Update: First Lawsuit Filed as Carnival Triumph Passengers Journey Home

February 15, 2013
Update, 3:16 p.m. EST: Reuters reports that the first lawsuit by a passenger off Carnival Triumph has been filed in a Miami federal court.

Cassie Terry of Brazoria County, Texas charges Carnival with failing to provide a seaworthy ship and sanitary conditions. Terry further claims to have suffered physical and emotional harm, including anxiety, nervousness and the loss of the enjoyment of life.

(11:59 a.m. EST) -- Carnival Triumph passengers are finally getting some much deserved rest or are on their way home, after five days at sea with few working toilets, limited food and unsavory living conditions. One hundred buses left the port of Mobile in the early hours of this morning heading to either Galveston, Texas where the ship had departed February 7 or to New Orleans, where they spent the remainder of the night.

At least one bus broke down on the way to New Orleans, prompting Clark Jones, a passenger onboard, to transmit a series of tweets. "Seriously? This is happening. Our bus is broke down," he wrote, adding the hashtags #helpmejesus, #carnivalbusbreakdown and #carnivaltriumph to his next tweet, "2:30 a.m. Bus broken down. Not going anywhere."

According to Jones, the passengers had to wait approximately an hour before being transferred to a replacement bus.

The Galveston buses began arriving in the port city at approximately 7 a.m. CST this morning and passengers began retrieving their cars immediately. Chartered flights from New Orleans to Houston began leaving at 8 a.m. CST this morning. Carnival Cruise Lines is covering all travel and meal expenses during this time.

photos-carnival-triumph-cruise-adrift-engine-fire Vance Gulliksen, a Carnival Cruise Lines spokesman, told Cruise Critic he did not know how many buses or passengers went to each destination. Gulliksen said he also didn't know whether the company's president and CEO had traveled to New Orleans with the passengers.

Crew members, meanwhile, are resting in Mobile hotels. All ship's crew will receive their "full and normal compensation" for this sailing, Gulliksen said. "They will be accommodated in Mobile hotels over the next few nights and then transferred on to other ships or sent on vacation if they were scheduled for vacation in the near future."

The ship itself is being towed this morning from the cruise terminal to a shipyard in Mobile where a detailed damage assessment will be done. Carnival has not yet determined whether Triumph will need to be put in dry dock or not.

The official investigation into the ship fire is proceeding in cooperation with the U.S. Coast Guard, National Transportation Safety Board and the Bahamas Maritime Authority.

--by Dori Saltzman, News Editor