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CNN BREAKING NEWS

Crippled Cruise Ship Arrives in Port

Aired February 15, 2013 - 01:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST: And good evening again from the port of Mobile, Alabama. This is a special edition of "AC 360." I'm Erin Burnett, and for the 3,100 passengers and more than 1,000 crew members who've been leaving the crippled cruise ship just behind me, there were two songs of the night, "Sweet Home Alabama," and the sweet music of a ship's whistle.

MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Listen to that horn, Martin. Look how happy they are to hear that. Port of call horn, means that they're about to dock.

(CROSSTALK)

SAVIDGE: You know, that's a sound that many family members are waiting for.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm sorry, Martin, you were saying?

BURNETT: Very joyful noise tonight as the Carnival Triumph came into port. I remember hearing that horn; everyone just stopped dead and turned and watched it arrive. (Inaudible) ship is right behind me; people have been just coming off that gangway. It's not fully disembarked yet, but it has been very smooth so far. From everything we have heard, it's gone floor by floor, from bottom to top.

Now this, of course, was not the Triumph's intended destination, but a fire on Sunday left the ship almost dead in the water. The main power was gone. Toilets did not work. Hallways became open sewers. It was truly a nightmare cruise.

But tonight, there is cheering. I mean, literally, there was visible cheering --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (Inaudible).

BURNETT: -- because the nightmare is over. Passengers are streaming onshore; they've been piling onto buses, which have been leaving bus after bus after bus, heading to hotels, heading to Galveston, heading to New Orleans.

We have seen some remarkable reunions here dockside. We have heard passengers offer praise for their ship mates and for crew members. We have also spoken with passengers describing primitive conditions.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It was this tent city. You probably remember what the Superdome looked like in Katrina? Well, that's what the deck looked like, the open deck. It was just unbelievable. But they asked us to take them all down when the helicopters started making deliveries.

And so we did that and they straightened every up. And so it looks kind of tidy right now, but that was not the way it was.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BURNETT: Take a look at the ship again. It's hard to imagine all of those people got on board. They were looking for a little relaxation. It was just a few-day cruise. Thinking the worst they had sort of might be a heartburn, losing a little bit gambling, maybe feeling a little tired in the morning.

They're being compensated by the cruise line. And tonight, the CEO, who had not said much, said, plain and simple, we blew it.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GERRY CAHILL, CEO, CARNIVAL CRUISE LINES: I know the conditions on board were very poor. I know it was very difficult. And I want to apologize again for subjecting our guests to that. We pride ourselves in providing our guests with a great vacation experience. And, clearly, we failed in this particular case.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BURNETT: And that's where we stand tonight, an epic fail, but a happy homecoming and safe to say a lot of people with stories to tell forever.

Now before we get to some of them, I want to bring everyone up to date on the very latest. And for that I'm joined again by Martin Savidge, who has been here for days. And Martin and I have been here together as people started to disembark and were mobbed by media.

(CROSSTALK)

SAVIDGE: (Inaudible) buses now that are going by, of all the people that are heading to points unknown.

But, yes, this -- you know, we watched this come. This is one of those stories that we knew was going to develop and grow. And, of course, once you got sight of this ship, I think it became very tangible, that oh, my gosh, this is real.

You had 4,000 people plus that were caught up, in, of course, not a life-and-death situation, but still a life-altering situation, when many people seemed to imply (ph), you know, that they were affected deeply, that we saw a human nature side that seemed to be people rising to the occasion and helping one another and people raving about the crew, and we have got some more people right here. BURNETT: Yes, I mean, one of the things that just struck me about it was earlier in the day, talking to people on the phone, there was a lot of frustration, there was anger, people were upset.

And now as people have come off, they're talking about some of the good things than happened.

SAVIDGE: And yes --

BURNETT: (Inaudible) relationships, the -- you know, without having a cell phone, without having anything to do, that you were -- you were forced to get even closer to those you loved. And that was a wonderful thing for many people.

SAVIDGE: They found that it wasn't the shore excursions that meant the most. It was the being with one another, it was putting themselves through difficult circumstances and finding and communicating in ways they hadn't done before.

There's a lot of philosophy you can read into this whole experience. Could be a whole new cruise idea for Carnival at some point, if you look on the bright side.

BURNETT: That's very, very interesting.

Well, JJ Batchelor (ph) and Joy Dyer (ph) join us now.

And, please, step in.

