Houston couple recalls horror of cruise

November 18, 2010 7:51:14 AM PST
They are images from a cruise vacation no one wants to remember: a military chopper air-dropping supplies, buckets instead of running water and no electricity. One local couple survived that nightmare at sea. Tim and Jeannie Newbury's wedding on October 28 was better than they expected and their big wedding gift from the groom's parents was a Carnival Cruise honeymoon. But little did the couple know their seven-day cruise on the Splendor, down to Mexico, would make international headlines after that first night on the ship.

"We woke up to this lady coming into our room. She's like, 'Excuse me you need to wake up; you need to get out here,'" Tim Newbury said.

Once out of their room, a heavy smell of smoke permeated the hallway. Told to head to the lobby, they were informed an engine fire killed power to the ship. They still had six days left.

Without power, crews couldn't cook, food began to spoil and some toilets began to overflow.

"We had just found an area of the boat that didn't stink," Tim Newbury said. "So I sat down and like OK, I can finally eat some food, and I bit into this watermelon and just lost it all over again; it literally tasted like the stench."

Between the stench and spoiling food, the 3,000 guests' frustration level was reaching a boiling point. But perceptive crews used humor over the intercom.

"He was saying, 'This is John here live from the bridge in the same pair of underwear I walked on board in,'" Jeannie Newbury recalled then laughed.

They told guests to raid their mini-bars free of charge and also offered free beer to everyone.

"You could tell the mood changed. From the first day, everyone walking around with their mean faces on to and then the next day, everybody was just, you know, chill," Jeannie Newbury said.

On Day Three, supplies arrived and guests became emotional at the sight of the Coast Guard ships arriving to pull them back to safety.

The Newburys say it was actually a neat experience to a degree.

The Carnival Cruise ships reimbursed them for everything and gave them a free cruise of their choosing.

They think by next year they might be up for it, but will be cautiously optimistic.

"I think I'll just prepare for the worst, I guess," Jeannie Newbury said.

"We are going to pack our own life jackets and flashlights," Tim Newbury added jokingly.


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