BENTON, Ark. (KTHV) - THV 11 News got a first-hand look inside the stranded cruise ship Triumph from a former Benton woman now living in Houston. She and her mother are friends of one of our THV 11 staff members, and the mother put us touch with her daughter.
Brittany Rea, 22, was on that ship with her grandparents and some other relatives. The Carnival Cruise was a Christmas gift for her, but after the last few days, she and thousands of others are more than ready to get off of the vessel.
They're not the vacation pictures any of us dream of. Photos from Rea show Carnival Cruise passengers sleeping in dining areas, hallways, catching rest where-ever they can.
"The smell [in the cabin areas]. I can't even describe it to you how awful it is. Just urine and feces. Our toilet just started working a couple of hours ago, and I'm so thankful," said Rea.
Talking to us in a staircase Thursday evening from the ship, she said the last few days were filled with overflowing toilets, no electricity and passengers running out of medicine and diapers.
"Since we're getting closer to land, it's a mad house. Everyone is starting to get really edgy and irritated. We're just ready to be home," Rea said.
Rea said they did get a good meal Thursday after some supplies came.
"We were eating cucumber sandwiches, which I'm thankful we even had food to eat, but it was just was terrible. You think that you're going on vacation; you're going to have all this great food," she said of the last few days.
It was a major let-down for this vacation with Rea passing the time reading.
"I'm just trying to bury myself in books," Rea said.
As for making landfall, when THV 11 talked to her Thursday evening, she didn't expect anything soon.
"You don't know what to believe at this point because we've been told one thing and then another thing this whole entire time. It's just frustrating," Rea said.
Rea said that once they do arrive in Mobile and get off the ship, she and her family will take a bus to Galveston where their cars are, and from there, they will head home.
Rea also said that initially cell phone service was poor but did improve as the ship got closer to land. She didn't get to speak with her mother until Thursday and said she felt so much better after that.