Ricky Bruce watched the rescue from the deck of the Paradise.
"You couldn't see but fourteen of them, the rest of them were laying in the boat," said Ricky Bruce.
For five days the small wooden boat drifted in the open waters of the Caribbean.
Until crew members spotted their boat.
"We pulled up beside them and they unloaded them off into the boat thing, they were sickly looking," said Bruce.
In the boat were 23 men and one woman, all migrants from Cuba.
"It was the last thing you expect when you go on a cruise," said Steve Niedurney.
Niedurney grabbed his camera and started snapping pictures.
"The captain informed us the whole time, and each step of the process," he said.
The rescue captivated passengers, but at the same time some began worrying.
"There was one or two people that said oh what if they had guns or how do they know what the people had, but all in all it was a pretty upbeat situation," he said.
Linda Baker's thoughts turned to recent stories of piracy.
"In the back of my mind I thought I hope they really are Cuban refugees, and I hope they check them out really well and make sure they don't have weapons," she said.
Her mind was put to rest when she saw the faces of the Cubans.
"They were very thankful you could see everyone of them waving the whole time," she said.
But her heart felt heavy after seeing their traveling conditions.
"They had old clothes on and t-shirts, and they all looked like they had backpacks, and they had empty 5 gallon jugs that I presumed had water in them," she said.
Once aboard the Cubans were given a change of clothes, food and water.
A doctor also made sure everyone was okay, before dropping them off in the Grand Cayman.
For Baker and other passengers its a turn of events they never expected.
"When they did get them aboard the ship everybody was clapping," she said.
FOX 13 / WTVT-TV
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