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San Diegan passengers re-live cruise disaster

SAN DIEGO – The Carnival Triumph cruise ship is finally dockside in Alabama and its passengers were breathing a sigh of relief Friday.

Carnival cruise shipFor the past week, the ship has been stuck at sea with no water, plumping and not to mention raw sewage from overflowing toilets.

Two years ago, Gordon Gilbreath and Chris DeSalniers of Carmel Valley lived a similar tale while aboard the Splendor cruise ship in November 2010. It was supposed to be a dream vacation to the Mexican Riviera with their families, but the cruise turned out to be anything but.

“You heard these alarms go off and you could smell the smoke coming in,” said Gordon.

An engine room fire knocked out power and plumbing on board the Splendor.  For five days, passengers floated at sea with no electricity or plumbing, even the toilets didn’t flush for 18 hours.

The recorded video while on the ship and it showed numerous buckets in the hallway of the deck and blacked out cabins.

The exact same scenario happened on board the Triumph, except the toilets never worked again.  Passengers complained of the stench, overflowing toilets and raw sewage soaking into the carpets.pic 1

“We’ve begun the process of having those internal deliberations of what we might learn from this and what we might suggest to improve safety,” said Budd Darr of Cruise Lines International Association.

Durr said while tragic, he does not believe the Triumph will sink the industry.

“Incidents like this are unusual in the industry and historically it does not change booking patterns after an incident,” said Darr.

Carnival has made a public apology, offered a refund, a make-up cruise and $500 to passengers of the Triumph.

For their troubles, Gordon and Chris received a refund and a make-up cruise.

“It doesn’t make up for what we went through, but that’s ok,” said DeSalniers.

The couple was ready to forgive and forget, but not after what happened to the Triumph.

“It’s the same story only much worse.  That’s just negligence,” said DeSalniers. “We will not be traveling with Carnival again.”

“We’ve done a lot of cruises with them, but this is the final straw,” said Gilbreath.

Just like DeSalniers, it’s unlikely passengers of the Triumph will be able to sue Carnival.  Over the years the cruise industry has set numerous legal parameters that protect companies from big money lawsuits.

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