Nightly News   |  February 12, 2013

Carnival passengers describe misery on board

It’s been a long, difficult ride for the passengers of the disabled Carnival cruise ship who are slowly being towed to Alabama. With only five working toilets for about 3,000 passengers, the stench has reportedly become unbearable. NBC’s Janet Shamlian reports.

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>>> we are back now with some of the horror stories we are hearing, the stories emerging about some of the 4200 passengers and crew on board the carnival cruise ship "triumph." it all started went ship caught fire, lost power sunday night, setting off an awful chain of events on board, including sweltering temperatures and a shortage of food, bathroom facilities, all while being slowly towed into port in mobile, alabama. our report tonight from nbc's janet shamlian .

>> reporter: it's a long, slow ride , as tug boats drag the disabled carnival cruise ship "triumph" to mow beach and with five working toilets for some 3,000 passengers, it's a pretty miserable ride. donna gutsman is on board.

>> the worst part is the bathrooms there's no water. you can't really flush. so, everyone's going in little blast hillsborough county baggies and putting it outside their rooms.

>> reporter: passengers say the stench is inescapable there's no air conditioning on board. many with interior cabins have dragged mattresses to various parts of the ship to find fresh air . shelia and jerry cox were able to phone their daughter, lindsey.

>> they are sleeping on the deck on lounge chairs and the boat is just rocking back and forth because there's no stabilization.

>> reporter: food service is limited. onion sandwiches were reportedly on the menu today and the wait for something to eat can last up to three hours. marissa morel's mother is celebrating her birthday on the ship.

>> people were starting to get very frustrated is what she was saying. you know, it's a very panicky situation.

>> reporter: "triumph" has been dead in the water and drifting north since an engine room fire sunday. plans to tow it to mexico were scrapped when the ship drifted too far north . now being towed to alabama at just six knots it will be late wednesday or even thursday before passengers are finally able to get off. when they do, there's still the trip home or back to the port in texas. carnival stays is sorry for the inconvenience, offering pans year full refund and a future cruise. janet shamlian , nbc