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Carnival Triumph Arrives in Port of Mobile, Alabama

Aired February 14, 2013 - 23:59   ET


ERIN BURNETT, CNN ANCHOR: All right, welcome. You are watching "Piers Morgan Tonight." I'm Erin Burnett in for Piers Morgan here along with Martin Savidge in Mobile, Alabama, where the triumph Carnival cruise has docked. We are surrounded by families, people reuniting, media. It's the world here and we have heard from people who are excited, people who are angry, people who are emotional, people who are taking it in stride, just a full -- .

MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN ANCHOR: And people are very happy on dry land. They are just very, very happy to be here, of that ship and finally in many cases into the armed of loved ones they have been waiting for. That's what we're watching for here. And we are going sort of totally unscripted with this.

BURNETT: You guys want to step in?


BURNETT: Come on in.

SAVIDGE: Who have we got? Identify yourselves?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm Betty. This is my daughter, Melissa McDavid and her daughter, Cameron McDavid.

BURNETT: Hi, Cameron.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And we have our husbanded Ryan, and Madeleine, and we went on a cruise. My son-in-law Andy.

SAVIDGE: Three generations of family?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes. We came for a 40th birthday.

SAVIDGE: Welcome back.

BURNETT: Probably not the birthday you expected.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That's all right.

BURNETT: So what was it like?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It made you appreciate hot water, flushing toilets, electricity. We weren't prepared for it.

SAVIDGE: But you came through it as a family? UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We did. We were all together. And that was the most important, and just glad to be alive. It would have been so much worse.

BURNETT: Were you worried at any point it might not end this way?

SAVIDGE: Yes, the first night was rough because we were tilting very badly.

BURNETT: The ship was listing, right?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, very badly. And I was having trouble staying on the bed, and one of the items on the counter fell off. And you kind of have moments where you think titanic when things start rolling off the counter. So, it was a bit scary. We did a lot of praying.

BURNETT: Yes. And what was it like for you guys?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: For me, it was really scary because it's never happened to me, and it's my first cruise. I didn't know what to do. So the bed was tilting and I didn't know what to do. It was really confusing.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hard to sleep. No air, air conditioning. It was hot. Dark, very dark.

BURNETT: Good to have your mom and grand mom and everybody with you, so you were safe?


BURNETT: So, are you going to go on a cruise again?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I actually have one booked in June for Alaska. And I definitely have my list of things I'm going to take. Survival gear. That list has changed.

BURNETT: We were talking to someone earlier who said thank goodness this didn't happen to me in Alaska because it would be so cold. And now, here you are, you are going to go there. So you make sure you bring the right clothes.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Take the right things. You know, it was very memorable. It makes you appreciate the little things.


BURNETT: Time with your family, perhaps, that you didn't expect.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No cell phone service for days.

SAVIDGE: You know, this makes me question here. When you're cut off like this, when children don't necessarily have other ways typically in entertainment them, what did you do? How do you past the time?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I had packed some cards. Played cards.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Played cards with my friends.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The kids had scavenger hunts on the ship. You used the daylight during the day to see. Once it got dark, everybody, OK, bedtime. Come on in. Don't run around the ship, can't see.

BURNETT: Go back to the stone ages. A bus is coming behind us. Cameron is waving. These are people, of course, who we have been seeing several of the buses go by on the way to New Orleans and Galveston. Some people who have been talking to us have been very frustrated and very angry, and very angry at carnival. Are you, and are you going to sue them?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I feel like they didn't start off right. They didn't make the right decisions in the beginning. That's just my personal opinion. The tugboats should have been ordered immediately -- ordered immediately.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes. They said they didn't call for help because no one was in danger of dying.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We could see smoke.

I have pictures of smoke coming out the top during the fire. You could smell it. People on the lower decks, it was all in the halls. I mean, we wasn't a small fire, as we were led to believe.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We were also told it was not.

SAVIDGE: Did you think they kept you informed, and do you feel you were constantly given the right information?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It was constantly changing.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It constantly changed.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We were going to go to Mexico, and we ended up going here.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The staff onboard, though, went all out. They really were. They did everything they could to help us and make us as comfortable as possible. And they were in just as much discomfort as we were.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Some of them more than we were.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Some of them more.

BURNETT: I'm sure. Well, thank you so much to all of you and thank you for delaying getting to a warm bed and a shower and everything.

Thank you, sweetie.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We're happy to be on ground.



SAVIDGE: Thank you so much for taking the time.

BURNETT: Thanks to all of you.