SAVIDGE: And we see you're wearing the traditional attire of many who have come off the Triumph.

BURNETT: This is the Triumph robe.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes. But ours are specially decorated.

(LAUGHTER)

SAVIDGE: Wait, wait, wait a minute; that was a little too quick.

BURNETT: Everyone has got to read them.

Float trip 2013.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It started out as a cruise but it became a float trip.

SAVIDGE: And what am I to read into that? What is the float trip aspect?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Well, we were floating at sea. I mean, literally, we were on a float trip. It was a great cruise, and then we had a float trip. So...

BURNETT: And what was -- we were just talking about how there was -- there was frustration and desperation and anger, and then there were moments where you felt really close and special with the people that you loved.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The situation that we were in was a terrible situation, and there were a lot of just frustrating and horrible things to deal with, but what we were in awe of the entire time is the crew that was completely unselfish. They served us with smiles, and served us in ways that are truly unthinkable, the things that they had to do for us, yet they did it with smiles.

We built relationships with the crew; we came home intending to keep up those -- with those relationships. They did not have to serve us to the capacity that they did. That they chose to make the most of it, and that encouraged all of us to make the most of it. We found ways to find laughter in spite of what we were dealing with. And that really helped us all get through it.

SAVIDGE: Can you think of a moment, I mean, where you really felt so deeply touched by the actions that someone, a crew member, others did?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There's so many, it's honestly hard to narrow down one. The day that maybe was the scariest was when the food was a bit sparse and the helicopters hadn't made it on yet or we weren't close enough for things to happen, and water was really sparse. And we had to drink soda for --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Days.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: -- all -- yes. And we really wanted some water. In the night, our caretaker, Rachelle (ph), delivered a water bottle. She wouldn't even deliver it until we were in the room, to hand it to us and make certain that we had it. And we actually kept it in our closet.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It was about --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: -- to be sure that no one else was claiming it.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That was a scary moment because you really don't realize how fortunate we are to have a flushing toilet, running clean water and water to drink.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes.

SAVIDGE: And we've heard this over and over, but it's true. I mean, only when you're thrown into these very, very stressful circumstances do you begin to appreciate what you don't have, but you also appreciate what you do have, which is apparently people around you.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We have been living in tent city out on the deck of the ship, and so we are ready for a nice warm bed with a roof, electricity and running water.

BURNETT: And where is that warm bed going to be? Is it here or are you going to -- ?

(CROSSTALK)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Here tonight and heading home in the morning.

BURNETT: And where is home?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Oklahoma City.

BURNETT: Oklahoma City. So you're going to fly out of Mobile?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes.

SAVIDGE: And how is the family, have you spoken to them?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, we actually got texts out a few times when the other ships would meet us. We had cell coverage for a minute, and so we got a few out, and then since, we have gotten closer, yes; we've all talked with everyone.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We can't get there fast enough to hug our family.

BURNETT: It's going to be an emotional -- you probably appreciate them in a way you didn't before, right?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Of course.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Absolutely.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Everything really that is important is in such focus in situations like this.

SAVIDGE: That is so true. I mean, you're cut off, but you have to focus on who you have. And so many people have spoken about this bond and about how they've talked to people they never would have talked to, how they did things obviously they never thought they would do in their lives.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, or spoken about. And it was general conversation for a while.

BURNETT: Yes, we were hearing there was sort of -- all sorts of things that people don't want to talk about on television or say. But they were talking about there on --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Dignity (ph) is lost when you're in that sort of situation. And we all just cope with it together.

SAVIDGE: Did you feel that in most cases people rose to the occasion?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Absolutely. Absolutely. Wasn't -- it was not -- it was just bonding, even with the people we had never met before, Brandon (ph) and Dora (ph), and we all helped like put the ropes together, put the sheets together, and then, you know, all rotating to keep the seats, and getting one another food and saving places. And just things that people do.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And the same thing with the crew. I mean, we saw people who were hired to be massage therapists or entertainers who ended up patrolling the hallways at night to help protect us and our things and serving on the food line and helping get our luggage off of the ship.

And we saw people who just wanted to help so much, who would just stage without power, they would stage some entertainment for us just to kind of help pass the time, just playing instruments with the music stand out in an entryway or something, just to -- just to help time not feel so --

BURNETT: Acts of generosity.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Absolutely.

SAVIDGE: (Inaudible) remarkable, remarkable, actually, to hear that people would go to such lengths above and beyond, as they suffer as you do.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Right, when they didn't have to, when they were in the exact situation we were.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They were.

