"From The Agony To The Ecstasy"

17 years ago, a local couple went through their own frightening experience on a cruise ship.

While it wasn't as tragic as the Costa Concordia disaster, a Vienna couple had their own cruise ship nightmare.  The difference is that everyone lived through it.

Terry and Linda Sanders were passengers on the Carnival cruise ship "Celebration". As I reported when they returned to the area, the cruise was anything but.

In the middle of the ocean, the ship suddenly lost power.  It left the passengers in the dark (other than natural sunlight) for two days until another ship came to rescue them.  Doing simple necessary chores required some ingenuity.  For instance, finding the bathroom using homemade miniature lights.

"We took them off the life preservers and put them in a cup of water," Linda Sanders recalled for us when the couple arrived at the then-Wood County Airport. "When we had to use the facilities...which were real dark in our rooms...we took this little light with us."

Home video shot by some of the passengers showed them lounging on the deck (relaxing as best as they could), but the ship had little edible food and only bottled water. And as Terry Sanders remembered for us, some of the sights during those two long days were scary.

"When they started to lower the life rafts, we thought we were in serious trouble."

But there were moments that, because of their irony, were amusing as well.  One was that the name of the ship which finally picked them up was called the Ecstasy.

"We went from the 'agony' to the Ecstasy, " Linda said.

The other was that, at the time, Kathie Lee Gifford, then still part of the Regis and Kathie Lee show, was the spokesperson for Carnival Cruise Lines, and could be seen singing in their TV commercials.

I remember Linda recalling Kathie Lee singing (as she did in those commercials), "In the morning, in the evening, 'aint we got fun", throughout their ordeal.

Our story at that time ended with the fact that the Sanders were to receive (in lieu, apparently, of a refund) a voucher good for a future Carnival cruise.

I don't know if they ever used it.



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