BURNETT: All right. Stay warm.

SAVIDGE: We have the Atkins family, I believe, coming up.


SAVIDGE: We keep track of the buses on the move because that's going to be how most people get out of here.

BURNETT: Yes, we want to -- we want to bring in Dr. Restrepo.

And Doctor, let me ask you a question because so many people here have, you know, they have talked about the conditions. And e talked to them on cell phones throughout the day. And now we're talking to them in person.

SAVIDGE: Which is nice.

BURNETT: Which is wonderful, but some of the hygiene on the ship was horrific. And a lot of these people are wondering, all right, I'm not feeling sick now, but am I going to be feeling sick in a few days? Are they safe and sound if they're feeling OK or not?

DOCTOR DALILAH RESTREPO. INFECTIOUS DISEASE SPECIALIST: Well, I think the most important thing is definitely get to a warm shower, a nice bed, and get some rest, because honestly, time will tell what we're going to see in the next couple days from this. But for the most part, if you're feeling well now, I would say get some rest. Get home, and for sure, let the immune system take over. And hopefully everything will be OK.

BURNETT: And do you think in general that cruise ships are safe and clean? You know, this situation is obviously severe, but we hear all the time about Noroviruses and all sorts of things that are caused whether it be water or food on ships.

RESTREPO: Well, absolutely. I mean, when you put 4,000 people together in a closed environment, it creates a situation where you can have any type of gastrointestinal illness take over. But for the most part, cruise ships do handle these situations well, and this was a specific situation. So this can carry a little bit of high risk, but for sure, I'm sure carnival cruise line did everything possible and hand sanitizers were used as much as possible. And hopefully everything will be OK after this. BURNETT: Yes. All right, well thank you very much, and please don't go anywhere. We'll need to talk to you in a little bit.

SAVIDGE: Erin, let me introduce you to the Adkins family because this is the family have the chance to talk to you earlier in the day.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This is Rusty, right?




SAVIDGE: I'm still doing all right. This must be Brianna.

BURNETT: Brianna.

SAVIDGE: Welcome back.

BURNETT: Happy Valentine's Day. Looks like they remember.

SAVIDGE: Somebody certainly remembered. How do you feel?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Excited to be on land. I kissed it when I first got off.

BURNETT: You did? You bent down and kissed it? Wow.

SAVIDGE: You're not the first to tell us. There were a number of people getting on the ground. For you to be back with your family, I mean, it really must have been pretty emotional.

BRIANNA ADKINS, PASSENGER, CARNIVAL TRIUMPH: It was very -- I missed them so much. You have no idea. Just to be with them, just to let them know that I'm safe is just so much better than not having any contact at all.

BURNETT: Do you think you realized because of this and because of what happened, maybe if it was a regular cruise you might not feel this way, and now you appreciate them in a way you didn't?


SAVIDGE: Your mom and dad, what was it like to see her?

RUSTY ADKINS, BRIANNA ADKIN'S FATHER: Oh, my word. This is -- this honestly has probably been the best day of my whole --


RUSTY ADKINS: The whole year.

SAVIDGE: For parents, those waiting onshore, it was probably worse. Mentally, you're thinking so much about the horrors.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, the unknown.

RUSTY ADKINS: I wanted to be there for her. You know, me taking care of her, what a dad is supposed to do. I wasn't able to do that. So, when I was able to see her, my goodness, what a great feeling. It was very, very awesome.



BURNETT: Where are you headed now?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: To the hotel to eat, I hope.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Let's hope they keep the room service open late.

RUSTY ADKINS: Whatever she wants, she's getting it.

SAVIDGE: Hear what dad just said? If you have a wish list, you better get to those things.

BURNETT: Let me tell you, Take advantage of it. You know, it might wear off, so.

SAVIDGE: Well, you look wonderful. We're so happy for you.

RUSTY ADKINS: Thank you very much. You're very kind.

SAVIDGE: Great to see you. Thank you for coming by and sharing with us.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Thanks so much to all of you. Good luck.

SAVIDGE: Appreciate your time.

Well, you know, we were talking about getting everything off. This is still a process that's going to take hours. I mean, it's not something that's done quickly, although now we look up there. I don't see anybody hanging off the decks. Maybe a few people in the upper balconies, but I think right now, they're focused on one thing. And that's getting onshore.

BURNETT: They certainly are, right. Well, we're going to be back in just a moment. We'll have more stories from the triumph after that.