BURNETT: Yes.

All right, well thank you so much. Both of you.

SAVIDGE: Yes. We'll let you get on your way.

BURNETT: And please go enjoy your warm bed and your shower and your toilet.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We will!

(LAUGHTER)

BURNETT: I don't know what order you rank them, but I know you need them all.

SAVIDGE: (Inaudible).

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Thank you.

SAVIDGE: Thank you ladies very much for coming by.

BURNETT: All right. And joining us now on the phone is Dee Tucker (ph). She is in line to get off the ship. And as we said, this has taken several hours already --

SAVIDGE: Yes, we've checked on her progress --

BURNETT: -- people are still on -- she's on the sixth floor of the cruise ship. And let us know now, where -- are you almost off? Do you know how much longer it will take?

DEE TUCKER (PH), TRIUMPH PASSENGER: Well, we are now walking off. They said that there was a 15-mile train passing through. So it's going to be a little hard for me to hold the phone and carry two bags, though.

SAVIDGE: OK, well, we can -- we can tell by that kind of muffled signal that you are obviously on the move. And we take that as a very good sign. And but you soon, if not already, are going to be on the ground, right?

TUCKER (PH): Yes, yes. It was a notch above a riot here. They just -- they've packed us in here, and we're standing and standing for an hour. So, anyway.

BURNETT: (Inaudible) -- we have heard that it was an orderly disembarkation, but it sounds like your experience has been a little bit different. That sounds pretty frustrating, Dee (ph).

TUCKER (PH): Right, it's not orderly. I mean, you went from floor one to three to four and then six. And then they took them down in the elevators, and when the elevators open in the bottom, they just keep packing them in. So there's no organization.

SAVIDGE: So no one is guiding you --

(CROSSTALK)

TUCKER (PH): I've got to hang up because I have got to carry my luggage.

(CROSSTALK)

SAVIDGE: All right, Dee (ph).

BURNETT: OK, please, go ahead. Go ahead, Dee (ph). We don't want to hold you up. Good luck.

Obviously, as -- you know, when you look at the gangway behind us from the upper decks, so you don't see people coming down, but there are people still coming off of the ship. And as she indicated, a lot of people still jamming, trying to --

SAVIDGE: She did say the elevators were working, which would be something, you know, relatively new, because power had been on most of the time, they only had it down to like one elevator.

So that, you know, at the end, they get the lights back on and get the elevators going. But yes, it -- getting off the vessel now is what people want to do, and it's got to be very frustrating when you see everybody else on shore and you're still sitting up on the ship.

BURNETT: And you feel, probably, in those last few moments, the -- among the most tense and frustrated that you felt the entire time.

I want to bring in Clark Jones (ph) and Jacob Colmes (ph). They were on the sixth floor.

Good to talk to both of you. You were on a cruise with family and friends. How many were you all together?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Probably 25 all together. My mom has lots of friends. So just bring them all along for the ride.

BURNETT: All they still all her friends? Or --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh, yes, as long as I carry the luggage for them, we're good to go.

BURNETT: So how does it feel?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Good.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Feels really good to be on land and not be swaying back and forth. At one point, the wind was blowing so hard that the ship was tilted, so when you're walking down the hallway, everybody is walking like this, or if you're trying to go across, you're walking forward or back.

(CROSSTALK)

SAVIDGE: (Inaudible) had to be worrying; a ship doesn't normally tilt that way.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, not really.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There was a lot of people worried. But the cruise director did a good job of calming people down. The staff was amazing. They were always on point, helping us whenever we had questions, anything was going on.

BURNETT: Did you ever worry that it wasn't going to just -- I mean, this -- it lasted several days so I don't want to imply this was quick, but this was a resolution in coming to port. Did you worry that it might not end this way?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, I was nervous I was going to be in a tiny Mexican town and then taken somewhere else and then somewhere else and somewhere else. So hearing plans as they found them out was really helpful. So...

SAVIDGE: And you were able to communicate with family? You were able to at least get a message out?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, it -- that was interesting because when the power went out, you lose all cell reception because they project that from the boat, so the only time we ever had a chance to text or call was when the other boats swung by.

And so you had people like walking across the deck, you know, holding up their phones, trying to follow the boat as it goes around, just to get a message out. And not everybody did all the time. I talked to one girl who was still nursing a newborn. Her husband wasn't on the ship; she was there with girlfriends, and she hadn't talked to him since Sunday morning when the power went out.

