Chattanoogan Tammy Benson told members of the Brainerd Kiwanis Club she would go on another cruise despite being trapped recently on the powerless Carnival Triump Cruise in the Gulf of Mexico.
She told the club she and her daughter and granddaughter made the best of the experience and she has memories of playing the piano for impromtu groups, of young tour hosts going the extra mile under the deplorable conditions, and of the ship's entertainers carrying on with the show in uniform.
Some grumbled she said and made plans to sue the cruise line.
She said, "Carnival did everything they could for us." She said they got a $500 refund check and cruise vouchers. Her daughter's laptop computer disappeared during the cruise and it was replaced.
Ms. Benson said she was advised long ago by minister Lester Rolloff that "either you get bitter or you get better."
She said the first they heard of a possible problem was when they were still in bed and the hostess in a British accent came on the loudspeaker and said there was "a situation in the engine room but there is no reason to be alarmed."
The passengers were soon told there had been a fire in the engine room but that the ship's fire crew had handled it "brilliantly."
However, it knocked out the power to the ship, knocking out the lights, air conditioning and ability to cook.
She said those on the lower decks grabbed mattresses and moved up higher.
There were a limited number of life jackets and some feared the ship was going to plunge under because it would list from side to side because it was drifting so slowly. "We had all seen Titanic," she said.
Ms. Benson said some were so protective of their life jackets that they wore them wherever they went.
She said the listing of the ship helped because when it tilted a certain way the toilets would suddenly work.
She told of another Carnival liner pulling up beside their ship and handing over supplies. Her daughter went down to help the crew gather in the items.
It was a wonderful sight, she said, when they finally got within sight of Mobile one morning. But it was a frustration that they were not able to reach dry land - and a hotel room with power - until 10 p.m.