BURNETT: Sweet home Alabama indeed. That's how everyone feels. We're joined here by Carey, Iya and her sister, her mother, and her friends. This was your surprise 40th birthday party?


BURNETT: What a surprise it was. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes. More than we bargained for.

BURNETT: So, tell us how it happened. You're at home, they show up.

Yes. Well. we met at my friend Julie's house, and my mom and my sister and my best friend, Rachel, were hiding, and they surprised me, and then gave us the cruise tickets. And told us we were leaving the next morning.

SAVIDGE: And if it was, it had a lot more surprise to it than you actually thought.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, about three days later, yes.

SAVIDGE: And you laugh. I mean, we look at you now. And we're thrilled to see you all. And you do look wonderful, I have to say.


SAVIDGE: But, there had to be some dark moments.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes. It was scary initially, when we woke up and there was smoke in our hall way and they were making announcements over the P.A. that sounded a little scary. And Julie saw a crew with life jackets running down our way. And we thought it's time to go to master deck.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: With our life jackets.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, with our life jackets. So, once we got up there and they started telling us things were calming down, and we got up to fresh air and just waited to hear with everybody else what they were going to do. But thought we -- I thought we were all fine. We were all calm.

BURNETT: Could you sleep in your rooms? I mean, people were telling us about the tents.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We slept up on deck 10 for three nights. And then last night, we were in one of the dining rooms because it was a little colder. It was fine. It was comfy.

BURNETT: A giant slumber party.

SAVIDGE: Yes. That sort of tell us. I mean, you make it sound like you were able to turn things around. What did you eat? What did you have for food?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They fed us lots of food. It may not have been what people preferred. The first day, I think, was the worst.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Sandwiches the first day.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Cool stuff, a lot of canned stuff.


Then as the ship started coming and bringing us supplies, the seemed like they got a grill working maybe two days ago.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Then they started cooking chicken and steaks. So yes, there was plenty of food. People were kind of greedy at first, and we noticed there were lots of big plates of food, then the crew finally figured out they needed to portion things out better, which we were happy about.

SAVIDGE: I had a chance to talk to your husband earlier. They had long-faced expressions.

They were very, very worried.

We couldn't talk to them. The last time we talked to them was Monday because we had no cell service once the ships left us. They hadn't talked to us in a couple days and didn't know what was going on, but we were fine. And once they talked to all of us, they knew everything was OK.

BURNETT: And you're going now to get a shower, I would imagine.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We have been showering onboard, it's been cold water, but absolutely.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We were lucky. We didn't have a toilet.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We were listing in the right direction. So, we were on the high side for the last couple days.

BURNETT: Small blessings.

SAVIDGE: It is, I suppose. Which would you prefer, a shower or a toilet?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Well, and they got the toilets working today, so we have been using those but probably a hot shower is probably what our pro priority is.

BURNETT: Not having a time limit.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Where are the men?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Back there somewhere.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They didn't ask for them.

BURNETT: They were already on camera, we understand. Our producers wanted the ladies.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, well, here we are.

BURNETT: So nice to see all of you. And welcome.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Thank you very much.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Thank you. We're glad to be back.

SAVIDGE: Did it bring you all closer together? I mean, do you feel like --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: In ways we don't even want to talk about. We know more about each other's bodily habits than we should ever know. But yes, I think that's what kept us laughing. We were just making jokes about having to poop in a bag. And the nicknames we can't say on TV for everything we did.

BURNETT: You have to have toilet humor to be able to get through this with a smile.


SAVIDGE: I can imagine the one-year reunion.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We're not going on a cruise, probably.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Come to California.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Have a redo for my birthday all planned.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We're going west. We're going to fly to California.

BURNETT: Well, thanks again. And have a good night.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Thank you very much.

SAVIDGE: Nice to see you all.

BURNETT: All right, I want to bring in --

SAVIDGE: Up next, and we'll work to get them up here. I can already tell, because the ropes. Thanks again ladies.

BURNETT: It's their fourth annual cruise together. They do this every single year. And I think the big question is are they going to do it again? Gentlemen, four in a row? Here you are in a robe hanging out on national television. It's probably not how you thought it would end.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I did not think it would end this way.

BURNETT: So how was it?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It was kind of crazy, for sure. There will be a fifth, I think. We will go back.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: As long as our wives allow us. Which is probably in question at this point, whether they will or won't. SAVIDGE: And where are they right now?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They're back in Kansas City, in Topeka.

SAVIDGE: And have you spoken. You have communicated. You let them know you are --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They have reservations and flights. They did a great job and hooked us up. Happy valentine's day.


