GALVESTON, Texas --- Tugboats are towing a disabled Carnival cruise ship with 4,200 people to Mobile, Alabama. The ship left from Galveston last week and was supposed to return Monday. Instead a fire in the engine room disabled the ship, stranding it off the Yucatan Peninsula.
Joe McCune's wife Lindsay is on the Carnival Triumph. He found out about the disaster by a text message from his wife saying she was stranded. He responded, but didn't hear back right away.
Passengers are struggling with cell phone service. They only have service bars when another ship pulls up to deliver food and supplies.
When McCune was finally able to speak with his wife Lindsay Sunday night, he said she told him "There's no running water, the toilets weren't working, the showers weren't working and the AC wasn't working."
Christine McCoy of Hutto is also on the Triumph. Her mom, Pearl Carter, told KVUE News by phone it is her daughter's first cruise, and that it was actually a wonderful trip until this happened.
Jay Juba is an Austin travel agent. He says Carnival is giving a full refund, another cruise, plus travel accommodations. He says travel insurance probably wouldn't have mattered in this case, but that "anytime you are going to leave the country, travel insurance is a great bet."
Juba warns problems can happen on any vacation. He says it covers delays, missed connections and health insurance.
"For as little as $25 or $30, you can get up to $50,000 in medical coverage, and that covers you. It's a peace of mind." Juba said.
McCune says he doubts his wife will want to go on a cruise in the near future. He wonders how people will deal with the stress following what will be a five-day ordeal.
The National Transportation Safety Board has opened an investigation into the engine room fire.
The ship is not expected to arrive in Alabama until Thursday.