A carnival cruise ship has been stranded in the Gulf Of Mexico after the engine room caught fire. The passengers have limited access to food and bathrooms, and the conditions on the ship appear to be getting worse.
The cruise industry is a big part of Tampa's economy, and this isn't the first time something has gone wrong aboard a crowded ship. When it comes to cruise ship disasters, does the old saying "there's no such thing as bad publicity" hold true? If you ask a travel agent, they'll tell you in the long run, people are not going to stop taking vacations on a boat. But in the short term there is a decline expected.
However, some people in Channelside say it may be a while before they're back on a boat.
"It's gotta be hell on earth. There's no plumbing, there's no food. There's no sanitary conditions," said Donna Herpart.
Almost 4,000 passengers are stranded on a boat with dwindling food and no cell phone service. For a time, passengers say they have been in the dark and most of the bathrooms weren't even working.
Donna Herpart took two cruises, but after this news she says now she's done.
"I wouldn't go on another cruise after (the crash in) Italy where the ship went sideways," she said.
The Italian crash happened in January of 2012. A Royal Caribbean cruise out of Tampa was delayed after it returned to port with passengers suffering from a stomach virus in 2011.
No one's been injured in the latest mishap.
Still, family members with loved ones on the boat says it's no vacation.
"They have no power, they have no running water, they have no way to use the bathroom," said Brent Nutt.
His wife is stranded on the boat.
Fire wiped out the "Triumph's" propulsion system. It'll be towed to Alabama by Thursday. Carnival will refund money and offer a free replacement cruise.
"You couldn't get me a ticket for a cruise. Not (even) for free. Can't sell me," Hephart said.
However, mishaps aren't normal, and even though they make headlines, most passengers say their experience is smooth sailing.
"They don't happen that often and most cruises are uneventful and very smooth," said Dave Tate.
So what about the deal seekers who may wonder if they can get a deal just because of this trouble at sea? The answer is probably not. Most cruise lines don't lower prices just because of bad publicity. Instead travel agents expect to see commercials promoting the safety of cruise lines.
FOX 13 / WTVT-TV
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