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The Carnival Triumph: Fun Ship, Minus the Fun

The Carnival Triumph floats 150 miles off the Yucatan Peninsula on Feb. 11, 2013
The Carnival Triumph floats 150 miles off the Yucatan Peninsula on Feb. 11, 2013Courtesy U.S. Coast Guard/Lt. Cmdr. Paul McConnell via AP Photo

Seeing the news photographs of the powerless Carnival Triumph being carried northward by the current this weekend came as a bit of a shock. You see, the Triumph was the second cruise ship I had vacationed on, and the memories of my 2007 sail on her through the Eastern Caribbean are particularly fond—definitely better than those of the 3,143 passengers and 1,086 crew. They’re finding out what life is like when a floating theme park becomes just another stricken hulk.

The Carnival Triumph, which became disabled in the Gulf of Mexico after an engine room fire on Sunday, is being towed to Mobile, Ala. There is little power or air conditioning, plastic bags are subbing for bathrooms, and passengers have had to endure without the benefit of bar service or such Carnival Cruise Lines staples as ice carving demonstrations and the poolside Hairy Chest Contest.