SAVIDGE: Tell us about the attire here.

JOE PERKIN, TRIUMPH'S PASSENGER: Well, first of all, sorry, carnival, for taking your bathrobe. I did not pay for this, but I figured they owed me a bathrobe. But, yes, we thought we were going to be in warm climate, so I did not pack a lot of warm clothes. I knew it would be chilly when we got off, so I had to snag the robe as we came off the ship.

SAVIDGE: You're not alone. It's kind of the triumph attire. We have seen actually sort of the Triumph attire. They seem to have the lovely parting gifts.

BURNETT: I don't think they are going to charge you for it.

PERKIN: Someone called them the white Walkers.

BURNETT: Yes. So, how do you feel about how they handled it? Some people are very angry.

PERKIN: I understand. I think they handled it as best they could have. You know, first and foremost, the crew that was on the ship did a marvelous job. Some of them, I know, didn't sleep. In fact, we saw the guy on our floor, one of the guys saw him. He was asleep on the floor. He had basically a sheet over him and a pillow getting a couple hours of sleep. So whenever there was a problem with the toilet, you know, the plumbing obviously was probably the biggest issue and the smell, they were right on top of it and dealing with it as quick as they could. Obviously, this is --

BRETT KLAUSMAN, TRIUMPH'S PASSENGER: They did a good job of managing expectations, too. I think that the information that trickled out was probably well thought out to kind of keep people safe and calm which, you know, really, after all is said and done, people were pretty nice to each other, not super chippy. And it worked out pretty well.

PERKIN: That was another neat thing, all the people that kind of banded together, you know, sharing Pringles and candy and you know, the people across the hall had to leave their door open because we had an inside cabin. No light in there, obviously, so they would keep their door open during the day. We got to know people like you would typically not get to know people, I mean, hanging out in the hall. Yes, going through something like this. So, we basically made friends for life, which is obviously has some value to it. SAVIDGE: A number of people have pointed that out. But clearly, this was not the cruise any of you anticipated. But in some ways, if you can look at a silver ling, it is the fact that you came through a tremendous ordeal, and apparently a lot of people came through together or made new friends in the process.

PERKIN: Yes. And I think, I mean, for the vast majority of people, they were very kind, very considerate. I heard situations of people fighting. We didn't see any of that. I mean, people were obviously very anxious to get off the ship for obvious reasons. But, I think for the most part, people were very kind to each other, and the staff always was smiling and was very kind.

SAVIDGE: Now, you guys got off in what order? I mean, how is it we see you and other still people waiting?

PERKIN: He's a platinum member.

KLAUSMAN: They let us off.

BURNETT: You guys are regulars.

PERKIN: Yes. So they let us off, which was very, very nice. They obviously let the folks in wheelchairs off first. But we were shortly thereafter. So that was pretty nice.

KLAUSMAN: Brings a whole new meaning to the term poop deck.

BURNETT: Glad you said it and not us. Thanks very much.

SAVIDGE: Yes. Thanks very much.

BURNETT: Appreciate both of taking the time.

SAVIDGE: Thank you very much.

PERKIN: I'm definitely keeping it as a souvenir.

SAVIDGE: Don't worry, we won't tell.

BURNETT: Al right, Bethany (INAUDIBLE) is one of the people getting off the ship right now, still on there. She went on the cruise with her mother and friend. I believe we can see her waving. I can see her. And she's waving at us.

SAVIDGE: There she is. She's got her phone up there.

BURNETT: Yes. All right, and we will be seeing her in just a couple moments when she's able to get off the ship. She's going to join us and tell us what it was like, one of the people who had to wait a long, long time to get off the ship.

SAVIDGE: And still apparently has to wait more.

BURNETT: We'll be right back with that.


BURNETT: Bethany Fasnacht is with us now. She's still on the ship. She was on the cruise with her mother and a friend.

Bethany, you were waving to us just a couple moments ago.

SAVIDGE: There she is.

BURNETT: There, we see you waving to us now. All right, so, do you know how long it's going to be before you're finally here with us on Terra Firma?

BETHANY FASNACHT, CARNIVAL TRIUMPH'S PASSENGER (via phone): I hope it's soon, but it's taking a while to get off.

BURNETT: And what has it been like just in the past few hours here waiting to finally finish this ordeal?

FASNACHT: It's -- well, today, the mood kind of turned negative, as everyone started listening to what was happening onshore. On the boat for the past couple days, it's been pretty positive and everyone helping everyone else. But today, when, you know, the rumors about the triumph had problems before this and things like that, it started getting everybody down. So we're definitely excited to get off.

