Conditions appear to be worsening on the Carnival cruise that has been floating aimlessly about 150 miles off the Yucatan Peninsula after a fire erupted in the aft engine room Sunday, knocking out the ship's propulsion system.
"There's water and feces all over the floor," said Brent Nutt, who was told about the conditions by his wife who is a passenger on board. "It's not the best conditions. You would think Carnival would have something in place to get these people off the ship."
Passengers also are getting sick and throwing up, he said, adding that his wife told him: "The whole boat stinks extremely bad."
To be sure, passengers aboard a cruise vessel stranded in the Gulf of Mexico have limited access to bathrooms, food and hot coffee, and were just given a new destination: Mobile, Ala.
Carnival Cruise Lines President and CEO Gerry Cahill said in a statement Monday that the Carnival Triumph had drifted so far north of its original position that it will be towed to the southern U.S. port, instead of the original plan to take it to Progreso, Mexico.
Jimmy Mowlam told The Associated Press on Tuesday that his son Rob and new daughter-in-law got married onboard the Carnival Triumph on Saturday and are among the roughly 3,100 stranded passengers.
He says his son told him by phone Monday night that many passengers are sleeping on deck because the lack of ventilation made it too hot to sleep inside.
He says his son says passengers were mostly "taking it in stride."
Cahill said strong Gulf currents caused the Triumph to drift about 90 miles north of its original position off the Yucatan Peninsula.
Cahill's statement said the ship should arrive in Mobile on Thursday and that the change will allow for less complicated re-entry for passengers without passports.
The ship left Texas last Thursday on a scheduled four-day cruise with 3,143 passengers and a crew of 1,086.
Two tugboats arrived on the scene of the stranded vessel Tuesday to tow it to Mobile. Besides the two tugs, at least two other Carnival cruise ships have been diverted to the Triumph to leave supplies, and a Coast Guard cutter reportedly was at the scene. The Coast Guard has informed Mexican authorities of the situation in their waters, a spokesman said.
Melinda Ramos, meanwhile, said her father was laughing when she briefly spoke to him Sunday.
"He might be completely joking, but he said they're sleeping in tents outside," the 19-year-old daughter of Mary and Matt Ramos told The Houston Chronicle.
A similar situation occurred on a Carnival cruise ship in November 2010. That vessel was also stranded for three days with 4,500 people aboard after a fire in the engine room. When the passengers disembarked in San Diego they described a nightmarish three days in the Pacific with limited food, power and bathroom access.
Carnival said in a statement that it had cancelled the Triumph's next two voyages scheduled to depart Monday and Saturday. Passengers aboard the stranded ship will also receive a full refund, the statement said.