KUSA - Shirley and Bryan Karr from Lakewood spent the day sending text messages and pictures to family and friends on board the Carnival Cruise Triumph line, as their arrival back on dry land was delayed when a tug boat's line snapped.
They, and more than 3,000 passengers, got a jolt of power for their cell phones from a generator brought on board the Carnival Triumph Cruise Liner.
The saga played out as a live CNN helicopter broadcasted the first images of people on board the disabled cruise ship.
People spelled out S.O.S. messages with bed linens and the word "help" in a human chain on the top deck of the ship.
"They've been shipping food in from other cruise ships," Shirley Karr said Thursday morning. "The coast guard has been dropping food off. So we've had some food like a cucumber sandwich or a tomato sandwich."
Karr also said people are going to the bathroom in red biohazard bags and placing them in metal buckets in the hallway.
"There was probably four working toilets as of yesterday," she said.
Karr, from Lakewood, boarded the cruise with her Husband Bryan last Thursday.
The ship's engine caught fire Sunday morning, and tug boats have slowly pulled the cruise liner back toward Mobile, Ala.
"The crew members are working very, very hard to try to keep us comfortable and try to accommodate," she said.
Meanwhile, questions about Carnival Cruise Lines' legal liability have arisen.
"The cruise ship contracts are iron clad, and carefully thought out," said 9News Legal Analyst Scott Robinson. "They made sure that the limit of liability for the cruise company is the cost of the cruise."
However, Carnival offered an additional $500 compensation to passengers Thursday.
That's in addition to transportation expenses and reimbursement of all shipboard purchases. Customers will also receive a future cruise credit equal to the amount people paid for their voyage.
(KUSA-TV © 2013 Multimedia Holdings Corporation)