A small boat from the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Vigorous patrols near the cruise… (U.S. Coast Guard )
Passengers stranded on a cruise ship adrift in the Gulf of Mexico say they must stand in long lines to use working bathrooms and to get hot meals.
The messages from passengers on the Carnival Triumph, drifting in the Gulf of Mexico after an engine fire Sunday, came from text messages sent to family and friends. No one was injured in the fire but it left the ship without propulsion.
Miami-based Carnival Cruise Line said some of the public and cabin toilets are not operating and only limited power is available to run elevators and heat food.
A tug boat reached the ship Monday and a second boat is expected to arrive Tuesday, with plans to pull the ship to Mobile, Alabama by Thursday, the cruise line said. The ship, departed Galveston last week with about 3,000 passengers and more than 1,000 crew members on a four-day cruise to Cozumel, an island off the coast of Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula.
Several text messages relayed from friends or relatives of Triumph passengers were printed on Cruisecritic.com, a review site for cruise vacations.
The messages said the rooms are so hot without circulating air that some passengers were sleeping in tents on the deck.
The husband of a woman on the ship said he spoke to his wife Sunday by phone. "At the time I spoke to her, there were no toilets. They were using little red bags. And no running water, no lights, except emergency lighting."
Others said family members reported that passengers were getting cranky and some were hoarding food.
Another text quoted a woman who joined three friends on the cruise. "She said it was already pretty miserable. No hot food and no alcohol being served. There was still ice being served in soft drinks. None of the shops were open."
Safety concerns may slow cruise industry's growth
22 Carnival Splendor cruise ship passengers robbed in Mexico
Carnival to bring additional ship to Long Beach in 2014
Follow Hugo Martin on Twitter at @hugomartin