owner of the Miami Heat, sits courtside at the team's basketball game on Tuesday, while thousands of passengers remain on the stranded ship.
The crippled ship was en route to Galveston from Cozumel, Mexico, on the third day of a four-day voyage when an engine-room fire knocked out power and plumbing across most of the ship on Sunday.
Conditions abroad the ship improved on Thursday after supplies, including a generator, were delivered to the ship via helicopter.
Passenger Kendall Jenkins kisses the ground after stepping off the Carnival ship at the Alabama Cruise terminal in Mobile, Alabama.
Jenkins and a friend cheer after leaving their nightmarish voyage aboard the stranded cruise ship.
Around 100 buses arrived to carry passengers to Galveston, Texas, a seven-hour ride, while others buses departed to New Orleans, or hotels in Mobile, before eventually flying home.