SAVIDGE: The tweets you've been sending out have actually been pretty entertaining. Some show that you were able to keep a good strong sense of comic about you. You know, just tell us about -- was that a cathartic type of thing?

FASNACHT: Yes, tweets are just cathartic to me. That was something funny. And I was someone I know or don't know finds them funny too. It's just a way to share my humor. And yes, you have to find the funny in any situation really. And of course, it was not on my bucket list to be marooned, but you know, I'll take it.

SAVIDGE: My favorite.

BURNETT: One of your tweets, I believe, said no one is ever going to pick on you for over packing. So am I interpreting it right? You actually have a coat and are not freezing?

FASNACHT: I have a sweater on right now, but I brought about five books and eight magazines and we have read them al cover to cover. So if I hadn't brought that much, we would have been, you know, entertaining each other with show tunes, so I think we're all grateful that didn't happen.

SAVIDGE: We're looking at you right now. Who is with you there? We can see you're not alone on the balcony.

FASNACHT: My friend Susan is in the black to my right, and my mother Jenny Perkins is on my left, and it was her birthday last week, so we came on a cruise to celebrate that.

BURNETT: And I would imagine we have heard from so many that they have gotten to know those to whom they were already dear, friends and family, in a much closer way than ever before. Did that happen for you also?

FASNACHT: Oh, absolutely. We, you know, we were -- definitely lost all modesty with each other, and these two ladies, it's been great to spend time with them. We have all kept our spirits up and found, like we said, humor in everything, and just trying to, you know, make it through. And just, you know, make it fun as much as we could.

SAVIDGE: All right, Bethany. Well, keep us posted on your progress. We will wait to greet you on the ground. In the meantime, we want to bring in somebody who is on the ground.

Joseph Alvarez joins us. So, Joseph, first of all, welcome, welcome back. We see you draped yourself with a blanket here.

JOSEPH ALVAREZ, CARNIVAL TRIUMPH'S PASSENGER: I wasn't expecting to experience cold weather like what we're having here. We were in Cozumel of all places, you know, where it's hot. We're from San Antonio. I'm from San Antonio. Basically, just wasn't expecting the ordeal to happen. You know? We were on the first floor when it initially happened. It kind of smelled, funky smell, through the air systems they have in there. So I kind of lowered the thermostat, and this was about 3:40 in the morning.

SAVIDGE: So, this is the first indication of the fire or there's a problem.

ALVAREZ: The smell. And we were on the first floor, like I said. So next thing you know, I went and laid back down. Next thing you know, you hear running, running through the hallways. And I open the door to see what's going on. It was the firefighters. And then I looked and saw smoke. I was like, oh, my God. So they were just telling us, everybody just get out. You all need to get out. So we started heading up the stairs. And once we got to like level four, they said everything has been contained. You all go back to your cabins, so.

SAVIDGE: That's how it all began. I mean, this is essentially what Joseph was explaining. So, from that moment, which was probably the worst, it then deteriorating with no power, no toilets.

ALVAREZ: No power, no toilets, nothing. Nothing, I mean, it was -- it was disgusting, but the staff, they did such an amazing job. And I give them so much props because they were amazing through it all. I mean, they worked their tails off to accommodate everybody's needs. I mean, me, I've had seven back surgeries, and I wasn't expecting to be on a weeklong cruise. So I literally didn't bring enough medication. So, I had to visit the infirmary and, you know, get what I could from them, so.

SAVIDGE: And we have talked about that actually. You know, there were a lot of people, elderly people, people who thought it was going to be a four-day trip, turns out to at least double that. And yes, you can say you didn't bring enough clothes. But, when you talk about not enough medication, I mean, that becomes something serious.

ALVAREZ: Yes, sir.

BURNETT: What was the -- if there's a moment, you talk about what was the worst single thing that happened and maybe the best single thing that happened to you?

ALVAREZ: Well, the worst was -- I'm going to have to say the fire. But the best was -- I guess just having that quality time with my wife. You know? And just, you know, being able to pray with her. And just, they started a bible group. So we were doing that for the past four days. And, you know, it was awesome. It was just a very uplifting, spiritual thing that you felt. So we knew we were going to make it safe, safe back.

BURNETT: You were talking about a life-changing event, essentially. I mean, it is something that transforms you in some way.