SAVIDGE: And you know the moment that vessel goes away, you lose all contact with the outside world.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, so --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (Inaudible).

BURNETT: That gives you a whole new sense of priorities, right?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Absolutely.

SAVIDGE: Well, that's a good question, I mean, has it changed things? I mean, do you suddenly find that the to-do list gets a little rearranged as far as importance and what matters?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, I mean, I want to -- I want to be able to relax when like life is crazy around you, but when things need to get done, I mean, you know how to get it well. It's taught me how to be prepared for that. So it's been good. I'm trying to take the good things.

SAVIDGE: The next cruise, you're going to pack a lot more stuff or -- ?

BURNETT: Is there going to be a next cruise or -- ?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Eventually.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm going to keep my feet on land for a little while, but if you get a free seven-day cruise, I mean, how can you pass that up? Right? You just got to cross your fingers that it's not, you know, another engine failure or a prop like this one had.

BURNETT: Got to hope that you have drawn that card in life the one time you're going to draw it.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Maybe I'll not take the unlucky one. I'll bring one of my more lucky friends.

(CROSSTALK)

SAVIDGE: (Inaudible) considered the unlucky --

BURNETT: The unlucky --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Of course.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It can't be me.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (Inaudible).

BURNETT: Well, thanks to --

SAVIDGE: (Inaudible) rearrange -- BURNETT: -- both of you. Where are you headed tonight? You're -- are you staying here? Are you -- ?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They're busing us to New Orleans.

BURNETT: So you're going to New Orleans tonight? You're not going to sleep tonight then, obviously?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, now, we're going to New Orleans.

BURNETT: Three-hour bus ride. It'll morning by the time you're there. Then where's home?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Dallas.

BURNETT: Dallas?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes. So we -- our flights are tomorrow morning out of New Orleans to Houston, and then we'll have to go to Galveston and then drive up to Dallas. So --

BURNETT: (Inaudible).

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Lots more traveling.

SAVIDGE: You got a car you left in Galveston?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.

SAVIDGE: (Inaudible).

BURNETT: Well, your sojourn, as I'll call it, it's still ongoing. But you're here on land. And we're glad for that. Thanks to both of you. We appreciate it. Have a safe night.

(CROSSTALK)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thank you very much.

(CROSSTALK)

SAVIDGE: Welcome home.

BURNETT: And still to come, our breaking news coverage of the Carnival cruise crisis continues. When we return, we're going to talk to some more of the thousands of passengers disembarking the crippled ship, many of whom are still on that ship behind us.

SAVIDGE: And they can't wait to get off.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: For me it was really scary because it's never happened to me and it's my first cruise and I didn't know what to do, so the bed was tilting and I didn't know what to do. It's like (inaudible). BURNETT: Tonight, buses carrying passengers from the port of Mobile to local hotels in New Orleans and elsewhere have come out behind us, the passengers tired, frustrated, but also profoundly happy to be back on dry land.

Earlier today, everyone seemed full of despair; and then when they came on shore, full of joy in so many cases.

The disembarkation process has been going fairly quickly, but not smoothly for some. We heard a complaint a moment ago.

The docking, however, though, did go smoothly for a giant ship, 100,000 tons, 21/2 football fields long with no brakes and no lights.

It wasn't easy. The Triumph hardly triumphant tonight, though, but safely tied up here at the Alabama cruise terminal. Again, I'm joined by Marty Savidge. We have been covering this story. And it's been a -- it's been a nice night.

SAVIDGE: It has been a very nice night. People have had some remarkable conversations. We have talked to them and learned about how their lives have been altered by all of this. I will point out two things that I did not expect to see. One is there is a line of stretch limousines --

BURNETT: Yes, and we haven't figured out why ,have we?

SAVIDGE: No, we haven't figured that out. We also have been told that there are a number of private jets that have flown in. So apparently, there are some people getting off this vessel that were well connected, if you know what I mean.

But we want to talk to Bethany Fasnacht right now, because if you may remember, it was about an hour ago, Bethany, we were talking to you right up there.

BURNETT: You were literally right up on one of those balconies waving and talking to us.

SAVIDGE: And that beauty of this is not long after she spoke to us, amazingly how does this happen, she's suddenly being escorted or told, hey, it's time for you to leave.

