Midland Women Return Home After Stranded on Cruise Ship 2/15/13
CBS 7 News Reporter
February 15, 2013
MIDLAND, TX – What began as a free vacation to paradise turned into a cruise ship nightmare that stranded several West Texans in the middle of the Gulf of Mexico. The passengers had little food, water, toilet access and electricity.
But today weary travelers made their way home and two Midland women were met with open arms back in the basin.
Painted signs and anxious smiles were the end of the road for family and friends waiting to see their loved ones after they'd been trapped at sea.
"It is really a horrible experience …the anxiety, not knowing. I spent at least 4 days not knowing anything about her at all," said McConnell Olivier, a husband of a passenger.
Greta Olivier and Gail Coffee took the trip aboard the Carnival Triumph as a free reward from their boss at St Joseph’s Home Health.
The trip was plagued with a series of mishaps, which left them stranded in the Gulf of Mexico for nearly a week. Then once they made it to land; their flight back home was cancelled due to mechanical errors. Today they’re finally home.
Close embraces, tears and heart felt words greeted Olivier and Coffee after their nightmare at sea.
"We did not have it as bad as other people. I felt really sorry for people with children … they had 2 inches of sewage on their floor. They're sleeping on the top deck in the sun. They've got only sheets to keep them from being sun burned," said Coffee.
The co-workers say the lack of food and broken sewage system were the hardest part of the experience.
“We ate sandwiches with onion and cucumber and just tomatoes in it. It was awful,” stated Greta Olivier.
But through it all, Coffee maintained her humor by looking for the silver lining and even learned a few things along the way.
"I know how to crap in a red bag.... we had no toilets and we peed in the sink. But we’re going to try to do better at home," said Coffee.
They say it was prayers and support from their families that got them through the trip, every step of the way.
There were more than 3,000 guests onboard. Some are considering filing a lawsuit. Coffee and Olivier say they are not filing a suit, but they do plan on taking the compensation package from the cruise line.