ALVAREZ: Of course, of course. And, I mean, I don't give them, Carnival, the company, them -- I mean, I'll do it again. I'm not worried of not, you know, ever traveling with them ever again. I mean, I will. But, you know, it's going to be a little while before that happens.

SAVIDGE: Understandable.

BURNETT: Very understandable. Thank you.

ALVAREZ: Right now, it is just exhaustion, it is pain, I mean, a lot of pain. I just really want a bed. You know?

SAVIDGE: Well, get on that.

BURNETT: Well, thank you so much. We appreciate it.

ALVAREZ: Thank you very much.

BURNETT: Thank you very much. We have been hearing -- I want to bring in Kendall and Trey, and as they're coming in, just one thing that we've heard from quite a few people, actually, is about that bible study group. And for a lot of people, that was a very important thing. And they have been impromptu group that they set up, and started meeting every night at 7:00. We met two young girls from Texas who won the tickets and they're with the family. It was very important to a lot of people.

Kendall and Trey, come on in. Nice to see you in person.

Nice to see you in person. Talked on the phone earlier. How do you feel?

TREY LOVE, CARNIVAL TRIUMPH'S PASSENGER: Glad to be on land, for sure.


KENDALL LOVE: Yes. Little tired, but ready to get on the bus, get a shower. Be in a place where the toilet flushes. BURNETT: Where are you going? To get on the bus to go to New Orleans?

KENDALL LOVE, CARNIVAL TRIUMPH'S PASSENGER: New Orleans, and then fly out tomorrow to South Carolina.

SAVIDGE: When did you realize it's finally over? That we're almost home?

TREY: LOVE: When we could see land. That I could see the outline of mobile. I said, OK, worst case, we could take the life boats.

BURNETT: We were on the phone, he said, I can see land.

It's a big deal.

BURNETT: What was the hardest thing? You know each other incredibly well. But you know each other in ways you probably thought you never would.

KENDALL LOVE: Well, we were celebrating his 40th birthday, which is Monday. It will be an unforgettable birthday trip. The only time I was really afraid, I guess, is when all the alarms started going off Sunday morning about the fire, and we didn't know many details until later in the day, but the staff was amazing. You know, it could have been much worse. God really protected us, and so we made the best of it.

SAVIDGE: Did you have any idea how many people were actually following your plight? This is something that has captured a nation, captured a lot of media attention.

BURNETT: We were watching.

TREY: LOVE: Yes, that was the biggest surprise to me. I was wondering if people other than our kids' classmates knew that we were gone. To find out it was such a big deal, people got a install when the other boat went by, I was surprised.

BURNETT: All right. Well, Kendall and Trey, Thank you so much.

KENDALL LOVE: I really appreciate it.

BURNETT: Safe trip home.

SAVIDGE: Thank you for coming by.

BURNETT: All right, when we come back, we'll have more happy reunions because they really are. There's a lot of emotion here. And they may have only been a few days, but it's very emotional for many people and a special night as they're here on land. And of course, in this day and age, just about every image is on Instagram, including the ones we're going to show you here as we go to break.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) BURNETT: All right. We're here with Brenda who was on the Carnival Triumph. Also Mercedes Perez was there, Samantha, and Deanna. And you were there with a big group of people. Here you are. Welcome home.



BURNETT: Back on the ground.

You look wonderful. And what you're holding up, it says thank you for your prayers. You had this on the ship, and you did it with your makeup.


BURNETT: You did.

SAVIDGE: A huge sacrifice, I have to put out there.


SAVIDGE: This was all for you, this birthday party.


SAVIDGE: And not to say you're the trouble maker, but this did not go in any way that this family thought, did it?

MERCEDES PEREZ DE COLON, CARNIVAL TRIUMPH'S PASSENGER: No, but it was 2 1/2 days of great fun, and then the rest of the time, it was family coming together, bonding. We were helping each other, supporting each other, and knowing that we were going to get through this.

SAVIDGE: And that was kind of my point, was that this turned into something far greater than just a trip to celebrate a birthday. This really became a family that had to come together.

DE COLON: Yes, it was. And we're a close family as it is. And this just brought us closer because for my birthday, we had 31 people, and seven of them were my sisters and then a brother and daughter-in-law and cousins, and it was just a large family, and then we invited our friends, so our friends came onboard.

BURNETT: Your aunt, I believe, was air lifted off.

DE COLON: Well she, it wasn't actually an air lift. She was taken by coast guard from our ship to another ship on Monday because she needed dialysis treatment on Tuesday. So we started to try to get her off board on Sunday but couldn't because of the water and the wave action and just it wasn't good. So we were able to get her off finally with the coast guard's help. She literally had to fall back into the ship to get into the boat, and then be carried off to the other one.