BETHANY FASNACHT, TRIUMPH PASSENGER: That's right. It was amazing how fast it was by that point. We just stepped out of our room, grabbed our bags and, boom, we were down here. So it was -- it was -- I was not expecting that. I was expecting lines and having to stand for longer.

SAVIDGE: Well, what's the process like? Tell us to get off the vessel, what do you actually have to go through?

FASNACHT: Well, we had -- we had to do customs earlier today, and so that part was done. So we just had to grab our bags and just walk down the hall to where we would meet in the lobby and then just walk off the ship. It was that easy today, and then we just -- there was the gangplank and the -- whatever you call it, gangway. And --

BURNETT: I called it a gangplank earlier, too. Don't worry.

(LAUGHTER)

FASNACHT: And just through the building to where we needed to go. And it was that simple.

SAVIDGE: Are people guiding you? Are there lights there to see and -- ?

FASNACHT: There's tons of people. They grabbed my mom's bags and they carried them for her. And a lady even, I was like, oh, I can get my own, she's like, oh, let them take them. I was, "OK. Take my bags."

(LAUGHTER)

SAVIDGE: This is when you ask for anything you want.

FASNACHT: Exactly.

SAVIDGE: (Inaudible) get a good chance --

BURNETT: So how did you feel? Was there -- when you finally stopped off? Did you stop for a second or just start running?

FASNACHT: Oh, we just started running. You just start running.

(LAUGHTER)

FASNACHT: So, yes, it was great to be back and like be out here and just one step closer to being back in Houston.

SAVIDGE: We were talking about your tweets because we've remarked on these. And you found a way to, you know, add some levity and to actually bring a little philosophy. What got you composing, what got you doing this?

FASNACHT: Well, my sister, actually. It was the way she communicated and it was how I kept up with her.

So I just started tweeting myself and then I linked it to my Facebook so it's like everybody can see everything, no matter if it's on Twitter or Facebook, and I just, you know, talked to my friends, talked to people I have never met before, and just had fun with people online. So it's -- just I don't have very many followers, but I find it's fun, so I just keep it up.

SAVIDGE: Yes, there may be a career there.

(CROSSTALK)

BURNETT: That's right. You have the touch.

FASNACHT: Well, thank you. BURNETT: It's not easy in 140 characters.

FASNACHT: That's right.

BURNETT: You know, we have asked this question of a lot of people because people said, you know, with all of a sudden not having a cell phone, not only did you appreciate people more, you were forced to interact with people more.

FASNACHT: Right.

BURNETT: How did you spend your time?

FASNACHT: Well, like I said (inaudible), I had brought tons of books because I didn't know what I would be in the mood for.

BURNETT: You're my kind of traveler.

FASNACHT: So I had to bring a couple different kinds. And so we have gone through them all, and, you know, the different "Glamour" magazines and everything. So that's really what -- I just wanted to read, I just wanted to, you know, hang out, play some music on my iPhone, you know, just have some fun, and you know, we -- it was -- we had a good time.

We looked through pictures that we had taken earlier in the cruise. So you know, I just -- had fun together. I had Monopoly on my iPad. We played that one night, and, you know, had played cards. You know, just tried to keep busy. And since we were lucky enough to have a balcony, we tried to stay out of the crowded areas just because we didn't need it, so why, you know, why crowd it up even more?

SAVIDGE: Did you find that you were talking to people you otherwise wouldn't have spoken to, that you were reaching out in ways you (inaudible) never have thought?

FASNACHT: Yes and no. We're pretty friendly, all three of us are pretty friendly --

SAVIDGE: You strike me as that way, actually.

FASNACHT: But yes, I mean, you -- when you're standing in line for three hours, you learn a lot about the people around you, kind of like the driver's license line. You know, you meet people you've never met before. So it was really interesting to hear people's stories and where they're from and why they're cruising and all that. It was -- it was really interesting.

BURNETT: All right. Well, thank you very much.

FASNACHT: Thank you.

BURNETT: And welcome home and safe travels.

SAVIDGE: Yes, Bethany, it's really nice to see you down here (inaudible). FASNACHT: Thank you very much.

(CROSSTALK)

BURNETT: You know, Marty, there's something here about cards. You know, I have a few decks of cards at home. I always wonder if I'm going to bring them on trips. And then you say ,well, you don't bring them because you have, you know, your iPad and your iPhone. And so many people are saying they played cards.

SAVIDGE: Yes, I think they found board games they have not, you know, looked at since they were a kid. I think there were a lot of things that now are appreciated that had been overlooked in life for a long time. So that's the positive you can take away, I guess.

