Two Tucson nurses who were stuck on a crippled cruise ship returned home Friday.
As soon as they came down the steps to baggage claim at Tucson International Airport, Dawn Mawhinney, CNA, said, "These are clean stairs!"
The pictures she took aboard the Carnival Triumph as it sat in the Gulf of Mexico showed how they lived on the deck, with toilets that overflowed and no more than soda and dry cereal as meals. A fire aboard the ship on its third day at sea stretched a four day cruise into eight days.
"Well, the first night after the alarm sounded, flooding began, we lost water," Mawhinney said. "Toilets began to overflow, so we had to carry our mattresses upstairs to the fourth deck just to get away from all that and we stayed outside because the stench, the heat, it was just vile."
"We had to walk up to the ninth level to get our meals so, in the wet carpet and sewage, you know, it was disgusting," said Robyn Sanchez, LPN.
But they both said that they, other passengers, and the crew supported each other and kept each other occupied. They complimented the crew as very supportive.
"When the Coast Guard came, people wanted to get on, you know, with them, just wishing," Mawhinney said. "For the most part, we just tried to comfort others, we had other friends that we met(on the ship). They comforted us, we comforted them."
"During the day, we mostly took naps, sat around and talked," Sanchez said. "And then, we did look forward, there were three gentlemen that were on the Carnival cruise staff that came down, one of them played the guitar for us. We all sang and it helped. It helped. They were wonderful."
Copyright 2013 Tucson News Now. All rights reserved.