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Camden native, wife return home after Carnival Cruise ship mishap

Posted: February 15, 2013 5:42 p.m.
Updated: February 18, 2013 5:00 a.m.

After contending with rather unsavory conditions aboard an adrift Carnival Cruise ship for nearly a week, Camden native Trey Love and his wife, Kendall, are relieved to finally be back home.

Love and his wife, who live in Irmo, were among the approximately 4,000 passengers stranded in the Gulf of Mexico last week following an engine-room fire that knocked out electricity and plumbing throughout most of the ship known as the Carnival Triumph.

Like other passengers, the couple was stuck in what they said were fairly dreadful conditions, particularly for a cruise ship. However, Trey said he and his wife made do the best they could, noting they’d even consider taking another trip sometime in the future.  

“We’re pretty laid back. Stuff doesn’t bother us too bad, but we’ll give it a little time,” he said. “This was my first one so I won’t be in a hurry to do one again, but at the same time, it’ll be interesting to see how a normal one goes. “

In addition to being without power, passengers were stuck lining up at tables to receive relatively unappetizing snacks as most of the ship’s food had already soured. Trey said at one point, he and his wife were relegated to eating onion and cucumber sandwiches.

He noted, however, that after the crew got a better handle on the situation, conditions improved, even to the point where they received a savory meal at the end of the trip.

“It got kind of sketchy there the first couple of days because they didn’t seem to have a real sense of how to divvy up the food. There were really long lines,” Trey said. “Then as the other ships came by, they dropped off other stuff. It was kind of ironic, though, that after those long lines and that kind of food, (Thursday) we actually had steak and lobster.”

The couple was hoping to soak up the sun and enjoy a birthday bash with friends from Texas during the trip according to Trey’s father, Eddie Love. 

“They were celebrating their 40th birthdays for both him and her,” Eddie said about his son and daughter-in-law. “Hers was last week and his was this week; four good friends getting together and sharing some time together. They’ve been planning this for a good awhile.”

Those plans, however, went awry after the ship lost power, Eddie said, quipping that he’d “much rather be on a ship when the engine goes out than an airplane.”

While communication was limited, he said he was able to get in touch with his son and daughter-in-law through cell phone text messages. 

“We actually got two text messages Thursday directly from them. That was the first we were able to hear from them since Sunday,” Eddie said, noting the day of the power outage. “The only thing we really got from them was that they were OK.”

Trey said cell phone service was minimal at best and that he could “only got a couple of texts off to let people know we were OK” during times when other ships would pass by.

He said they were actually notified about 5 a.m. Sunday that there was a “situation” in the engine room and that all passengers were told to move to the top of the ship.

“We actually slept up on the deck for the first two nights. Once we got back into U.S. waters and close to the shore, it started to get cold and actually rained so we spent the last night in the casino. We put our mattresses up there,” Trey said. “The staff was really flexible. I think they were trying to be accommodating.”

He said the cruise line has refunded the ticket purchase for the trip, offered a voucher for another cruise in the future, and $500 to each passenger. Trey also applauded the ship’s crew for keeping their composure, saying they kept a “great attitude” despite the ordeal.

“They had to deal with some unbearable stuff too,” he said. “They were really nice to each other. They were going through the same stuff we were.”

In order to get the ship and its crew and passengers to safety, towboats guided the ship to Mobile, Ala., where it was docked late Thursday evening.

The Loves were able to stay in New Orleans Thursday night before flying back home to the Columbia Airport Friday afternoon.

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