MOBILE, Ala. — Passengers who finally escaped the disabled Carnival cruise ship Triumph were on the move early today, some checked into the comfort of hotels, others on buses or headed to charter flights home after five numbing days at sea on a ship paralyzed by an engine-room fire.
The vacation ship carrying some 4,200 people docked late Thursday in Mobile to raucous cheers from passengers weary of overflowing toilets, food shortages and foul odors.
“Sweet Home Alabama!” read one of the homemade signs passengers affixed alongside the 14-story ship as many celebrated at deck rails lining several levels of the stricken ship. Four tugboats pulled the crippled ship to shore at about 9:15 p.m.
Buses filled with passengers began arriving at the Port of Galveston this morning after an eight-hour drive from Mobile. Port of Galveston police said as many as 800 people would arrive by bus to retrieve their vehicles or be shuttled onto other buses to reach home.
Also this morning tugs began pulling the ship away from the dock, moving it backward down a waterway in the direction of a shipyard where city officials said it will be repaired.
It took six grueling hours navigating the 30-odd-mile ship channel to dock, guided by at least four towboats. Nearly 900 feet in length, it was the largest cruise ship ever to dock at Mobile.