BURNETT: I -- you mentioned about how rough it was. And you know, we all know that the stabilizer on the ship was broken and it was tilting quite a bit. Was it really bumpy? Did you really feel the rough seas?

DE COLON: At times, yes.

SAMANTHA GARZA, CARNIVAL TRIUMPH'S PASSENGER: It wasn't until the night before when we felt it the most, I think. But after that, it was leaning. And then water started draining to one area of the boat.

SAVIDGE: Some people actually said they feared the boat was going to tip over in some way.

GARZA: It was scary. But the crew kept telling us, there's only like a five degree tilt. And it was OK. It was fine. It was being done mainly because of the wind. We had to trust and we had to believe. And so, you know, it didn't move any farther than that. So, we're walking sideways sometimes.

BURNETT: Was it hard to trust them? I know we have heard they're wonderful. We don't mean it in that way. It's hard when you're worried for your life to trust anyone.

DE COLON: Because we had that episode with my cousin, they were so good. And they just took control. They made sure she got off the boat. After that, I had total faith that they were going -- they were there to take care of us because they did. From the moment that we told them that she was scheduled for dialysis and what could we do, they said, don't worry. We'll take care of it. She'll get it, and they never stopped until she got off. And even now, when we got off the boat, three of the ladies that were the crew that were helping us to make it all happen, they were like, oh, please tell her, you know, that we are glad.

SAVIDGE: The crew took a real strong emotional moment of all this.

DE COLON: They did. And you know, and those 2 1/2 days, we got close with some of the crew. Every time they would see us, they would say, how are you al doing? Are you doing OK? So yes, it was -- so we could --

BURNETT: We have been hearing that from everyone. It's wonderful to hear, because we have heard some of the crew members were sleeping on the ground for just a couple of hours.

SAVIDGE: Because they are going through the same ordeal.

DE COLON: Exactly, they were along with us.

BURNETT: Well, thanks so much.

SAVIDGE: Yes, thank you.

BURNETT: Welcome home. Have a wonderful night.

SAVIDGE: Wonderful job with the art work there, contributing with the makeup. BURNETT: I know that will wash come out if you wash it. Thanks again to all of you.

All right, we're going to be talking in just a couple moments to two passengers who say they are never going to go on a cruise again. We have talked to a couple other people who feel that way. The first women, in fact, that we spoke to, among the first people to get off the ship, were very emotional, were very teary. Didn't feel they had been given information and didn't want to go on a cruise again. Others have felt completely differently.

SAVIDGE: And just depends where you were, I want you stay. They talked about the small boat transfer. That's when their aunt had to get off. I have done that when you literally because of the wave motion have to put your back to the water and somebody says let go, and you go to the boat and they catch you.

BURNETT: Anna Ward and Sheryl are with us now.

Hi, nice to see both of you.


BURNETT: We'll all fit in. Well, welcome back.




BURNETT: And how do you feel?



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Happy to be home.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Wonderful to be home.

SAVIDGE: You realize you have come to the end of this ordeal now. Has it finally sunk in?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No, when we were standing at the doors, I said, it still doesn't seem like it's happening.

ANNA WARD, CARNIVAL TRIUMPH'S PASSENGER: You couldn't let it sink in on the ship because if you let yourself freak out, you would be insane. I man, they told us Thursday, and it was Tuesday. We were like, how are we going to do this? The toilets are over flooding. Two more days, really? Is that safe? We didn't believe it.

SAVIDGE: How did you hold it together? What do you do?


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We prayed. We talked to people.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You couldn't -- you couldn't because you just looked out, there was nothing for the longest thing. Not another ship, nothing. We were just drifting.

WARD: We made each other laugh.


BURNETT: We have heard from quite a few people, people have talked about prayer and faith and there was a prayer group. Was that something that a lot of people were part of? Did you meet new people through that?

WARD: Yes, yes, we did.

CHERYL ESPE, CARNIVAL TRIUMPH'S PASSENGER: We went up. They had it a few different nights. But we went the first night. And the other nights, we were trying to find a different place to stay besides our cabin, so.

WARD: We moved every single night.

ESPE: Then the lines for food were long, so it was real hard to time something. You just kind of had to go to each thing.

SAVIDGE: What would happen at night, because this is a ship in the middle of the ocean, and it's got to be very dark. What happens after the sun goes down?

WARD: It was creepy.

