A local woman is one of the 41-hundred people stranded on the Carnival Cruise line. She spoke to WTAP about her experience.
A girls weekend at sea couldn't have started on a better note.
"This is us pulling into to Cozumel. We're just ready for the day. We went to the Mayan ruins and then went to an open air restaurant on the beach and then came back to the boat."
One full day of Carnival Cruise line fun. It was the only day of fun for the more than four thousand passengers on board. Including Rebecca Johnson, the assistant principal at Barlow-Vincent Elementary. Johnson says at about five in the morning they were startled awake up by a blast over the loudspeaker.
"Alpha team, alpha team, engine room 6. That will be etched in my brain because it definitely makes you pop awake."
A fire in the engine room knocked out power, water, and restrooms, so if you had to go...
"You had to do that in little red bags, tie it and leave it in the hallway for the steward to pick up just for that day. There were some areas where they never got toilets and things running at all."
Johnson's room was on the sixth floor. She and the four other women she shared a room with didn't have flooding or even sewage in the hallways. They were able to get air into the room by propping the door open with life vests. Johnson says she's lucky.
"As you went down floor by floor it got hotter and hotter and stinkier and stinkier."
Most people remained calm during the five days stranded at sea, bonding about being in the same boat.
"It became kind of a social gathering place. You'd charge and play games and talk and share stories."
Some of those stories, rumors from other passengers. Johnson says contrary to what many are saying, they only ate sandwiches for the first couple of days.
"They generally had four lines running with food. Once this happened they had food 24 hours a day for us. I waited three hours for a hamburger and hot dog. I wasn't going anywhere so it was worth it. And they tasted so good."
Despite the nightmare, Johnson says she has the crew to thank.
"The staff and crew were phenomenal. They worked hard to bring back services. Worked hard to feed us and make us comfortable under those circumstances."
In addition to a full refund for the cruise, Johnson and other passengers were given 500 dollars compensation, plus vouchers for cruises in the future. When asked if she would use the voucher, Johnson said:
"I am planning on going on another carnival cruise again. I know people have said not very nice things. I felt like I was treated fairly. I will use the voucher. I will go on a Carnival Cruise again."
Carnival Cruise also reimbursed Johnson for the flight she had to pay for to come home. She says she is aware many passengers are planning to sue to cruise line, but she doesn't have any intentions on doing so herself.