BURNETT: Well, joining us on the phone is Donna Gutzman. She's already in her hotel room in Mobile.

And, Donna, I'm -- I am assuming that that means you have been able to shower and enjoy the heat and feel a warm bed.

DONNA GUTZMAN, TRIUMPH PASSENGER: Yes, I am so excited. I have actually had a nice greasy cheeseburger and a very long, hot bath, and I'm laying in bed watching y'all's coverage right now.

SAVIDGE: Well, we're glad you've got it in the right perspective there. Clean up and tune in. But, I mean, how does it feel to sort of have that chance -- how does it feel to just soak up that warm water and realize your ordeal is over? It's finally done?

GUTZMAN: It is a breath of fresh air. I can't tell you how much I enjoy just having a hot bath. I really didn't want to get out. I could have spent quite some time in there just hanging out. It felt good, and I'm very happy to know that I'll be on my way home tomorrow. It's kind of ironic --

(CROSSTALK)

BURNETT: And what is your plan for tomorrow? Are you --

GUTZMAN: Yes?

BURNETT: I'm sorry, I didn't mean to interrupt you. But I was saying what tomorrow -- are you going to get a real night's sleep? I know the past few nights it has been anything but a good night's sleep.

GUTZMAN: Yes. I plan on sleeping in as late as I possibly can and then I'm going to hit the road back to Ingleton (ph).

BURNETT: All right.

SAVIDGE: I think we lost her or -- maybe she drifted off.

GUTZMAN: I'm still here. Can you hear me?

SAVIDGE: Sorry. Yes, we got you now. We got you, yes. BURNETT: All right.

SAVIDGE: Well, we're going to let you go, though, because we know you have been through a lot. We're going to pull some others into the conversation here. Thanks very much. Get plenty of rest.

GUTZMAN: I thank you so much. You guys are doing a great job covering all of this.

SAVIDGE: Thanks.

BURNETT: Thank you.

And joining us now on the phone, Trey and Kendall Love (ph) on the bus to New Orleans. We were talking to Trey (ph) and Kendall (ph) earlier. And pretty amazed at your fortitude, that you were able to get on that bus and head to New Orleans.

SAVIDGE: (Inaudible).

BURNETT: And you just heard Donna. She's had her shower and in her bed. So you guys are probably a little jealous of that.

But where are you right now?

TREY LOVE (PH), TRIUMPH PASSENGER: We're on the interstate headed to New Orleans.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're going home!

SAVIDGE: And how is that bus trip going?

LOVE (PH): It's pretty smooth. Everybody is relaxed. We're actually watching you guys now. So nice to have a working TV in front of us.

SAVIDGE: Oh, OK. Well, so what is the plan? You get -- you get to New Orleans, and then what?

LOVE (PH): I guess we get to sleep for a couple hours. Then we leave at 10 o'clock in the morning, headed back to South Carolina.

SAVIDGE: All right.

BURNETT: All right, well --

SAVIDGE: I mean, I'm quite amazed that actually these people -- we have got people talking from their hotel room, we've got now people calling from the bus ride on the way to New Orleans. I'm glad they're still staying connected actually (inaudible).

BURNETT: I know. It sort of feels like a -- you know, kind of a big --

SAVIDGE: Watching that family.

BURNETT: -- new family. It really -- it really does. Gosh, all right, well, Trey and Kendall (ph), your bus is totally full, I would imagine, right? Or is there --

LOVE (PH): Yes, yes. We had to (inaudible). And we had to wait for another one.

BURNETT: They're on their way and they'll be there soon. And soon to get a shower. Two hours, they said. That's probably, what, an hour for the shower.

SAVIDGE: I got to -- you know, I will give them credit because I think I would have just gone straight across the street to the hotel that was nearest. But -- and this actually has been discussed here in Mobile. Mobile said they had 2,500 rooms that were available tonight for those people getting off, but instead, they were questioning, why are they sending them off to New Orleans?

BURNETT: Yes. And apparently, Carnival said, well, that was the request of the passengers, so the mayor of Mobile, he said he was comfortable with the answer. But we'll see.

Special thank you to all of the passengers who took the time to speak with us tonight. If you are watching, thank you. Thank you for sharing your stories with us. We're grateful for it. You went through a difficult ordeal, and we appreciate your sharing what you went through.

SAVIDGE: Welcome home, and we look forward to all those reunions with your families. The news continues right now on CNN.