ESPE: We had a little flashlight.

WARD: We had a flashlight, just a little flashlight. We were in a cabin with no window so we would go in and it smell awful. The toilets have over flooded, we're on the eighth floor, and so our room guy who was awesome, gave us this little flashlight.

BURNETT: That's wonderful.

ESPE: And you couldn't see. You were just feeling around inside there.

BURNETT: So will you ever go again?

ESPE: Probably not.

WARD: No, I won't. How do you get that out of your mind?

ESPE: I probably won't, but I don't know. Everybody kept saying this never happens, but it happened on our first one.

BURNETT: Well, welcome back. Thank you both.

SAVIDGE: Thank you.

ESPE: Hey guys, we're safe. Love you.

BURNETT: All right, we are going to take a break also. And we will be right back here live from outside the triumph here in Mobile, Alabama.


BURNETT: All right, joining us now, two more passengers from the triumph, Parisa Safarzaden and Basil Hameed. And they look neat.

Good to see both of you.



BURNETT: I'm looking and you're so cheery. And you look so great. And you're in your bathrobe.

SAFARZADEN: I am. It's all we had. We weren't expecting cold.

HAMEED: Three days in the sun, that's about it. It turned out to be colder than we thought later on.

SAFARZADEN: How does it feel? We asked everyone, but we look at the two of you. We know you have been through an ordeal, and now you're here.

HAMEED: It's been surreal. You never expect something to happen. But, I don't know what to say. I'm lost for words. It is one of those things that you want to have fun. We just graduated. We're trying to celebrate our graduation, and then this happens.

BURNETT: But, you know each other. Are you friends or dating?

HAMEED: We're friends.

SAFARZADEN: Yes. And we went to school together.

BURNETT: Well, you now know each other.

SAFARZADEN: Yes, very well, much better than a lot of husbands and wives. We came off the ship much more close.

BURNETT: How did you spend the time?

SAFARZADEN: A lot of cards were played. You know, assessing. We took photos. There was -- really, the slogan be game, like we've got nothing but time. So, we just walked around, made friends, got to know each other. Honestly, it was just a lot of watching the waves, hoping to see land.

SAVIDGE: This was -- and it is almost like going back to the way before cruising became sort of an industry. You have nothing to do with all of the electronics cut off. And your day is pretty much ruled by sunlight. Once it gets dark, there's nothing to do. Was it there?

HAMEED: The first day, we slept at 6:00. We went straight to sleep. And we woke up at 4:00 in the morning, and it was still dark. We couldn't see in front of us. We had to use the lights on our camera phones to try to go to the bathroom, to attempt that, or find a new shirt to wear. We -- I don't know what else.

SAFARZADEN: Looking for coffee, you know, small details. But we did have that conversation. You don't realize how spoiled you are until you're sitting there just staring at each other. You know, it's quite interesting. We played a lot of go fish, a lot of poker.

BURNETT: Does it make you realize that you don't want to be on your cell phone all the time? Because having that breakaway from it maybe may --

HAMEED: As cautious as heavy on technical computers and stuff, it's been amazing how quickly we dropped everything and just to learn each other and actually learn to talk and communicate via cards.

BURNETT: Well, that was everybody. It wasn't just our group of friends. It was people from Rhode Island, people from Texas. It was a big team effort. It was even the staff. You know, everybody came together really well and gelled nicely.

SAVIDGE: You think everyone got along well?

SAFARZADEN: Not everybody. It got a little tense today, for sure. You had your breaking points every day. You kind of see people snap, but the point, you just came together. And you know, we are still here. Like, we are done this far, keep going.

SAVIDGE: How did you organize? Was there an organization to the day?

HAMEED: We tried to sleep a lot. But we ended up walking a lot more than we thought. Stairs are enormous on there. You can't walk too much without getting tired. We wouldn't each too much because the lines were like an hour to two hours. And we had to watch what we ate in the first place. And it was kind of rough trying to figure out, I want to leave the cabin but I don't want to get cabin fever. And I want to stay, but I don't want to mingle with people.

BURNETT: Well, thanks and welcome back.

SAVIDGE: Yes. It's so good to see you.

BURNETT: Are you going to save the robe?

SAFARZADEN: I am. I'm going to have it dry clean.

BURNETT: Fumigated. Best to both of you. We appreciate it.

All right, and thanks so much to all of you for watching here as we continue. People still are disembarking the ship, the final people tonight.

SAVIDGE: They're here and home safe.

BURNETT: CNN's coverage continues.